This one-semester course covers philosophical topics that most people talk about, or at least think about, in their everyday lives,—e.g., during conversations with friends, or while watching the news, or when deciding how to vote in an election. Such topics include, for example, the difference between art and pornography, the possibility of life after death, the evolution vs. creationism debate, the ethics of abortion and doctor-assisted suicide, and the possibility of intelligent robots. Each topic will be introduced via relevant public media (e.g., articles from the New York Times series “The Stone” and similar pieces from The Guardian, CBC news, NPR) and other popular sources (e.g., Ted Talks, youtube videos)) and then pursued in several accessible readings from the philosophical literature. A shared “library” of readings for the course will be built up (e.g., on Blackboard) by the instructors and students and updated as new issues of popular interest arise.
Note: PHL204H5 does not count for credit toward any minor, major, or specialist program in philosophy, but can be taken to fulfill the Humanities breadth/ distribution requirement.