Teaching 2008/2009


  • 379 Logic II
    A formal logic consists of a symbolic language together with a semantics, which captures the possible meanings or truth-conditions of the language, and a deductive system, which aims to capture which inferences are correct. In this course we study the scope and limits of formal logic by examining the relationship between these three parts of a logic. The major results to be presented include soundness (“the deductive system captures only truths”), completeness (“the deductive system captures all the truths”), undecidability (“there is no mechanical procedure for establishing whether or not an argument is valid”), and the Löwenheim-Skolem theorems (which concern some of the limits on the expressive power of first-order logic). Along the way we will study some set theory, recursive functions, Turing-machines, the limits of computation, and (if time permits) second-order logic.  The course is fast paced and students are expected to supplement lectures with significant independent study.
  • 409 Abelard and Heloise: sex, love, and celibacy
    The story of Abelard and Heloise is among history’s most famous romances: an illicit love-affair followed by an illegitimate child and a secret marriage, an act of violent revenge by Heloise’s relatives, and then lifelong separation when both entered religious life. This soap-opera worthy story was however underpinned by a deep intellectual relationship. Letters between the lovers both before and after their separation discussed the nature of friendship and love, the duties lovers had to each other, the institution of marriage, conflict between sexual desire and virtue, and the connection between romantic love and the love of God. The course will address these issues as raised in the letters, the Ciceronian discussions of love and friendship that inspired Heloise, various discussions of the nature of love from contempories of  the lovers, and Abelard’s own philosophical writings on the nature of  friendship.
  • 595 Honours Seminar
    Writing seminar for honours students in their thesis year.
  • 595 Speech Act Theory
    Reading course, closed enrollment.


  • 201 Problems of Philosophy
    An introduction to philosophy by means of an examination of questions that arise out of our interactions with the external world and with other people.  Questions such as ‘what kind of creatures are we?’, ‘how can I know what the world is like?’, ‘how should groups of people live together?’, etc., are often raised and examined in popular media like books, movies, and television shows, and this course will approach these questions by means of these popular illustrations and then look at the responses of both classical and contemporary philosophers.
  • 379 Logic II
    See the one for fall.