Intro Phil: Social & Political Issues (PHIL*1010) | College of Arts

Intro Phil: Social & Political Issues (PHIL*1010)

Code and section: PHIL*1010*01

Term: Fall 2020

Instructor: Mark McCullagh


In this course we will read mostly contemporary discussions of social and political issues, including:
- what makes a system of government just?
- what obligations do we have to poor people in other countries?
- do our intentions matter to whether we are treating each other properly?
- what makes an economic system just?
- what use, or criticism, can we make of various race- and sex-related concepts?
- do we have any absolute rights?
- is equality a basic value of human arrangements? Equality of what?
The readings will come mostly from the second edition of the Norton Introduction to Philosophy, but there will be PDFs of other readings available on the course website.
Each student will:
- write 5 “discussion-starter” contributions (about 150 words) to the online discussion for their section of the course
 - write 8 “comment” contributions
 - write 3 tests
 - write 5 brief (< 300 words) essays on assigned topics

This course will be delivered online. (Technology details will come later.)
- Each reading will be introduced by a video mini-lecture available on the course website.
- Students will participate in online discussions.
- The instructor, and the teaching assistant, will be available for virtual (videoconferenced) office hours: students can join these discussions to ask questions or get clarifications.

Course Outline


The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.