Introduction to Philosophy: Social and Political Issues (PHIL*1010) | College of Arts

Introduction to Philosophy: Social and Political Issues (PHIL*1010)

Code and section: PHIL*1010*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Karyn Freedman


Method of Delivery:

This course has 2 methods of delivery. Weekly seminars will be taught in person on campus (i.e. face-to-face), unless public health orders dictate otherwise. Class lectures will be taught on-line synchronously, with Teams lectures every Monday and Wednesday morning from 9:30-10:20. 

Course Synopsis:

This course is an introduction to philosophy through the study of social and political issues. Our aim will be to become familiar with the central theories in contemporary political philosophy, including liberalism, communitarianism, libertarianism, and feminism. We will take up a number of these issues from racial and Indigenous perspectives, in order to better understand various social and political problems facing us today. We will also look for answers to the following questions: How do we balance rights and freedoms? How should we best understand democracy? What does it mean to be a good citizen? And how do governments show ‘equal concern and respect’ to their citizens?

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:


Required Textbooks:

Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, 2nd Edition, (Oxford University Press), 2002.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, How We Get Free, (Haymarket Books), 2012. 

Please note:  This is a preliminary web course outline only.  The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.

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.