Academics

Available Courses

TitleDescription
Analytic Philosophy

This course will survey the Analytic tradition in Philosophy. From the linguistic turn of Frege, Russel, Moore and Wittgenstein, it will explore the development of this tradition, notably through logical positivism (Carnap, Ayer) and ordinary language Philosophy (Ryle, Austin). We will also consider important figures in epistemology (Quine) and ethics (Rawls).

Ancient Greek Philosophy

This course is divided into four parts. 1) The Pre-Socratics: a discussion beginning with the Ionians, moving to Parmenides and Heraclitus, and touching upon the Atomists, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Pythagoreans, and the Sophists. 2) Socrates and Plato. 3) Aristotle (and touching upon the Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans). 4) Neo-Platonism. Most attention is paid to Plato and Aristotle.

Applied Ethics

This course will look at the fundamental approaches and methods in applied ethics. It will introduce students to the case study method and emphasize decision-making and decision theory in ethics. The course will also look at effective ethics programs for organizations, ethics codes, professional ethics and other measures and activities in the organizational world.

Aristotle and Neoplatonism

The thousand-year history of Greek Philosophy ends with Neoplatonism, which in turn makes possible a transition to Christianity as the intellectual carrier of Western thought and culture. One of the most fascinating aspects of Neoplatonism is its enormous debt to Aristotle and his followers. At the same time, Neoplatonists consciously rejected Aristotelian claims of supplanting Plato and Platonism. Yet we may say in retrospect that Neoplatonism is in some ways “neo-Aristotelianism”. This seminar will take as its objective to understand Aristotle’s great but little understood influence on Neoplatonism and through it on Christian intellectualism.

Christian Interpretations of Human History – Undergraduate course

In the last twenty years or so, we have experienced calamities such as the ecological crisis, a pandemic, wars, migrations, famine, racism, etc. Thus many people are asking, more intensely than before, where our world is heading; hence the urgency of identifying and sharing meanings and values. In this course, students will discover different meanings that Christian thinkers have ascribed to human life, both personal and collective.

We shall examine the views of the following thinkers, some at length, other cursorily:

Second Isaiah, Daniel, St. Luke’s Gospel, and Acts of the Apostles; Oscar Cullmann’s thesis about cyclical time and linear time; Augustine on the two cities; Thomas Aquinas and Bossuet on Providence; Catherine of Siena on the conformity to God’s will; Hobbes and Rousseau: three periods in human history; Hegel and Nietzsche: history as taking place necessarily; Ernst Troeltsch on historical knowledge; John Macmurray’s three kinds of society: mechanical, organic, and interpersonal. Arnold Toynbee’s three stages in the life of civilizations: creative minorities, mimesis (freely performed or imposed), and breakdown; Bernard Lonergan on Toynbee; A few chapters by Louis Roy about the main themes of this course; An analysis of our global world. A few political thinkers among the following: Christopher Dawson, Karl Mannheim, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricœur, Jean Ladrière, Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, Fred Lawrence.

Christian Interpretations of Human History – Graduate course

In the last twenty years or so, we have experienced calamities such as the ecological crisis, a pandemic, wars, migrations, famine, racism, etc. Thus many people are asking, more intensely than before, where our world is heading; hence the urgency of identifying and sharing meanings and values. In this course, students will discover different meanings that Christian thinkers have ascribed to human life, both personal and collective.

We shall examine the views of the following thinkers, some at length, other cursorily:

Second Isaiah, Daniel, St. Luke’s Gospel, and Acts of the Apostles; Oscar Cullmann’s thesis about cyclical time and linear time; Augustine on the two cities; Thomas Aquinas and Bossuet on Providence; Catherine of Siena on the conformity to God’s will; Hobbes and Rousseau: three periods in human history; Hegel and Nietzsche: history as taking place necessarily; Ernst Troeltsch on historical knowledge; John Macmurray’s three kinds of society: mechanical, organic, and interpersonal. Arnold Toynbee’s three stages in the life of civilizations: creative minorities, mimesis (freely performed or imposed), and breakdown; Bernard Lonergan on Toynbee; A few chapters by Louis Roy about the main themes of this course; An analysis of our global world. A few political thinkers among the following: Christopher Dawson, Karl Mannheim, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricœur, Jean Ladrière, Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, Fred Lawrence.

Christology

Online with Regis College

Classes to take place from January 15 to April 16, 2021

Contemporary Philosophy of Mind

This course aims at familiarizing students with seminal topics present in the contemporary philosophy of mind debate. The course will be divided into two parts. Part One will focus on the notion of consciousness as presented by such philosophers as Thomas Nagel, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, Paul Churchland, Sydney Shoemaker, Derek Parfit, Maria Schetchman, and Daniel Stoljar. In this part of the course, students will be exposed to the theory of qualia, the explanatory gap, the nature of intentionality, and reductionism with regards to personal identity. Part Two will deal with the theories surrounding the mind-body/mind-brain debate, namely dualism, behaviorism, the identity theory, mental causation, and functionalism.

Critical Thinking and Research Methodology

The course aims to develop fundamental skills in reasoning and critical thinking through the study of argument types, logical structures, criteria used in the evaluation of arguments, and forms of fallacious reasoning. Students will also be introduced to the basic elements involved in conducting philosophical and theological research, and will learn about the various phases and major components of a research project.

Existential Philosophy

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?” This famous line uttered by Nietzsche’s madman captures an idea that resonates throughout existentialist thought – even if God exists, His existence cannot be presupposed as a premise, and cannot be proven by rational means. Consequently, the re-valuation of all values – how we are to find meaning and purpose in our existence, and how we are to determine how we ought to live – becomes one of the most pressing issues for modern humankind. The goal of existentialism was to avoid slipping into nihilism when confronted with the death of God. In this course, we will consider what it means to be free and the weight of our responsibility for our choices and actions (1) in the absence of an objective, transcendent, pre-determined morality and (2) in the presence of others. Philosophers covered will include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and Beauvoir.

Hegel

Hegel’s systematic approach to philosophy earned him the title of being the “German Aristotle.” Few philosophers in the past two hundred years have had as much influence on philosophy and intellectual culture in general as Hegel. Through a careful reading of parts of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences and some other major Hegelian texts students will learn how he transformed modern philosophy in terms of its approach to logic, critical theory, history, and the social sciences in general. In this course students will learn to identify and explain key concepts in Hegel’s dialectico-speculative philosophy. By the end of the course students will be acquainted with Hegel’s basic concepts of logical and mental development, In addition, students will learn how to explain the principal features of Hegel’s political philosophy as well as identify his unique views on aesthetics or his philosophy of fine art, his understanding of religion as fundamentally figurative representation, and how and why he thought philosophy stands at the pinnacle of absolute mind.

Holiness, Sanctity and Saint-Making : A Catholic Exploration

What are the Scriptural, theological and canonical definitions of holiness? What were the different models of sanctity through the ages? Who decides who is worthy of being proclaimed a saint? From martyr to mystic and ascetic to activist, variations of holiness will be examined in relation to the regions, periods, and interests that shaped them. The course provides both a chronological and an interdisciplinary overview of sanctity from the New Testament to the present. Through preparatory readings and class lectures, the students will develop knowledge on these different aspects, which they will deepen by researching and reporting to the class on a specific saint, and by writing a research paper on a specific topic of their choice.

Interiority and Life of Prayer

This course will offer students an opportunity, first, to explore their own interiority, thanks to the self-knowledge provided by the Canadian Jesuit Bernard Lonergan; and second, to identify more clearly their difficulties in prayer, their own way of praying, and possibly to modify it. Various views on prayer will be examined, mainly in the Bible, among a few ancient and medieval authors, in St. Thomas Aquinas, and among modern prayerful people. Spiritual and psychological aspects of maturing in prayer will also be discussed.

Introduction to Human Rights

This course is an Introduction to the Philosophy of human rights. We will address some fundamental questions related to human rights, such as their nature, source, foundation and justification. We will investigate the emergence of the concept of human rights in the history Philosophy. We will explore the philosophical foundations of human rights in various traditions with thinkers such as Locke, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Arendt and Rawls, among others. At the end of the course, students should have a wide perspective on human rights and the ability to understand and appeal to the theoretical background for their application in various situations.

Introduction to Philosophy

This course will initiate students into the universe of philosophers and philosophy through the study of fundamental texts of the Western philosophical traditions. The emphasis will be on the study of the nature, scope and necessity of philosophical inquiry as an intellectual endeavour, distinct from other disciplines, namely theology and science. We will also discuss some philosophical problems, such as human knowledge and freedom.

Justice in Thomas Aquinas II

This is part II of our reflection on Thomas Aquinas’ treatment of the question of Justice.  We will explore this theme in light of contemporary philosophical schools.  The course aims to broaden our philosophical canvas on the concept of Justice.

Kant

Kant’s intention was to limit the claims of metaphysics in order to make room for faith. He saw his philosophical efforts as a revolution akin to that of Copernicus. The course will consider Kant’s claim that his critique was a “call to reason to undertake anew the most difficult of all its tasks, namely, that of self-knowledge.” A close reading of parts of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and of other major texts will be used as a basis for this consideration.

Stoicism in Early Modern French Philosophy

Descartes was not a Stoic, but he certainly found Stoicism useful in formulating his own philosophy. In this course, we will look at the use Descartes found for Seneca. The lectures will mainly be in English but the official texts for Descartes will be in French.

Medieval, modern and contemporary theological debates on the idea of ​​”God”

For a long time, thinking and naming “God” has been the subject of debate, discussion, and philosophical and theological choices. After centuries of working to do this, various types of atheism have come to proclaim the non-existence of this “God”. The course intends to introduce these questions and place them in their historical contexts, both ecclesial, social and intellectual. This course will do so starting from three important modern ideas: “personal God”, God as “the Absolute” and God as “All Other”.

Methodological Seminar – Graduate course

It is a methodological seminar for the elaboration of research projects and the development of skills suitable for a scientific research at the master’s and doctoral levels: definition, presentation, criticism. This seminar is animated by some professors of the Faculty according to the areas of excellence.

Nietzsche’s Moral Philosophy

Issues of value and morality occupy a large part of Nietzsche’s works. While he is often interpreted as being an anti-realist about value and as rejecting the objective truth of any moral theory, Nietzsche is, at the same time, concerned about the health and flourishing of culture and the species and talks of higher and lower moralities. Nietzsche appears to worry about the threat of nihilism and radical moral relativism, though scholars have struggled to extract a positive moral theory from his writings. This course will look at Nietzsche’s comments on values and morality, as well as works by contemporary philosophers (Brian Leiter, Phillipa Foot, Christopher Janaway, Christine Swanton, Robert Solomon, Mark Alfano) who cast him variously as a moral psychologist, a virtue ethicist, and as a naturalist about goodness.

Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophy of History

Philosophy of History has been a steady concern through the philosophical works of Paul Ricoeur. From Histoire et vérité (1955) to Temps et récit (1981-83), to La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli (2003), Ricoeur has taken position and innovated in the philosophy of history. This seminar will examine this ricoeurian contribution, establishing the paths and landmarks of its evolution, and contrasting it to major contemporary trends in Philosophy of history.

Philosophy of revolution II

This second part of the seminar continues the exploration, from various philosophical perspectives, of what is offered for reflection in the events of uprisings, insurrections, revolutions. After working on the Ancients and the beginning of modernity in 2020, this year’s seminar will focus on the contribution of communist or anarchist thinkers from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. It retains as a background or horizon the notion of emancipation and its various philosophical variations. A question haunts this seminar: How can a state remain or become democratic while promoting change beyond already accepted legal processes?

Plato’s Parmenides, Sophist, and Philebus

This seminar is a close examination of the dialectical exercises contained in Plato’s Parmenides that could emanate from a one-sided treatment of either the one or the many. Generally considered by the ancient Greek philosophers as Plato’s most insightful and yet enigmatic dialogue, it has continued to defeat well settled interpretations into modern times. The first part of the seminar will primarily focus on the philosophical and historical context of the dialogue. The second part is a detailed consideration of the individual negative and positive hypotheses in the second section of the Parmenides.  The primary teaching approach for this course is lecture based. Students will be expected to do class presentations and submit a final paper at the end of the semester. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify a cluster of problems with respect to the status of the one and the many, vis-à-vis positive and negative outcomes and the implications of these outcomes for Plato’s theory of forms. Students are expected to demonstrate their ability to engage with Plato’s philosophy by means of seminar presentations, dialogue, and the submission of written work.

Questions of Biblical Theology I: How to conceive biblical inspiration today?

Some tenets of the biblical world have been seriously challenged recently. This course wants to explore three topics that seemed clearer in the past but that need rethinking or further thinking today because of recent scholarship or new conditions.

 

Inspiration. All believers and most scholars would still admit that they believe in the inspiration of scriptures. But how is it to be conceived in a way that is acceptable for contemporary believers and scholars? All the ancient models fall short and are unsatisfying, so that new ones must emerge.

Questions of Biblical Theology II: Is there a long-term plan of God in the Old Testament?

Some tenets of the biblical world have been seriously challenged recently. This course wants to explore three topics that seemed clearer in the past but that need rethinking or further thinking today because of recent scholarship or new conditions.

 

Long-term plan. Most believers think that God, somehow, has a plan for them personally and for history. If this plan seems clear in the New Testament, it is not so in the Old Testament. In fact, a long-term plan in the Old Testament seems to be an idea that is coming from the New Testament and supposed for or imposed to the Old Testament. This course will study this question.

Questions of Biblical Theology III: Why is Old Testament Theology no longer possible today?

Some tenets of the biblical world have been seriously challenged recently. This course wants to explore three topics that seemed clearer in the past but that need rethinking or further thinking today because of recent scholarship or new conditions.

Old Testament theology. Since the 18th century, it has been usual, mainly in the Protestant world, to write a “Theology of the Old Testament”. But in the last decades, it became increasingly difficult, even impossible. This course will study the traditional theologies of the Old Testament and see why this kind of literature is now almost impossible today.

Readings in Modern Philosophy (16th – 19th Centuries)

The objective of this course is to encourage students to learn to read Modern philosophical texts in a systematic way. Such a process is painstaking at first, but it has many advantages. A student who learns to follow closely the thoughts of a great thinker will be less dependent on secondary sources of opinion.

The Main Doctrinal Currents in the Middle Ages

This course will study: the transformations of the ancient heritage (Saint Augustine, the pseudo-Dionysius, Boethius); the leading thinkers and schools of the XIth and XIIth centuries; the translations of Aristotelian, Arab and Jewish works; the high points of Scholasticism in the XIIIth century (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus); and Ockham’s nominalism, in the XIVth century.