My teaching interests range from metaphysics, the philosophy of art, and the philosophy of language to ethics, epistemology, and 19th-century German philosophy. As an educator, I have two main goals: (1) to ensure that my students come away from my classroom with a sense of what philosophy is like, and how it can be of use to their everyday pursuits, and (2) to close the skills gap between majors and non-majors by the end of the semester. Recruiting students into taking one more philosophy class comes a close third.
Below, you'll find syllabi from classes that I've taught, and for classes that I'd like to teach.
Critical Thinking (fall version, summer version)
First-year course, Capilano University
An introduction to critical reasoning, which satisfies the quantitative/analytical requirement for baccalaureates. Students acquire the tools and concepts needed to analyze and evaluate arguments encountered in everyday life, and in the more technical contexts of their further academic studies. They learn how to recognize arguments by type, and to reconstruct them clearly and fairly in order to assess their rational strength. We cover the nature and structure of arguments, the identification of fallacies, how to assess and cite sources, the importance of precise language, propositional and categorical logic, and some basic statistical analysis (including induction and statistical generalization).
Introduction to Ethics (fall version, summer version)
First-year course, Capilano University
An introduction to ethical theory through the lens of contemporary moral disputes. We will be discussing a wide range of philosophical concepts and methods (including consequentialism, deontology, and relativism) by applying them to concrete ethical problems such as whether animals have rights, indigenous rights and the environment, minority rights, whether cultural appropriation is always bad, what torture is and why it’s wrong, as well as examining why people commit crimes, and whether the criminal justice system treats suspects ethically. The goal is not just to memorize facts and concepts, but more importantly to develop skills reading, interpreting, and criticizing philosophical texts, and learning to respond to them critically, both orally and in writing.
Philosophy and Literature
Third-year course, University of British Columbia
An introduction to philosophical problems posed by works of literature. The course begins by inviting students to consider the nature of literature, the differences between fiction and literature, and whether fiction and non-fiction call for different modes of engagement. From there, the course introduces some of the major theories of fiction and traces their implications for our understanding of truth, interpretation and the limits of authorial intent, the influence of genre, the puzzle of imaginative resistance and the paradoxes of fiction, whether moral defects constitute aesthetic defects, and the ontology of literature and fictional characters. The course's philosophical content is supplemented with several (short) pieces of literature which draw out relevant issues and offer common touchstones for discussion.
Third-year course, McGill University
A general introduction to philosophical aesthetics focused on answering the question “What is art?” The first half of the course examines a number of key attempts to define ‘art’ throughout its history: the mimetic theory, definitions focusing on aesthetic attitudes and disinterest, theories that hold that art is the result of artistic expression or the communication of feelings, and the rise of contextualist theories of art. The second half of the course explores various sources of skepticism about attempts to define ‘art,’ from neo-Wittgensteinian criticisms to ‘cluster’ theories, the exclusivity of the artistic canon and gendered conceptions of artistic genius, the (surprisingly late) origins of our concepts of "art" and "works," and the difficulty of accounting for the art of non-Western cultures.
OTHER Sample Syllabi
PHIL 101 - Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 102 - Introduction to Metaphysics
PHIL 104 - Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 201 - Introduction to Logic and Reasoning
PHIL 221 - Ethical Theory
PHIL 237 - Contemporary Moral Issues
PHIL 252 - Philosophy of Film
PHIL 257 - Metaphysics: Time and Time Travel
PHIL 300 - Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 329 - Law and Philosophy
PHIL 337 - The Question of Torture
PHIL 367 - 19th-Century German Philosophy
PHIL 410 - The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation
PHIL 415 - Philosophy of Language
PHIL 419 - Epistemology
PHIL 500 - Concepts
PHIL 555 - Fiction and Fictionalism
PHIL 556 - Abstract Objects and Multiple Artworks