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  • Program requirements

A complementary minor is taken in addition to a student’s main program. There is no direct admission in a complementary program; the choice is made after admission and registration in a bachelor program.

Compulsory courses (12 credits)


  • PHI2110 Methodology in Philosophy and Ethics
  • PHI2182 Human Existence
  • PHI2184 Philosophy of Religion
  • PHI2185 Ethics and Education

Optional courses (18 credits)

3 credits from:

  • PHI1101 Reasoning and Critical Thinking (UO)
  • PHI1105 Introduction to Philosophical Reasoning
  • PHI1110 Elementary Logic

3 credits from:

  • PHI2380 Greek Philosophy or the Birth of Philosophy (UO)
  • PHI3185 Aristotelian-Thomistic Metaphysics
  • PHI3370 Plato. The Philosopher as Poet, Lover, Dialectician and King (UO)
  • PHI3380 Aristotle. The Pursuit of Wisdom for its Own Sake (UO)
  • PHI2144 Ethical and Political Thought of Aristotle

3 credits from:

  • PHI2382 Philosophy in the Middle Ages (UO)
  • PHI3107 Thomas Aquinas
  • PHI3141 Augustine

3 credits from:

  • PHI2383 Modern Philosophy (UO)
  • PHI3377 Contemporary Continental Philosophy (UO)
  • PHI3398 Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (UO)
  • PHI4155 Selected Topics in Political Philosophy II

6 credits from:

  • PHI2111 History of Ethics
  • PHI2113 Nature, Science and Philosophy
  • PHI2121 Texts in Bioethics
  • PHI2143 Ethical and Political Thought of Kant
  • PHI2153 Christian Philosophers
  • PHI2154 Moral Philosophy
  • PHI3112 Philosophical Theology
  • PHI3131 Ethics Counselling
  • PHI3152 Philosophical Hermeneutics
  • Or any other course approved by the Faculty.

Students must take at least 2 courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels for completing a minor.

Some courses have specific prerequisites.

A course that is part of a bachelor degree or a major cannot count as an optional course toward a minor.

PHI 1105 - Introduction to Critical Thinking

Explores the various sides of Critical Thinking: the nature of arguments, common errors in reasoning as well as evaluating evidence and information. Enables students to acquire and develop research and writing skills.

PHI 1110 - Elementary Logic

This course is a general introduction to logic. The course introduces students to such basic logical concepts as deduction, induction, validity and invalidity, fallacy, the relation of language to logic, and problems arising from workaday, rhetorical forms of argument.

PHI 2110 - Methodology in Philosophy and Ethics

Acquiring skills for research and writing, including how to critically appraise an article; how to structure an essay; and specific methodology in philosophy and ethics. Contains an overview of different theories in epistemology.

PHI 2111 - History of Western Ethics

When offered, this course would take one of the following three forms: I. Ancient and Medieval Ethics: Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman Ethics. Selection from Plato’s Dialogues, and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Selection from the Epicureans, Stoics, Neoplatonists, and Aquinas. II. Early Modern Ethics: Renaissance Humanists, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Hume. III. Post-Kantian Ethics. Selections from Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, J.S. Mill, T.H. Green. Selections from Moore, the positivists and post-modernists. Western ethics may be compared and contrasted to selected non-Western traditions.

PHI 2113 - Nature, Science and Philosophy

Difference between philosophy of nature and the science of nature. The history of philosophical reflection on nature. The individuation of beings; the relationship between matter and life; the nature of the consciousness in relation to the body, the problem of finality in nature. Impact on environmental ethics and bioethics.

PHI 2121 - Ethics and New Biotechnologies

Impact of robotics and new technologies on the patient-healthcare practitioner relationship, medical interventions, the manner in which we perceive our own bodies, and transhumanism.

PHI 2143 - Deontological Ethics

General history of deontology, with readings from main thinkers in this tradition from its beginnings up to the present day (Kant, Ross, O’Neill). Study of applied dimensions of this approach, as well as of its limitations.

PHI 2144 - Virtue Ethics

General history of virtue ethics, with readings from main thinkers in this tradition from its beginnings to the present day (Aristotle, MacIntyre, Nussbaum, non-western perspectives). Study of applied dimensions of this approach, as well as of its limitations.

PHI 2153 - Christian Philosophers

Great Christian philosophers. Relationships between faith and reason. The reciprocal influence of theology and philosophy on one another.

PHI 2154 - Moral Philosophy

Survey of the major ethical systems in the Western world. Relationship between philosophical and religious thinking in ethical matters. Fundamental questions facing contemporary moral consciousness.

PHI 2154 and PHI 2174 are mutually exclusive. PHI 2154 was previously under course code PHI 3183.

PHI 2182 - Philosophical Anthropology

Study of different philosophical conceptions of the human being.

PHI 2184 - Philosophy of Religion

Philosophers and religion. Questions raised by the scientific study of religion in the contemporary period. Contributions of linguistic analysis to the study of the expressions of religious faith.

PHI 2185 - Ethics and Education

Examination of the philosophical and psychological research on the formation of ethical judgments. Relationships between judgment, feeling, and moral action. Examination of how various learning theories can be incorporated into teaching ethics to children, how ethics may be taught to children both inside and outside a religious context. Education as a pillar of democratic citizenship.

PHI 3107 - Thomas Aquinas

Life, intellectual context, and philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas. Study of selected texts.

PHI 3112 - Philosophical Theology

The philosophical question of God. The problem of the existence of God. The proofs of existence of God. Divine being and divine attributes. God and History. God and Evil. God and Human Freedom.

PHI 3131 - Ethics Counselling

Principles of ethics consultations. Application of ethical theories to the practice of counselling. How to take decisions in the area of ethics. How to facilitate ethical decision making by individuals and organizations.

PHI 3141 - Augustine

Life, intellectual context, and philosophical thought of Augustine. Study of selected texts.

This course was previously PHI2155.

PHI 3152 - Philosophical Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics of the Enlightenment and birth of the modern hermeneutical paradigm in relationship with the history of ideas and the theological preoccupations.

PHI 3185 - Aristotelian -Thomistic Metaphysics

The question of being. First philosophy. Fundamental notions of Aristotelian metaphysics. Several contemporary critiques.

PHI 4155 - Selected Topics in Ethics and Politics

Study of a particular topic, thinker or tradition. Critical analysis of the link between ethics and politics.

Courses offered by the University of Ottawa:

PHI 1101 - Reasoning and Critical Thinking (UO)

Development of 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.

PHI 2380 - Greek Philosophy or the Birth of Philosophy (UO)

The birth of philosophy in Ancient Greece and its development, from the 6th to the 4th century B.C. Introduction to the originality and specificity of philosophical discourse through the study of Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Also offered as CLA2380.

PHI 2382 - Philosophy in the Middle Ages (UO)

Introduction to major thinkers of the fifth to fourteenth centuries (Augustine to Ockham) and to some of the great questions of the era, concerning such matters as the nature of universals, of knowledge, and of the mind. Particular attention is paid to developments in epistemology and metaphysics.

PHI 2383 - Modern Philosophy (UO)

Introduction to major philosophers, from Descartes to Kant, and philosophical systems (Rationalism, Empiricism) of the 17th and 18th centuries, with emphasis on developments in epistemology and metaphysics.

PHI 3370 - Plato. The Philosopher as Poet, Lover, Dialectician and King (UO)

An introduction to the philosophy of Plato through the reading in their entirety of a selection of dialogues that represent the diversity of his styles, methods, and ideas.

Prerequisite: 12 PHI credits including PHI2380. Also offered as CLA3370.

PHI 3377 - Contemporary Continental Philosophy (UO)

Survey of the major trends in 20th-century European philosophy: existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, and poststructuralist.

Prerequisites: 15 PHI credits, including PHI 2383.

PHI 3380 - Aristotle. The Pursuit of Wisdom for its Own Sake (UO)

An introduction to the philosophy of Aristotle through a reading of selected texts representing his wide-ranging interests in psychology, logic, physics, metaphysics ethics, and politics.

Prerequisites: 12 PHI credits, including PHI 2380. Also offered as CLA3380.

PHI 3398 - Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (UO)

Study of major debates and currents in analytic philosophy, with focus on the core theoretical areas of philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics.

Prerequisites: 15 PHI credits, including PHI 2170 and PHI 2383. Previously: PHI3378.

Information for future students

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