Fall 2022 - PHIL 421W B100

Advanced Topics in Ethical Theory (4)


Class Number: 7687

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 300-level PHIL courses; it is strongly recommended that students have taken some prior course in moral theory.



A highly focused, advanced examination of a selection of topics in normative or meta-ethics. May be repeated for credit. Writing.


Selected Topics: Bodies

[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 822.]  

This course will explore contemporary readings that concern our relationships with our bodies.  Drawing on work across a range of areas, including applied ethics, philosophy of gender, and disability theory, topics discussed will include the following:

• What is objectification, and is it always bad to objectify people?
• What is involved in trying to responsibly navigate racism, colorism, and fetishism in beauty standards?
• When is altering our bodies harmful, and when is it a way of expressing a more authentic version of our identities?
• Is there an objective fact of the matter about which bodies are healthy?
• What does it mean to experience our bodies as gendered, insofar as we do?


PHIL 421W may be applied towards the Writing Requirement (and the upper division Writing Requirement for Philosophy Majors). This course may be repeated for credit if the topic is different.



  • Short Reading Response Assignments and Quality of Participation 15%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Final paper (3,000-5,000 words) (This will require a paper proposal, version 1 of the paper, and a final version of the paper) 70%


Course delivery method: please note that the B100 component of the course is in person, face to face. However, it might switch to remote delivery. Decision to be taken closer to the start of the semester and will be added here.

Course delivery: Blended.  In person 3 hours per week (section B100), and online for 1 hour (section B101). 

UPDATED JULY 29: Course delivery:  remote, synchronous, blended.  All students must be available to participate in classes over Zoom during the scheduled class period (section B100) and online asynchronous for an additional 1 hour (section B101).



UPDATED JULY 29This course will meet over Zoom during the scheduled class period.  Students will need a microphone and high-speed internet access that will allow them to view live video and contribute to discussions and class activities over audio.  A camera is optional.  Technical specifications for compatibility with Zoom are available here


All readings will be available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project in place from Spring 2021 to Summer 2023. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html