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Author: William Ramsey

PHIL 10100--Introduction to Philosophy

Course Description

This course is designed as a "topics-based" introduction to philosophy.  What this means is that instead of working through the history of philosophy focusing on great historical figures and their views on different topics, we will focus on great philosophical topics and look at what historical and contemporary writers have said about them.  Topics to be addressed will include the existence of God, the relation between the mind and the body, human freedom, and the foundations of morality.

Course Objectives

  • To introduce students to the central themes of philosophy
  • To introduce students to important classical and contemporary philosophers
  • To introduce students to the methods for doing doing philosophy
  • To help students appreciate our own ignorance of even our most fundamental beliefs

Prerequisites

None

Textbooks

Required:

Davis, Thomas, Philosophy: An Introduction Through Original Fiction, Disucssion, and a Multi-Media CD-ROM. 4th ed.  New York, NY: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2004.  ISBN: 0072831766.

Feinberg, Joel, and Russ Shafer-Landau, eds., Reason and Responsibility. 12th ed.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003.  ISBN: 0534543510.  See Calendar for links to many of the readings from this text.

Recommended:

Martinich, A.P., Philosophical Writing.  2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.  ISBN: 0631202811.

Other Reading

  • Berkeley, George, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous. Kessinger Publisher, 2005.  ISBN: 1417972165.  (available online)
  • Cahn, Steven M., "Introduction: The Elements of Argument" in Reason at Work.  2nd ed.  Steven M. Cahn, Patricia Kitcher, and George Sher,eds.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1990 (pp. 1-19).  ISBN: 0155759914.
  • Rachels, James, "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism" in The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 5th ed.  McGraw Hill, 2005 (pp. 20-36).  ISBN: 0073125474.

Grading

There is midterm exam (covering weeks 1-6) and a cumulative final exam.  In addition, there are four writing assignments.  The first two papers are shorter assignments (about 3 pages), the latter two are somewhat longer (around 7 pages).  Besides these writing assignments, each student will help write and defend a group presentation.  Finally, there is also a weekly quiz over the readings.

Component Percentage
Midterm 10%
Final 15%
First and Second Papers 20%
Third and Fourth Papers 35%
Weekly Quiz 10%
Presentation and Participation 10%
100%

 

For tips on writing philosophy papers and an explanation of grading criteria, see the following:

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