Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL 1301

This course is designed to help develop your ability to think critically as you mature and reflect on basic problems of existence, such as the meaning of life. We will examine current issues by applying various theories and ideas of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophers.

The objective of this course is to teach you to do something you most likely thought yourself already capable Ė to think. Okay, Iíll admit you can think fairly well. Selecting a philosophy class means you have chosen the class that may well have the most impact on your life. Nevertheless, Iím more concerned with the quality of your thoughts. Iím concerned that your thoughts are sufficiently clear, critical, reasoned, and reflective Ė like those of a philosopher. It is important to understand that philosophy is an activity. Philosophers do hold opinions (in my case, a variety) on the questions they study, but you canít study philosophy by simply memorizing those opinions. What makes an opinion philosophical are the reasons provided in its support. In fact, much of the value of studying philosophy is learning how to understand, evaluate, and criticize those reasons. Knowing the answers is not the point of this course Ė itís knowing the reasons behind the answers.

Finally, this course may provide you better insight into many of the political, cultural, and ethical issues that will arise in your life. Do not expect this course or the professor to provide you answers; it may, however, give you a little help in understanding some important questions and nourish your ability to seek your own answers.

The approximate cost of all required books for this course is  $35.

Spring 2017 Syllabus - Tuesday evenings (PHIL 1301.P71)