Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P100 | 3727 | Weinberg


Philosophy is the study of hard -- perhaps impossible -- questions.
E.g.,  Does God exist?  How can a believer reconcile the existence
of God with the existence of evil & suffering in the world?  Could
God be unjust?  What is justice, anyway?  Can we even come to know
the answer to such questions by means of reason & argument?  For
that matter, what is it to know something at all?  Is it even
possible for human minds to really _know_ anything at all?  What is
the nature of the mind?  Can we make sense of minds existing in a
physical world?

The point of this course is not just to introduce you to these
philosophical _questions_, but moreover to introduce you to the
philosophical _methods_ for answering such questions.  The practice
of philosophy combines the rigor of logic with the creativity of
the 'thought-experiment', and all the while trying to bring clarity
into some of the most murky, troublesome, unfathomable corners of
the human intellect.

A word of warning: this course (like almost all philosophy courses)
will demand a great deal of active thinking & contemplation on the
part of the students.  There is no way to do well in philosophy by
anything like simple brute memorization.  Rather, what will be of
the utmost importance will be your ability to comprehend and
critique the arguments and positions that we will be considering.
Although you will rarely be asked to read more than a dozen or so
pages per class meeting, you will be expected to have read them --
and re-read them -- _thoroughly_.

Course evaluations will include classroom participation & regular
quizzes (20%), two midterms (20% each), a final (20%), and a short
(about 5 pages) written paper (20%).