Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P100 | 3338 | Spade
What is Philosophy and Why Should You Care
This course will introduce students to philosophical thinking through a
combination of classical and twentieth-century readings. The emphasis
throughout will be on getting students not just to understand how other
philosophers have viewed the `Big Questions," but also to develop their own
philosophical skills. We shall discuss how philosophy differs from other
disciplines and studies, how it can be both exciting and fun but at the same time
profoundly disturbing. Among other philosophical topics we will use as
examples, we will discuss: (a) the sources of our knowledge, and in particular the
sources of certain odd concepts we all seem to have; (b) the notion of a "cause"
(one of the most puzzling ideas anyone has ever come up with!); (c) the notion of
"wishful thinking" and "self-deception"; (d) the basis of ethics and morality; (e)
human free will and responsibility; (f) the existence of God.
Main readings will be from:
Plato, "Five Dialogues"
David Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding"
Jean-Paul Sartre "Existentialism and Human Emotions"
Students will also be buy (and read):
Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments
Grades will be based on two written examinations (a mid-term and a final), two
term-papers and a series of short weekly quizzes given in Friday discussion