Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P100 | 3347 | 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.  In addition, where possible we will try to
connect these issues to real-world circumstances.  E.g., if we
understand knowledge to work in a certain way, how should that
affect the role of academic science in our lives?  What sorts of
laws ought we to pass -- or repeal -- on a particular view of
justice?

And, just for fun, we'll even briefly consider the problem of 'the
meaning of life'. (And why it's such a terribly hard problem!)

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%).