Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P100 | 14933 | Blake


Note:  This class meets first 8 weeks only.


In our eight weeks, we will dance lightly across the history of
philosophy, as well as engaging in deeper discussions and debates of
some of its central themes.  We will begin in the West with the
ancient Greek text of the Meno, and move from there across time and
space, covering two ancient Chinese texts, and then on to more recent
European thinkers.

We will be bridging these distances of space and time by asking some
of the same questions of all of these thinkers  questions about
human nature, ethics, and knowledge.  These questions will include:
What are the innate characteristics of human nature?  Is human nature
good or bad?  Do our ethical obligations originate in our human
nature, or do they instead require us to reform our nature?  Does our
motivation to do the ethically right thing come from innate
tendencies, or does it have to be imposed on us from without?  Does
our nature assist us in gathering knowledge about the world, or does
it limit us?  Can we gain knowledge through experience, or only
through reason?

In addition to short in-class assignments, work for the course will
include two brief presentations, one paper of 3-4 pages in length,
and two exams.