Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy
P100 | 9722 | Spade


What is Philosophy and Why You Should 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" (Hackett Publishing Company).

* David Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding"
(Hackett Publishing Company).

* Jean-Paul Sartre "Existentialism Is a Humanism" (Yale
University Press).

Students will also be required to buy (and read):

* Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments, 4th ed.  (Hackett
Publishing Company)

Grades will be based on two written examinations (a mid-term and a
final), two term-papers and a series of short quizzes given in Friday
discussion sections.