College Of Arts And Sciences | Mind, Values, and Our World
E103 | 4002 | Eisenberg, P.


The fundamental topic of this course is the way in which careful
philosophical consideration of one question leads on to consideration
of many other issues related to the first one.  The questions we
shall examine in this course include:  the meaning of life; free will
and determinism; the nature of mind and mind's relation to the body;
the nature of knowledge as distinct from (true) belief; and the
possibility of proving God's existence.  Throughout most of the
course the brief essays to be read, which were written relatively
recently, will be arranged in pairs, pro and con, so that in-class
discussion and debate can be facilitated.  At the end of the course,
however, we shall look at somehwhat longer writings by some very
great philosophers of the past.

The course grade will be based on class participation, on quizzes,
and on several short essays in which the students will be asked to
offer assessments of particular philosophical views or of arguments
presented in the assigned readings for or against those views.

The goals of the course are to introduce students to philosophical
thinking, and to develop the skills needed for it.  These skills
include careful reading (and listening) and critical thinking.  The
philosophical issues to be discussed are ones which people throughout
the ages have found to be important to them; and all college students
can benefit in all of their courses from having mastered some skills
involved in critical thinking.