Introduction to Philosophy: The Big Questions

PHIL 10100 is our traditional general introduction to philosophy. This course is typically structured around a number of philosophical questions of enduring interest, like:

  • Does God exist?
  • What am I?
  • What can we know?
  • Do we have free will?
  • What, if anything, does morality require of us?

The course typically involves two lecture meetings per week, followed by a smaller discussion group meeting on Friday.

Spring 2018 Courses

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 01 (27871)
Roeber
9:30-10:45 TR
First Year Students Only

This course will explore the nature and relevance of philosophy, as well as major themes in Western philosophy, including the existence of God and the origins of the universe, knowledge of the external world, the mind-body problem, personal identity, free will, morality, and the meaning of life. It also aims to teach how to think, read, and write critically about philosophical issues.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 02 (21090)
Duarte
9:30-10:45 TR
First Year Students Only

A general introduction to philosophy, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 03 (26157)

Kraus
12:30-1:45 TR

First Year Students Only

In this course we will pursue answers to one of the most fundamental questions: What is the human being? Or just: Who are we? By engaging in a dialogue with some of the major figures of the history of philosophy and of science, we will discuss questions such as: What can we know? Is there truth? What should we do? Which life is worth pursuing? Are we really free? What may we hope? Does God exist? Are we rational animals? Do we have immortal souls? What makes us the persons we are? Are we responsible for our past selves? (How) should we take care of our future selves?

Emphasis will be placed on attentive reading and discussion of seminal texts from, among others, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Darwin and Freud, as well as on developing and exercising a discussion culture in the classroom. The course will include

  • Lectures and seminar discussions concerning key figures and texts, as well as major philosophical conceptions, arguments, and theories regarding the human being;
  • Classroom debates of pressing issues that are relevant for our everyday lives.
  • Requirements include reading responses, two short papers and a term paper. 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 04 (26155)
Schmitt
11:00-12:15 TR

First Year Students Only

Philosophy engages a capacity we all have to wonder—about ourselves, the world, and our place in the world. This course enables you to systematically examine these topics, reflecting on your own views as well as the relationships between your views and alternative views espoused by great thinkers throughout history. We explore questions falling under five main headings:

(1) Epistemology: What is knowledge? What justifies us in believing what we do?
(2) Metaphysics: What are we like as human beings? How are our minds and bodies related? Are we free? Are we morally responsible?
(3) Philosophy of Religion: Does God exist? If God exists, why is there evil in the world? Should we practice a religion?
(4) Ethics: How should we live? Are there objective moral truths? What does morality require?
(5) Existentialism: Is death bad? What makes our lives meaningful?


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 05 (27715)

Schmitt
12:30-1:45 TR

First Year Students Only

Philosophy engages a capacity we all have to wonder—about ourselves, the world, and our place in the world. This course enables you to systematically examine these topics, reflecting on your own views as well as the relationships between your views and alternative views espoused by great thinkers throughout history. We explore questions falling under five main headings:

(1) Epistemology: What is knowledge? What justifies us in believing what we do?
(2) Metaphysics: What are we like as human beings? How are our minds and bodies related? Are we free? Are we morally responsible?
(3) Philosophy of Religion: Does God exist? If God exists, why is there evil in the world? Should we practice a religion?
(4) Ethics: How should we live? Are there objective moral truths? What does morality require?
(5) Existentialism: Is death bad? What makes our lives meaningful?


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 06 (27870)

Rodriguez
8:20-9:10 MWF

First Year Students Only

This class will provide an overview of issues that are both important problems of philosophy and issues relevant to the lives of each of us: the existence of God and the problem of evil, the nature of human beings (whether we are more than just bodies, and whether we are free), and what moral standards we should follow (if any). We will also deal with the particular moral issue of war and peace, examining in some detail the positions of pacifism and just war theory.

The goal is for students (a) to become familiar with the issues involved for each topic and with responses that have been posed to these questions (to this end students will be required to read
pieces both classical and modern), and (b) to develop the abilities to analyze the alternatives and to adopt more well-thought-out positions of their own (to this end students will be required to participate in class discussions and regularly write papers responding to readings). Class requirements include participation, three papers, and two exams.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 07 (20294)

Rodriguez
9:25-10:15 MWF

First Year Students Only

This class will provide an overview of issues that are both important problems of philosophy and issues relevant to the lives of each of us: the existence of God and the problem of evil, the nature of human beings (whether we are more than just bodies, and whether we are free), and what moral standards we should follow (if any). We will also deal with the particular moral issue of war and peace, examining in some detail the positions of pacifism and just war theory.

The goal is for students (a) to become familiar with the issues involved for each topic and with responses that have been posed to these questions (to this end students will be required to read
pieces both classical and modern), and (b) to develop the abilities to analyze the alternatives and to adopt more well-thought-out positions of their own (to this end students will be required to participate in class discussions and regularly write papers responding to readings). Class requirements include participation, three papers, and two exams.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 08 (30611)

Rodriguez
11:30-12:20 MWF

First Year Students Only

This class will provide an overview of issues that are both important problems of philosophy and issues relevant to the lives of each of us: the existence of God and the problem of evil, the nature of human beings (whether we are more than just bodies, and whether we are free), and what moral standards we should follow (if any). We will also deal with the particular moral issue of war and peace, examining in some detail the positions of pacifism and just war theory.

The goal is for students (a) to become familiar with the issues involved for each topic and with responses that have been posed to these questions (to this end students will be required to read
pieces both classical and modern), and (b) to develop the abilities to analyze the alternatives and to adopt more well-thought-out positions of their own (to this end students will be required to participate in class discussions and regularly write papers responding to readings). Class requirements include participation, three papers, and two exams.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 01 (27724)
Finocchiaro
12:30-1:45 TR

When we do philosophy, we attempt to use reason to resolve seemingly irresolvable disputes about the nature of the world and our place in it. Our central goal in this course is to develop the ability to do just that. In our pursuit of this goal, we will explore questions like: How can we live good lives? What do we know? Does God exist? How should we improve society? To reach our goal, we will have to improve our ability to use reason. This course will provide the resources to do so; we will develop skills in argumentation, logic, and precision of thought. This course will also provide the opportunity to practice these skills; large portions of class time and many assignments will be dedicated to the application of these skills in collaborative discussion.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 02 (24412)
Finocchiaro
2:00-3:15 TR

When we do philosophy, we attempt to use reason to resolve seemingly irresolvable disputes about the nature of the world and our place in it. Our central goal in this course is to develop the ability to do just that. In our pursuit of this goal, we will explore questions like: How can we live good lives? What do we know? Does God exist? How should we improve society? To reach our goal, we will have to improve our ability to use reason. This course will provide the resources to do so; we will develop skills in argumentation, logic, and precision of thought. This course will also provide the opportunity to practice these skills; large portions of class time and many assignments will be dedicated to the application of these skills in collaborative discussion.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 03 (27726)
Schmitt
3:30-4:45 TR

Philosophy engages a capacity we all have to wonder—about ourselves, the world, and our place in the world. This course enables you to systematically examine these topics, reflecting on your own views as well as the relationships between your views and alternative views espoused by great thinkers throughout history. We explore questions falling under five main headings:

(1) Epistemology: What is knowledge? What justifies us in believing what we do?
(2) Metaphysics: What are we like as human beings? How are our minds and bodies related? Are we free? Are we morally responsible?
(3) Philosophy of Religion: Does God exist? If God exists, why is there evil in the world? Should we practice a religion?
(4) Ethics: How should we live? Are there objective moral truths? What does morality require?
(5) Existentialism: Is death bad? What makes our lives meaningful?