Introduction to Philosophy: The Big Questions

Fall 2020 Courses

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.

Introduction to Philosophy
10100 01 (21388)
Cross
4:05-4:55 MW and A Friday Discussion Section
First Year Students Only

The course deals with some of the central issues of modern philosophy - what exists, the nature of good and evil, what it is to act well, what we can know, and what it is to have a reasonable belief. The course is structured thematically, though attention is given too to some of the key texts from the history of philosophy and the Catholic tradition.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 01 (10327)
McDaniel
2:20 -3:35 MW
First Year Students Only

This course provides an introduction to philosophy. We will begin with a brief study of elementary logic, philosophical terminology, and philosophical methods. We will then do serious philosophy, i.e., we will carefully and critically assess the views and arguments put forth and defended by the authors in our text. This course assumes no prior knowledge of, or familiarity with, philosophy. However, the subject matter is not easy; philosophical problems are complex and it requires effort and patience to think through them.


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 03 (20397)
Audi
12:45-2:00 MW
First Year Students Only

This course will explore major works of philosophy and, through discussing them in depth, will introduce some of the major problems of philosophy and some of its methods for understanding them.  Students will be asked to write short essays on some of the readings or on philosophical problems related to them. These problems include the nature of knowledge, the varieties of goodness, the scope of our obligations to others, the types of evidence for the existence of God, and the objectivity of ethics.  A special aim of the course is to help participants both to write well and to acquire skill in discussing issues effectively in a setting conducive to wide-ranging inquiry and to the development of distinctive views of one’s own.

Texts will likely include works by Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Mill. The works in question have had an enormous influence and are still considered valuable resources for dealing with their main topics.  Readings will be discussed in detail, often with close attention to important passages. Critical interpretive reading is encouraged, and the appraisal of major positions on knowledge and reality, good and evil, theism and atheism, freedom and compulsion, and the nature of human persons will be central concerns.


Introduction to Philosophy - ONLINE CLASS
20101 01 (15421)
Duarte
2:20-3:35 TR

Through a reading of various classical and contemporary philosophical works, we shall consider a number of fundamental questions, such as: What is virtue? What makes for a good human life? Is true and certain knowledge about the world even possible for human beings? Can human beings be said to be free if their choices are causally determined? Is there a God, and if so, why is evil permitted? Is death a bad thing, and if so, why? Authors to be read will include Plato, Bertrand Russell, and Thomas Nagel. Emphasis will be placed on carefully and critically reading philosophical texts, evaluating philosophical arguments, and learning how to write clearly and precisely.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 02 (11134)
Seachris
9:35-10:50 MW

Why are you here? What is real? What can you know? What should you believe? How should you live? For what should you hope? What is your destiny? You did not choose to exist, but here you are. In virtue of being here, and in virtue of being a human being, questions like these define and depict the condition in which we find ourselves. Philosophy was and continues to be a discipline that systematically attempts to frame and answer such questions with intellectual rigor—questions that we all ask at one time or another in one form or another.

This course offers a targeted glimpse into key problems and questions in philosophy, with central aspects of the human condition serving as our guide. Course readings will include a thoughtful mix of historic and contemporary philosophical sources, as well as publicly-engaged pieces aimed at connecting perennial philosophical questions to twenty-first century life.  

Most classes will consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities. Our aims in this course include: (1) promoting a fuller understanding of the central issues in western philosophical history, (2) deepening our appreciation for how our current beliefs about ourselves and the world are set within the larger context of this history, (3) connecting timeless philosophical questions with some of the most pressing issues of our day, (4) cultivating a spirit of humility and respect as we listen to and dialogue with those who disagree with us on important matters, and (5) improving our capacity to think, speak, and write well.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 03 (14838)
Seachris
11:00-12:15 MW

Why are you here? What is real? What can you know? What should you believe? How should you live? For what should you hope? What is your destiny? You did not choose to exist, but here you are. In virtue of being here, and in virtue of being a human being, questions like these define and depict the condition in which we find ourselves. Philosophy was and continues to be a discipline that systematically attempts to frame and answer such questions with intellectual rigor—questions that we all ask at one time or another in one form or another.

This course offers a targeted glimpse into key problems and questions in philosophy, with central aspects of the human condition serving as our guide. Course readings will include a thoughtful mix of historic and contemporary philosophical sources, as well as publicly-engaged pieces aimed at connecting perennial philosophical questions to twenty-first century life.  

Most classes will consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities. Our aims in this course include: (1) promoting a fuller understanding of the central issues in western philosophical history, (2) deepening our appreciation for how our current beliefs about ourselves and the world are set within the larger context of this history, (3) connecting timeless philosophical questions with some of the most pressing issues of our day, (4) cultivating a spirit of humility and respect as we listen to and dialogue with those who disagree with us on important matters, and (5) improving our capacity to think, speak, and write well.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 04 (14429)
Galbraith
11:00-12:15 TR

This course will provide an introduction to the methods and themes of contemporary philosophy. In discussion-based seminars, students will learn to use critical thinking skills to analyze a number of major questions in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion. These questions concern the foundations of morality, the nature of the mind, our knowledge of scientific facts, and the existence of God. Finally, we will discuss the applicability of philosophy to modern problems, applying philosophical methods to the analysis of pressing and controversial issues in politics, law, and technology.


Introduction to Philosophy - ONLINE CLASS
20101 05 (11135)
Himelright
3:30-4:45 TR

In this course, we will examine some perennial philosophical questions, looking at them through the lens of historical and contemporary philosophers. These questions include:

• Is there a God?
• What does morality require of us?
• What is the meaning of life?
• Can we have knowledge of reality?
• How does the mind relate to the body?
• Are we free?

Critical discussion is a crucial element of this course, so that each of us will be prepared to form their own opinions at its close. The textbook is John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer’s Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, 7th Edition.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 06 (16122)
Rodriguez
11:00-12:15 MW

How should I treat other people? Is stealing others’ lunch money always morally wrong? What sort of person should I be? These sorts of questions pertain to moral philosophy, or ethics, and just about everyone has asked them. They’re practical questions, since they bear on how we live our daily lives. But they’re also theoretical questions, since answers to them invariably appeal to (or at least assume) a deeper, more general theory about morality. This course serves as an introduction to doing philosophy by way of investigating those practical and theoretical questions. Although a number of perennial philosophical questions will arise throughout the course, we’ll spend most of our time examining several of the most influential movements in Western moral philosophy. We won’t cover everything in ethics. (That’d take way too long.) Rather, we’ll first spend our time reading and thinking together about a handful of the most influential moral theories. Then we’ll think about how these moral theories inform our thinking about a few interesting and high-profile applied ethical questions. (Examples: is torture ever morally permissible? Is eating animals ok? Could we ever have moral obligations to robots?) No prior experience in philosophy is assumed.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 07 (12109)
Tran-Hoang
3:30-4:45 TR

This course serves as an introduction to philosophy, where philosophy is defined broadly as the study of life's deepest questions. We will explore issues concerning the nature of existence, morality, the self, free will, God, and knowledge. This course will help students develop a number of valuable skills such as critical thinking and rational argumentation. 


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 08 (17261)
Tran-Hoang
5:05-4:45 TR

This course serves as an introduction to philosophy, where philosophy is defined broadly as the study of life's deepest questions. We will explore issues concerning the nature of existence, morality, the self, free will, God, and knowledge. This course will help students develop a number of valuable skills such as critical thinking and rational argumentation. 


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 09 (16121)
Himelright
9:30-10:45 MW

In this course, we will examine some perennial philosophical questions, looking at them through the lens of historical and contemporary philosophers. These questions include:

• Is there a God?
• What does morality require of us?
• What is the meaning of life?
• Can we have knowledge of reality?
• How does the mind relate to the body?
• Are we free?

Critical discussion is a crucial element of this course, so that each of us will be prepared to form their own opinions at its close. The textbook is John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer’s Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, 7th Edition.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 10 (16322)
Himelright
11:00-12:15 MW

In this course, we will examine some perennial philosophical questions, looking at them through the lens of historical and contemporary philosophers. These questions include:

• Is there a God?
• What does morality require of us?
• What is the meaning of life?
• Can we have knowledge of reality?
• How does the mind relate to the body?
• Are we free?

Critical discussion is a crucial element of this course, so that each of us will be prepared to form their own opinions at its close. The textbook is John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer’s Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, 7th Edition.


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 11 (17741)
Hanson
9:30-10:45 MW

In this course, we will tackle some unabashedly big questions you have probably wondered about. In the first part of the semester, we will focus on questions surrounding personhood, among them: What is a person? Is a person a mind, a body, or something else? In the second part of the course, we will shift gears to considering issues in ethics, foremost among them, what it is that makes an action right or wrong. In the final part of the course, we’ll consider some of the most gnarly issues in applied ethics: What, if anything, do we owe to future generations? Is it morally acceptable to eat meat? Are abortion and euthanasia acceptable under any circumstances, and if so, when? And how does the state fit into all of this? 


Introduction to Philosophy
20101 12 (17262)

Hanson
8:00-9:15 MW

In this course, we will tackle some unabashedly big questions you have probably wondered about. In the first part of the semester, we will focus on questions surrounding personhood, among them: What is a person? Is a person a mind, a body, or something else? In the second part of the course, we will shift gears to considering issues in ethics, foremost among them, what it is that makes an action right or wrong. In the final part of the course, we’ll consider some of the most gnarly issues in applied ethics: What, if anything, do we owe to future generations? Is it morally acceptable to eat meat? Are abortion and euthanasia acceptable under any circumstances, and if so, when? And how does the state fit into all of this?