PHIL 26 – History of Philosophy                                                                


Spring 2016



Professor Gale Justin, Department of Philosophy

Office: Mendocino Hall #3024

Office Hours: Mon.Wed. 1: 30 – 3:00 PM and by appointment




Class Meetings

Mon.Wed. 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM.  Class attendance is not required but if a student wants to attend all or any of the actual classes, then the student should come to ARC 1011.  If you choose not to attend the actual class, you must watch each class lecture via SacCt 9.1.

Note: Parts 1 and 2 of the three essay exams are based entirely on my lectures and the class readings.  So anyone who is registered for the class must have access to SacCt 9.1 and anyone who wants to get a passing grade in the class needs to watch the lectures and do the assigned readings.

Class Practices

  • Ordinary courtesy behavior must be displayed in the studio classroom.  Impermissible behavior in class includes, but is not limited to, eating or drinking in the studio classroom, cell phone use, texting, pager use, non-classroom related computer activity, habitual tardiness, leaving early, or leaving and returning during the class, doing outside homework or outside reading in class, any form of discourtesy to other students or to the teacher.  Any type of impermissible behavior, including but not restricted to failure to bring your 26 Reader to class, will result in the offender(s) being asked to leave the studio classroom, giving you only the videos on SacCT 9.1 as your source of the lecture material.
  • Office hour appointments work best, if you email me to schedule a time for you either during my office hour or at some other mutually convenient time.  If you need to cancel, you must notify me (not just fail to appear), if you wish me to reschedule an appointment for you.
  • To contact me, use only my email address.  In the subject line, indicate the class of mine that you are taking.  In the body of the email, state immediately your name-e.g. the name under which you registered for the class.  Then briefly indicate the reason for your email.  But note questions that I have answered in class pertaining to the mechanics of the course will not be answered on an individual basis.  You must watch the class videos and read the syllabus for answers to such questions.  
  • If you want feedback on graded essay exams or on drafts of essay exams, you must make an appointment via email with me to set up a conference. For feedback on drafts, I schedule conferences on a first come, first serve basis.


Catalogue Description

            An introduction to the history of philosophy, emphasizing such themes as the foundations of knowledge, the nature of reality, the basis of a good life and a just society, the existence of god, and the nature of the self, and tracing the development of these themes from antiquity to the modern period.       


Course Content

            This course acquaints students with several connected themes characteristic of Western philosophy, the idea of soul, the existence of a divine being, the nature of moral good and evil, and the trustworthiness of human knowledge. We shall trace the continuities and distinctive features of these themes as they appear in philosophical works of the period from ancient Greece through the modern era.  Students will be encouraged not only to master the philosophical material and the methods of philosophical argument but also to pay attention to the historical and cultural context within which these themes develop.  


Course Goals

            As a philosophy course, this course emphasizes the reading and doing of philosophy, through helping students to:

(1)   understand how the themes of soul, the existence of a divine being, the nature of moral good and evil, and the trustworthiness of human are interpreted and related by various Western philosophers.

(2)   distinguish and state clearly the main ideas that comprise each philosopher’s position.

(3)   understand the ways in which the above mentioned themes are transformed in light of the historical situation that lies in the background.

(4)   understand methods of philosophical argumentation

(5)   maintain and defend with reasons a variety of one’s own theses concerning facets of each philosopher’s position.


As a C2 Humanities course, there is an associated focus on the human condition, mainly through helping students to:

(6)    Demonstrate knowledge of the conventions and methods of the study of the humanities.  This outcome will be implemented through the students’ critical reading of the positions of prominent Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Enlightenment philosophers, whose work constitutes one important aspect of human culture.  Students will demonstrate this outcome both through their written essay exams and the multiple choice tests that are based on the works of these philosophers.

(7)    Develop skill related to Investigating, describing, and analyzing the roles and effects of human culture and understanding in the development of human societies.  This outcome will be implemented through the students’ understanding of the relationship between the philosopher’s theories and the cultural context which gives rise to the questions that the theories were intended to answer.  The similarities and differences between the theories as they evolved over time will also be explored by the students who will demonstrate an understanding of these theories, their context and their connection mainly through their written essay exams.

(8)    Compare and analyze various conceptions of humankind.  Students will achieve an understanding of this outcome goal through the emphasis of the course on the contrasting conceptions of the human soul that we inherited as part of the Western humanistic tradition from Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Enlightenment philosophers.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of this outcome mainly through the multiple choice short answer section of the essays exams.

(9)   Demonstrate   knowledge and understanding of the historical development of cultures and civilizations, including their animating ideas and values.  This course will introduce students to the prominent events of Western Civilization from 2000 BC to 300 AD.  It will also place notable Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Enlightenment philosophers within their historical context and demonstrate how each ones’ work is, at least partly, a function of the outlook of his time.  Students will demonstrate this outcome by taking and supporting a critical assessment-- based on our present cultural attitudes—towards whatever philosophic position  is the subject of an essay exam.  


Required Texts from the Bookstore:

            Phil. 26 Reader  (Reader is cited as Reader in the Reading Schedule.)

            Philosophy 26 Course Pack: Early Greek History: 2000 BC -300BC 


Links Essay Exam 1;  Essay Exam 2;  Essay Exam 3; Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers

Please note: crumpled, folded, torn or otherwise damaged scantrons will not be graded.


Reading Schedule (Note: The actual pace of the class may not be in complete accord with the reading schedule. But all of the listed readings will be covered and it is the student’s responsibility to read the readings at the same pace as they are discussed in class.)


1.25     Introduction: What is the role of Philosophy in the Humanities?

1.27     Early Greek History

            Read: Early Greek History: 2000 BC – 300BC in Phil. 26 course pack  

2.1       Socratic/Platonic conception of soul

            Plato, Apology, Reader, 1 - 13.          

Due: Early Greek History Test (click here)

2.3       Plato, Apology, Reader. 1-13.  

2.8       Plato, Phaedo, Reader, 14 - 22 up to 71e.

2.10     Plato, Phaedo, Reader, from p. 23 at 96a – p. 29 at 107a.

2.15     Plato, Phaedo, Reader, from p. 23 at 96a – p. 29 107a.

2.17     Aristotle and the idea of moral good

Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. 1, sec. 1-5, Reader, 30 - 32, and Bk. I, sec. 7, 33 - 35.

2.22     Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. 2, sec. 1, Reader, 36 – 37, and Bk. II, sec. 6, Reader, 38 -40.

2.24     NO CLASS: First Essay Due

2.29     Differences between the ancient Greek conception of Humanity and that ofChristianity with special emphasis on their differing view of Homosexuality

3.2       Anselm, Proslogion, Reader, 41, Gaunilo’s Reply, Reader, 42, and Anselm’s Reply, Reader, 43.  

3.7       Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Third Article, Reader, 44 - 45.

3.9       Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Third Article, Reader, 44 - 45.         

3.14    Animating Ideas and Values of the Early Modern Period in Western Europe

3.16     Descartes, Meditation I, Reader, 46 -48.

3.21 – 28  SPRING BREAK and Ceasar Chavez Day

3.30     Descartes, Meditation I, Reader, 46 -48

4.4       Descartes, Meditation II, Reader 48 52.                     

4.6       Descartes, Meditation III, Reader, 52 - 58.    

4.11    Descartes, Meditation VI, Reader, 58 – 65.  Due: Essay Exam 2

4.13    Possible No Class Due to Strike

4.18     Hume, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. I, Reader, 66 – 69 up to “We now proceed to explain the nature of personal identity.”

4.20     Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Reader, p. 69 from “We now proceed to explain the nature of personal identity,” to p. 71,

4.25     Kant’s “Refutation of Idealism,” p. 72 -73.                               

4.27     Kant’s Moral Philosophy

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Groundworks), Reader. pp. 74 – 75.

Begin reading the First Section, starting at “There is no possibility of thinking of anything at all in the word . . . except a good will” through  first sentence of the last paragraph on p. 75: “Reason, however is not competent . . . as regards . . . satisfaction of all our needs.”                               


5.2       Kant, Groundwork, Reader, pp. 76-77.

            Begin reading on p. 76 at the left hand column line 7 “we shall take up the concept of duty” and continue reading through p. 77 at the left hand column line 25, which ends by stating “then for the first tie his action has genuine moral worth.”


5.4       Kant, Groundwork, Reader, pp. 78 -79.

            Begin reading on p. 78 at the left hand column, where Kant states “The second proposition is this . . . .” and continue reading through p. 79 at the left hand column line 10, which concludes “that my maxim should become a universal law.”

5.9       Kant, Groundwork, Reader, pp. 82-83.

            Begin reading from p. 82 at the left hand column line 8, where Kant states “The will is thought of as a faculty of determining itself to action” through p. 82 at the right hand column, last line which ends on p. 83 at the top with the words “never simply as a means.”

5.11     Due:  Essay Exam 3


Important Due Dates (Note:  No late work is accepted.  All assignments are due by 12 in the afternoon of the date specified below.)

2.1  Early Greek History Test (click here). To be done on an 882E-scantron.  Test is based on the document Early Greek History; 2000 BC – 300 BC which is in the 26 course pack.  Put your name on the scantron and place the completed scantron in the locked drop box outside my office, Mendocino 3024. Due by 12 pm in the afternoon.

2.24  First Essay Exam by 12 pm in the afternoon.

4.11   Second Essay Exam by 12 pm in the afternoon.

      5.11   Third Essay Exam by 12 pm in the afternoon.



Course Requirements

            3 Essay Exams (the average of which equals) 85%

            Historical Knowledge Test                             15%


1.                          Each essay exam consists of two parts: an essay (roughly 3-4 pages) and 15 multiple choice questions.  Both parts of each exam are to be completed at home and then handed in.  Absolutely no email submissions.  No exceptions. 

2.                          Write your name on the first page of the essay. No cover sheets, please.  Write your name on the 882E scantron. Either place both parts of your exam in the drop box outside of my office (Mendocino 3024) or slide it under the door of my office or hand it to the Philosophy Department secretary in Mendocino 3000.   NO late exams will be accepted. NO email submissions. Use only an 882E scantron. NO EXCEPTIONS in any of these three cases.

3.                          All essays must be typed or word-processed.

4.                          Each of the three essays MUST follow the stylistic format that is specified on the essay “prompt” that states the essay question for the exam.  If you fail to follow the format for essay, you lose 15 points at the outset.  Please also note the essay question is a single question with multiple parts each of which you must explicitly answer, basing your answers exclusively on the lectures in conjunction with the reading. In other words, the questions are not to be answered primarily through your own reflection on the question and your own interpretation of the readings or on what you may have learned in previous classes. Also, your essay must display a solid grasp of standard English.  

5.                          With respect to class participation, it is expected that this course will be offered as a Distance Education course.  So students are not required to attend class sessions. For this reason no portion of the grade is assigned to class participation.  

6.                          The marking scale upon which letter grades are assigned is as follows:

A  93-100 (14)                 C         70-74 (8)        

                  A-  89-92 (13)                   C-        65-69 (7)

                              B+ 85-88 (12)                   D+       60-64 (6)

                              B   80-84 (11)                   D         55-59 (5)

                              B-  78-79 (10)                   D-        50-54 (4)

               C+ 75-77 (9)                     F          below 50% (3)


Students with Disabilities or Other Special Needs

           If you have a disability and require accommodations, you need to provide disability documentation to SSWD, Lassen Hall 1008, and (916) 278-6955. Please discuss your accommodation needs with me early in the semester.

Academic Honesty

           You must not copy another person’s work, use unacknowledged sources.  Even if you form a study group to share ideas, the work that you turn in must be your own work.  That is, your work must be written in your own words, not in phrasing agreed upon by and common to members of your study group. All incidents of cheating in any form will earn you a 0 on the assignment or an F in the course.  See the policy on academic honesty:

Area C1 Requirements

This course meets the GE area C1 requirements by (1) situating philosophy as a discipline within the context of the Humanities, (2) surveying the role of African- Semitic-European peoples in the development of the earliest culture of ancient Greece, (3) by comparing and analyzing the difference between the ancient Greek and the Christian conception of a human being with special attention to the effect of this difference on the respective culture’s attitude towards homosexuality and by (4) drawing on the development of science to help explain some of the animating ideas and values of early modern philosophy.