Theology 192 - Epperson
course home file downloads lectures syllabus discussions
CSUS
FALL 2009

Philosophy 6:
Introduction to Philosophy


Syllabus

Michael Epperson
Office: Mendocino Hall #3032
278-4535


Marc Chagall, Concert
Skip side navigation pane


Mendocino Hall

 




End of skip side navigation pane

 

 

 


D. Kolak & R. Martin
The Experience of Philosophy



Jostein Gaarder
Sophie's World

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plato
Plato

 

Aristotle
Aristotle

 

Epicurus
Epicurus

 

Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas

 

Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

 

Hume
David Hume

 

Kant
Immanuel Kant

Skip solutions
time & place

Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00 - 1:15
ARC, Room 1007
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:45 - 3:30

End of skip home & home office solutions
description

Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge, World and Self

CSUS Catalog Description: Representative selection of philosophical problems will be explored in areas such as knowledge, reality, religion, science, politics, art and morals. Units: 3.0. General Education Area C3: Introduction to the Humanities and C1: World Civilizations.

Description for my section: If you are tempted to divide your college courses into those that are ‘useful’ and those that are ‘useless,’ beware! If you believe that the useful courses are only those that describe how the world works (including how you work)—economics, chemistry, marketing, biology, business, engineering—consider this: Thinking about why the world is the way it is could be a big advantage in understanding how the world works the way it does. Some might even say that describing how without exploring why is no real knowledge at all—or even more severely, in the words of Socrates, that “…an unexamined life is not worth living.”

In this course, we will examine some of the why questions that lie at the very heart of all the useful courses: What does it all matter? Is it all matter? Is mind matter? If it’s all matter, including me, why am I free and conscious and a computer isn’t? Could one ever be? What kind of being am I? Am I a body, or do I have a body? What does it mean to know something correctly? How do we know a ‘fact of knowledge’ is really knowledge of a fact? Does reason have rules? What is the good life? Can there be good without evil? Would the useful courses even exist today without the useless ones taught ages and ages ago?

End of skip business solutions
requirements

Our work will primarily be lecture and discussion, so both careful attention to the readings and class participation will be crucial for a lively course. Please bring your text to class.

There will be two examinations--one take-home mid-term paper and one in-class final--as well as several unannounced short answer quizzes on the readings. All written work must comply with Philosophy Department guidelines, which can be found here. The departmental grading policy for written work can be found here.

texts and materials
Skip channel partners

D. Kolak & R. Martin, The Experience of Philosophy (6th Ed.) Oxford University Press (2006): ISBN: 9780195177688

J. Gaarder, Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy. Berkley (1996): ISBN: 0425152251

CPS RF Response Pads (a.k.a. 'Clickers'). Purchased through the Hornet Bookstore, the current price is approximately $21.00 plus tax. In addition to purchasing the clicker (which you own outright and can sell back to the Bookstore as a used “book”), you must also pay a per semester (not per course) registration fee of $13 per semester. This is done via an online registration website, www.einstruction.com. eInstruction has established a program that for the lifetime of ownership (even in incremental semesters), the student will never pay more than $35 in licensing registration. Thus the total cost of lifetime ownership and registration of the eInstruction CPS clicker is approximately $58/student. CPS clickers are also available at highly discounted prices ($15-20) at Amazon.com and elsewhere on the web. (Click here for the Amazon page.)

After the 2nd week of classes you will be given a 5 question multiple-choice quiz on almost a daily basis. The quizzes pertain to the reading and lecture material. Quiz questions are administered throughout the class period and you will answer them using CPS response pads.

CPS CLASS KEY: N55413E518

Click here for more information and instructions on registering your CPS pad.

grading
Skip channel partners
Class participation: 15%

(2 unexcused absences results in 0%)

Quizzes: 25% (These are written pop quizzes on the reading assignments)
Mid-term exam: 25% (4-6 page take-home exam/paper)
Final exam: 35% (In-class final exam)
   
  Furlough Disclaimer: Due to the massive budget cuts in the State of California, faculty have been furloughed for 2 days per month. Some of these days may be instructional days, and, as the CSU administration and the faculty labor union said, “cuts of this magnitude will naturally have consequences for the quality of education.” Some of these furlough days, listed below, will be taken when class would normally have met. Alternative assignments may be given to make up for the lost classes.
   
  Academic Standards: All sources in papers must be cited and given appropriate credit. The author of any information from the Internet must be given credit; using such information without indicating the
source constitutes plagiarism, as it would with print publications. Students are allowed to discuss lectures and even assignments with each other, but they must do their own work. Students are required to read the University policy on academic honesty, which can be found here.
   
  Students with Disabilities: If you have a documented disability and require accommodation or assistance with assignments, tests, attendance, note taking, etc., please see the instructor during the first week of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made to ensure your full participation in class. Also, you are encouraged to contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (Lassen Hall) for additional information regarding services that might be available to you.


lecture schedule
Skip channel partners

Week 1
9/01

General introduction and background
Questions about knowledge (epistemology)
Plato’s "Simile of the Line" and "Allegory of the Cave," EP, 208-211

Week 2
9/08

Epistemology (continued): Readings from Plato's "Theaetetus," EP, 211-223

Week 3
9/15

Scientific vs. ‘Philosophical’ knowledge: Hume, on Empiricism and Skepticism, EP, 356-360; Kant on Knowledge from Reason and Experience, EP, 422-433.

Week 4
9/22

“Natural philosophy” and philosophy as “natural”
Sophie’s World, 1-71; Daniel Kolak: “Quantum Cosmology, the Anthropic Principle, and Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?”  EP, 372-395

Week 5
10/01

NO CLASS ON TUESDAY 9/29 (FURLOUGH DAY)

Deduction of nature and induction from nature; Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenic Philosophy
Sophie’s World, 72-148; Derek Parfit, “The Puzzle of Reality: Why Does the Universe Exist?” EP, 396-404

Week 6
10/06

First principles and other necessary presuppositions: Matters of Belief (‘faith’?) in philosophy and science
The Ontological Argument: Anselm and Gaunilo, EP, 262-265; Aquinas’ Five Proofs for God’s Existence, EP, 265-268; Sophie’s World, 149-187

Week 7
10/13

Fides et Ratio (faith and reason)--Philosophy, Theology, and Science (continued): Aquinas, "The Five Ways and the Doctrine of Analogy," EP 265-267; Pascal, "The Wager," EP 268-270; Sophie’s World, 188-215

 

Week 8
10/20

NO CLASS THURSDAY 10/22 (FURLOUGH DAY)

The Metaphysical Implications of Good and Evil:
Hume, "God and Evil," EP 283-289; "Must God Create The Best?" EP 290-297; Sophie’s World, 216-256

MIDTERM EXAM DISTRIBUTED TUESDAY 10/20

Week 9
10/27

The Fact of Experience and The Experience of Fact: How do we know what’s real, including us?: Hobbes on sense and imagination, EP, 406-409; Locke on experience and understanding, EP, 409-419; Hume on the senses, EP, 419-422; Sophie’s World, 257-286

MIDTERM EXAM COLLECTED TUESDAY 10/27

   

Week 10
11/03

Sophie’s World, 287-321

Week 11
11/10

Sophie’s World, 322-341

Week 12
11/17 

Sophie’s World, 342-403

Week 13
11/24

NO CLASS TUESDAY 11/24 (FURLOUGH DAY)

NO CLASS THURSDAY 11/26 (THANKSGIVING DAY)

Week 14
12/01

The Question of Free Will and Determinism:
Augustine, "Freedom of the Will," EP 148-151; Richard Taylor, "Freedom and Determinism," EP 183-193; Sophie's World, 404-446

Week 15
12/08

Then what is it all and what are we all?  What is the point of it and of us? Perhaps one clue is that we can even ask these questions…  Sophie’s World, 447-513 (the end.)

FINAL EXAM DISTRIBUTED

   
12/15 FINAL EXAM DUE IN MENDOCINO HALL 3000 BY 3 PM

Additional Information

Satisfies Area C1: World Civilizations

Learning Objectives:

  • Investigate major philosophical problems by a careful study of some good, representative philosophical texts.
  • Encourage you to question and examine your own presuppositions and deep-rooted prejudices.
  • To defend your own  position on a philosophical issue by careful argument.

Satisfies Area C3: Intro to the Humanities

Learning Objectives:

  • Develops a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage in the humanities.
  • Focuses on ideas and values of various cultures and traditions as expressed in their philosophies.
SOLUTIONS_LINK