Introduction to Philosophy
Phil A201, section 003 - Spring 2004
THEME: Introduces works of influential thinkers, both ancient and modern, in the Western philosophical tradition. Emphasizes central problems of knowledge, reality, and good and evil.
Students completing this course should be able to identify, comprehend, analyze, and evaluate complex philosophical arguments in oral and written discourse. They should also be able to understand, analayze, interpret, and apply major works in the areas of the History of Philosophy, Ethics, and contemporary topics.
TEXTS: Philosophic Classics: From Plato to Derrida, Forrest Baird and Walter Kaufmann.
Course grades are based on:
Exams - 50% - nine essays showing an understanding of the materials covered in class and the assigned readings in response to questions, each with a minimum of 300 words,
25% of the grade will be based on a term project.
Response to quiz questions posed in each lecture -25%.
CLASS: Hours: TR 2:30P – 3:45P Room Admin 176
OFFICE: See my Current Schedule.
Phone: 694-1023 (home), Philosophy Department Secretary 786-4455. The best way to get a message to me is via e-mail. Please feel free to call my home phone. My web page is located at http://wsjamison.uaa.alaska.edu and my e-mail address is wsjamison@UAA.ALASKA.EDU. All tests are take home essays that can be turned in using e-mail or IBM floppy. This syllabus on my web site has links to other sources for many of the texts for the philosophers we will discuss. Some of the links include wonderful web pages on the various philosophers.
January 13: This lecture includes an introduction to the course and description of course requirements. We will discuss: the purpose of doing philosophy, the course readings as an "all you can eat buffet", and what the tests and quizzes will be like. Society in prehistory, mythology, water and civilization. The first philosophers, Thales and water. This Thales link is to Hegel's description of the Ionic Philosophers. Please note that you can earn 10 points extra credit by taking the pre-test/ post-test to help evaluate this course. The pre-test is posted on Blackboard.
January 15: Be prepared to discuss the Apology pages 21-37. Try comparing the text with my version: what was Socrates' message to us? A major part of this topic will be Socrates, his life and mission. To read about Alcibiades check Plutarch. His relationship with Socrates is very interesting.
January 22: Focus will be Plato and his theories of knowledge and justice.
February 19: Descartes "I think..." Be prepared to discuss pages 393 - 446. This is the start of Rationalism.
March 2: Locke, Democracy - Jefferson. Be prepared to discuss pages 552 - 608. Tabula Raza, primary and secondary qualities will be the first focus for this lecture. Second exam given Second exam. Take this link to exam two.
March 4: Second exam due This lecture will focus on Leibniz - Monadology "Best of all possible worlds." Be prepared to discuss pages 609 – 648. You may also be interested in Anne Conway and the ideas she gave to Leibniz. Leibniz and Stephen Hawking - What's a Quark?
March 9: Berkeley - Idealism This lecture topic is Bishop Berkeley's arguments against the concept of material substance. To be is to be perceived - if a tree falls... All in the mind of God. Be prepared to discuss pages 649 - 710.
March 16: Kant - This lecture looks at Kant's answer to Hume concerning the a priori. Can Rationalism and Empiricism be partners? Duty and the categorical imperative. Be prepared to discuss pages 803 - 921.
March 18: Hegel - This lecture discusses Hegel's view of the World Spirit and Self-consciousness - We are as we see others see us. The dialectic and spirit - Absolute Spirit. Be prepared to discuss pages 929 - 942.
March 21-28: Spring Break No classes
April 29: Third exam due. Class meets at 02:30P regular time and ends at the regular time. We will discuss the postmodern dilemma. Remember also to take the post-test to help evaluate the course on Blackboard.
This syllabus may be adjusted at any time to meet the class or instructor’s requirements upon one week’s notice to students.
This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated August 14, 2012. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.