Introduction to Philosophy
Phil A201, section 192 Spring 2017
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.
Special Note: This page links to other pages on my web site that are an important part of the syllabus. Students should select those links to become familiar with the other elements of the syllabus. On following a link a page will state that it is part of the syllabus if it is. Other links are supplied as resources for students that are interested in taking advantage of them, but if they are not specifically noted as part of the syllabus it is up to the student to pursue them or not. The purpose of this is to simplify the main page of the syllabus while supplying supplementary information as necessary or to enrich the experience of taking the course.
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.
PHILOSOPHIC CLASSICS: PLATO TO DERRIDA
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: Thursday 6:30 P – 9:15 P Chugiak Eagle River Center 212OFFICE: Eagle River Center Room 211 by appointment. Here is my Current Schedule. Phone: 786-7649 (office) and 694-1023 (home). 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 email@example.com. All tests are take home essays that can be turned in using e-mail. 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 19: 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.
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.
Focus will be Plato and his theories of knowledge and justice.
February 2: Aristotle, his life and work. Be prepared to discuss Realism. Read over pages 143 - 184 for general familiarity.
Term paper topics due.
"Final" term paper topic and tentative bibliography due.
Term paper thesis statement and outline due.
Descartes "I think..." Be prepared to discuss pages 393 - 446. This is the start of Rationalism.
Term paper first rough draft due.
March 9: 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.
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?
Term paper second rough draft due.
March 13 - 18: Spring Break No classes
March 23: 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.
Term paper discussion groups assigned, third draft due. This draft will be shared with group.
Term paper groups present initial concerns.
March 30: 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.
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.
Term paper groups readdress concerns.
April 20: American Pragmatism, Peirce. An American Outburst. James and the psychology of pragmatism.
Dewey, and the Activity School. This lecture looks at the new teaching methods and the religion of Democracy, followed up with Wittgenstein and Language Games pages 1121 - 1149.
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 November 9, 2016. 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.