Introduction to Philosophy
Phil A201, section 491
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.
See this image
Philosophic Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition) (Philosophic Classics (Pearson)) Paperback – January 13, 2010
by Forrest E. Baird (Author)
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 questions posed in each lecture are 25% of the grade.
CLASS: Hours: Wednesday 6:00 P - 10:00 P Location Eagle River Center 228.
OFFICE: See News. UAA Eagle River Center 238C.
Phone: 786-4458 or 786-7649 (office) 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 wsjamison@UAA.ALASKA.EDU. All tests are 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.
1: 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.
3. Society in prehistory, mythology, water and civilization.
4. The first philosophers, Thales and water.
1. Be prepared to discuss the Apology pages 21-38. 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.
2. The Meno pages 60 - 84.
3. Plato's Republic -- highlights from pages 84 - 141. The topic of this lecture will be Plato and Idealism.
4. Focus will be Plato and his theories of knowledge and justice.
1 and 2. Aristotle, his life and work. Be prepared to discuss Realism. Read over pages 151 - 183 for general familiarity.
June 17: First exam is due.
1. Augustine and Church dogma.
4. Thomas Aquinas and the dogmatic solution. Be prepared to discuss pages 333 - 366.
1. Descartes "I think..." Be prepared to discuss pages 381 - 430. This is the start of Rationalism.
1. This lecture will focus on Leibniz - Monadology "Best of all possible worlds." Be prepared to discuss pages 591 – 593 and 622 - 631. You may also be interested in Anne Conway and the ideas she gave to Leibniz.
2. Leibniz and Stephen Hawking - What's a Quark?
3. 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 632 - 659.
July 8: No class
1 and 2. 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 774 - 817.
3 and 4. 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.
3. Sartre and "No Exit." Be prepared to discuss pages 1131 - 1134.
3. James and the psychology of pragmatism.
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 5, 2014. 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.