PHIL 100 A: Introduction To Philosophy

Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:30am - 11:20am
Location: 
MGH 389
SLN: 
18710
Instructor:
Ian Schnee

Syllabus Description:

This course is an introduction to a variety of philosophical problems that concern persons, morality, truth, and nature.  What are persons?  Are they identical to material stuff, like brains, or immaterial stuff, like souls? Is there an objective reality, and objective realm of truths, or are reality and truth dependent on the subject (such as on the subject’s perspective or conceptual scheme)?  Can we ever have knowledge of reality?  Are there limits on human knowledge? Is science the fundamental authority on the nature of reality?  What is the nature of morality?  Are ethical norms objective or are they relative to one's society or culture?  If moral truths cannot be reduced to the subject matter of the hard sciences, does that mean that they aren’t real?  We will examine both historical and contemporary readings, including Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, Elisabeth Anscombe, Charles Mills and Philippa Foot. 

Additional Details:

This course is an introduction to a variety of philosophical problems that concern persons, morality, truth, and nature.  What are persons?  Are they identical to material stuff, like brains, or immaterial stuff, like souls? Is there an objective reality, and objective realm of truths, or are reality and truth dependent on the subject (such as on the subjectʼs perspective or conceptual scheme)?  Can we ever have knowledge of reality?  Are there limits on human knowledge? Is science the fundamental authority on the nature of reality?  What is the nature of morality?  Are ethical norms objective or are they relative to one's society or culture?  If moral truths cannot be reduced to the subject matter of the hard sciences, does that mean that they arenʼt real?  We will examine both historical and contemporary readings, including Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Foot and Mackie.

TEXT: No Textbook Required (online readings on Canvas).

Catalog Description: 
Major philosophical questions relating to such matters as the existence of God, the foundations of knowledge, the nature of reality, and the nature of morality. Approach may be either historical or topical. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Credits: 
5
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:16pm