Course description, Introduction to Philosophy, Fall 2019

PHI2010 is a general introduction to philosophy. It aims to introduce you to some fields and debates in philosophy; to show you something of philosophy’s history; and to develop skills in reading, discussing, and communicating that will be useful in later philosophy classes and elsewhere.

The class will be divided into three sections. The first will look at the philosophy of religion, focusing on arguments for and against the existence of God. The second section will consider topics related to the meaning of life. We will discuss how such things as pleasure, morality, love, and work relate to the value and meaning of life as a whole. The third section will look at some relevant works from the history of philosophy – namely, some of the dialogues of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

This class meets the Humanities general education requirement. It also counts for 4000 words of the writing requirement. The main items of assessed work will be three papers, a final exam, and regular in-class clicker quizzes.

There are two required books:

  • Alter and Howell, The God Dialogues (Oxford University Press, 2010), ISBN 9780195395594 (list price $19.95); and
  • Plato, Five Dialogues, translated by Grube and Cooper (Hackett, 2002), ISBN 9780872206335 (list price $9.50).

In addition, we will use i>clicker clickers in the class. All other readings will be made available on Canvas.