WVC Philosophy 1

Introduction to Philosophy

Title and Number of Course
Philosophy 1, Introduction to Philosophy, 3 units

Catalog Description
This course is an introduction to philosophical problems and the various approaches to their solutions. The student will be exposed to selected systems, mainly of Western philosophy, with emphasis on how these systems are relevant to solving the problems of contemporary existence. The course will explore answers to such questions as: What is reality? What, if anything, is the nature of man? Are human acts free or determined? What, if anything, makes an act right or wrong?

Recommend eligibility for English 1A

No department requirement, but suggest texts that use primary source reading whenever possible.

Course Objectives

  1. Students should be able to identify, classify, and justify various traditional philosophical views, and demonstrate the relevance of these views to real-life problems.

  2. Students should be able to relate their own thinking to the philosophical traditions of which their thinking is a part.

  3. Students should be able to define and defend their own philosophical stances.

  4. Students should acquire problem-solving skills, especially the analysis of arguments.

Course Content

I. What is philosophy?			1 week	Branches of philosophy	Analytic vs speculative philosophy	Western vs non-Western philosophy: 	    broad comparisonsII. LOGIC				2 weeks	What does it mean to say a conclusion "follows"?	Common mistakes in reasoningIII. METAPHYSICS			4 weeks	What is real?	Materialism vs Idealism vs Dualism, etc. and 	    representative thinkers 	    (Western and non-Western)	Freedom and determinism 	    (teleology and mechanism)	The mind-body problem	Is metaphysics nonsense? 	    Logical positivism, Buddhism	IV. EPISTEMOLOGY			4 weeks	What is knowledge? How is it different 	    from opinion, faith, etc.? 	Rationalist vs empiricist styles and 	    thinkers (Western and non-Western)		Mysticism, moral, and aesthetic knowledgeV. PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION		3 weeks	Standard arguments for the existence of God: 	    the ontological argument, 	    cosmological arguments, 	    teleological argument	The problem of evil	Are religious assertions nonsense? 	    Logical positivism, BuddhismVI. ETHICS				3 weeks	Descriptive, normative, meta-ethics	The challenge of determinism. Are persons more 	    valuable than things? than animals? 	    Compare Native American views 	The challenge of relativism	The challenge  psychological egoism	Consequentialist vs deontological ethical systems.	    Representatives of each, e.g., utilitarianism 	    (compare Mo-Tsu) vs Kant	Are ethical statements just matters of opinion 	    or personal taste?

This outline represents a "problems" approach. A historical approach is also acceptable.

General Requirements
Completion of required reading and final exam. Other requirements are determined by instructor; these may include completion of one or more papers, other written exams, journal assignments, participation in class discussion, class attendance, etc.

In accordance with Title V regulations, there must be at least one substantial (greater than one paragraph) writing assignment. Generally, evaluation is based primarily on written papers and essay examinations.

Suggested Instructional Methods and Materials
Primarily lecture and discussion. This can be supplemented by films, videos, oral reports, guest speakers, class debates, etc., as deemed appropriate and desirable by the individual instructor. It is suggested that readings include primary source material. Multicultural topics should be introduced where appropriate. |||


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