Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 1301)

Instructor:

This course is a study of the major issues in philosophy and/or the work of major philosophical figures in philosophy. Topics in philosophy may include theories of reality, theories of knowledge, theories of value, and their practical applications (Texas ACGM). It provides a theoretically diverse introduction to the study of ideas, including arguments and investigations about abstract and real phenomena, particularly in the areas of knowledge, ethics, and religion (HCC Course Catalogue). This course stresses the HCC Core Objectives of Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Personal Responsibility, and Social Responsibility.

Course Description:

 

This course is a study of the major issues in philosophy and/or the work of major philosophical figures in philosophy. Topics in philosophy may include theories of reality, theories of knowledge, theories of value, and their practical applications (Texas ACGM). It provides a theoretically diverse introduction to the study of ideas, including arguments and investigations about abstract and real phenomena, particularly in the areas of knowledge, ethics, and religion (HCC Course Catalogue). This course stresses the HCC Core Objectives of Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Personal Responsibility, and Social Responsibility.

 

PREREQUISITE(S):

  • ENGL 1301 or higher

 

 

HCC CORE CURRICULUM:

This course satisfies the Philosophy, Language, and Culture component area or the Component Area Option in the HCC Core Curriculum. If you are not sure that you need this course to graduate, please consult with your advisor.

 

Course Goals:

 

This course, as the name suggests, is an introduction to philosophy. Philosophy is perhaps best seen as a conversation or discourse about certain kinds of questions. Often the conversation focuses on just what the questions are. But equally often it focuses on the best ways to answer the questions (in some sense of ‘best’). Doing philosophy thus requires both being able to recognize and formulate the right questions and being able to recognize and formulate answers to these questions. Importantly, both of these abilities requires the further ability to defend, through reasons and evidence, the philosophical importance of the questions as well as the adequacy of the answers.

 

Philosophical questions tend to fall under one of four broad categories: Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and logic. With this in mind, we will be tracing the history of philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to the present day, placing special emphasis on certain categories during certain eras. More specifically, we will be exploring metaphysics through the Ancient period, epistemology through the Modern period, ethics through the 19th Century, and logic through the 20th Century.

 

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

 

  1. Read, analyze, and critique philosophical texts.

 

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts, major arguments, problems, and terminology in philosophy.

 

  1. Present logically persuasive arguments both orally and in writing.

 

  1. Demonstrate critical thinking skills in evaluation and application of philosophical concepts to various aspects of life.

 

  1. Evaluate the personal and social responsibilities of living in a diverse world.

 

 

Learning Objectives:

 

  1. Examine the works of a number of philosophers, in chronological order, and try to come to grips with their views.

 

  1. Situate each philosopher in the broader cultural and philosophical context.

 

  1. Learn what good philosophical arguments and views look like and why they are important to everyday life.

 

  1. Thus, students should walk away with an understanding of what philosophy is and also an understanding of why philosophical study is important.

 

 

Notice About Online Learning Management Software:

 

This course will be utilizing Eagle Online 2. The Eagle Online login page is:

 

https://eo2.hccs.edu/login/index.php 

 

Your Eagle Online username is the same as your HCC Eagle ID (or User ID) which is used for Online Registration (for example: W0034567). Your password is the same password you use to log in to PeopleSoft, HCC Webmail, and Active Directory (computer terminal login). For any questions about your Eagle ID or password, please go check online here.

 

IMPORTANT: Eagle Online works best with the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. Download it free, here. (Please check your Operating System to see if you have Firefox in your applications.)

 

Grading Scale:

 

A =  90-100%  ;  B =  80-89%  ;  C = 70-79%  ;  D =  60-69%  ;  F  ≤ 59%  

 

 

Grading Components and Weights:

 

  1. Attendance and Participation (worth 10% of course grade)

 

Attendance will be taken during each class. You are expected to come to class having read the assigned material, ready to discuss and ask relevant questions.

 

  1. Journals (worth 20% of course grade)

 

On the first class day each week students will turn in a “journal entry.” Each entry should be an attempt to somehow relate the material from the previous week to one’s own life experiences, the experiences of others, or to a broader cultural context. Students can select any part or aspect of the previous week’s material. Each entry is to be 150–250 words. Entries will be graded as Good (=100%), Acceptable (=75%), or Not Acceptable (=50%). No entries due weeks when papers are due or exam occurs. 

 

  1. Papers (worth 40% of course grade)

 

There will be a total of 2 assigned papers. Each is worth 20% of your grade. Papers must be 900-1200 words. Formatting: 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margins. Paper topics will be distributed ~3 weeks prior to the due date. 

 

  1. Exams (worth 30% of course grade)

 

There will be 2 exams: a midterm exam and a final exam. Each is worth 15% of your course grade. Each exam will cover the material from one-half of the course. The midterm will cover only the first half, and the final will cover only the second half.

 

  1. Bonus Quizzes (worth an extra 1% each, added to course grade)

 

There will be 2-5 surprise quizzes. Quizzes will be treated as extra credit, with each having the potential to raise your base grade by 1%. Quizzes will be graded Pass/Fail.

 

 

Adopted Texts:

 

Plato. Five Dialogues. Trans. and ed. by G.M. Grube. 2002. ISBN 978-0-87220-633-5

 

Descartes, Rene. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. 1999. ISBN: 0-87220-420-0

 

Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. 1993. ISBN: 0-87220-229-1

 

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. 1984. ISBN 0806509023

 

Additional required texts will be posted online

 

 

Course Calendar (subject to change):

 

Class Week

Topics

Readings

Papers and Exams

1st week

What is Philosophy?; Ancient Philosophy: Plato I

Feb. 13:  ‘What is Philosophy and How Do We Do It?’ (Online) and ‘Sophism’ (Online)

Feb. 15:  Plato, Five Dialogues, ‘Euthyphro’, pp. 2-11

None

2nd week

Ancient Philosophy:

Plato II

Feb. 20:  Plato, Five Dialogues, ‘Euthyphro’, pp. 12-20

Feb. 22:  Plato, Five Dialogues, ‘Phaedo’, pp. 94-109

Journal Entry #1; 1st paper topics

3rd week

Ancient Philosophy:

Plato III

Feb. 27:  Plato, Five Dialogues, ‘Phaedo’, pp. 110-119

Mar. 1:  NO CLASS; watch video on Aristotle:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thbq7742-TE

Journal Entry #2

4th week

Ancient Philosophy and Medeival Philosophy: Aristotle; Anselm

Mar. 6:  Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book Zeta (VII), chs. 13-17, pp. 21-29 (Online)

Mar. 8:  Anselm, Proslogion, chs. 1-5 (Online)

Journal Entry #3

5th week

Modern Philosophy:

Descartes

Mar. 20:  Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditations 1-2, pp. 59-69

Mar. 22:  Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditation 3, pp. 69-81

1ST PAPER DUE MAR. 20

6th week

Modern Philosophy:

Hume I

Mar. 27:  MIDTERM EXAM

Mar. 29:  Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, chs. 2-3, pp. 14-27

MIDTERM EXAM

7th week

Modern Philosophy:

Hume II and Kant I

Apr. 3:  Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, chs. 4, pp. 28-40

Apr. 5:  Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, ‘Preamble’ and ‘General Problem’, pp. 7-16 (Online)

Journal Entry #4; 2nd paper topics

8th week

Modern Philosophy and Existentialism:

Kant II and Kierkegaard

Apr. 10:  Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, ‘Determining the Boundaries of Pure Reason’ and ‘ Solution of the General Question’, pp. 61-75 (Online)

Apr. 12:  Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postcript, pp. 159-171 (Online)

Journal Entry #5

9th week

Existentialism:

Nietzsche

Apr. 17:  Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, ch. 1, pp. 5-24 (Online)   

Apr. 19:  Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, ch. 2, pp. 25-42 (Online)   

Journal Entry #6

10th week

Existentialism:

Sartre

Apr. 24:  Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions, ‘Existentialism’, pp. 9-29

Apr. 26:   Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions, ‘Existentialism’, pp. 30-51

2ND PAPER DUE APR. 24

11th week

Analytic Philosophy:

Ayer and the Vienna Circle  

May 1:  Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic, ch. 1, pp. 4-14 (Online)

May 3:  Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic, ch. 2, pp. 15-26 (Online)

Journal Entry #7

12th week/finals week

Final Exam

See the HCC Final Exam Schedule for exam date and time: http://www.hccs.edu/district/events-calendar/academic-calendar/final-exam-schedule/

FINAL EXAM

Late policy:

 

Assignments turned in late will receive a 3% reduction in earned grade for each class day that passes starting from the class day the assignment was due. So if the assignment due on Tuesday, February 1st, for example, is turned in by the time of the class on February 3rd, then it will receive a 3% reduction in earned grade. But if it is turned in after the 3rd, but by the 8th, it will receive a 6% reduction. And so on for each class day that passes. Assignments more than 3 weeks late will not be accepted. Exceptions to this policy may be made in certain cases, such as emergencies.

 

 

Academic Honesty:

 

My policy here is the College’s policy:

 

Students are responsible for conducting themselves with honor and integrity in fulfilling course requirements. Penalties and/or disciplinary proceedings may be initiated by college district officials against a student accused of scholastic dishonesty. “Scholastic Dishonesty” includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism and collusion. Possible punishments for academic dishonesty may include a grade of “0” or “F” on the particular assignment, failure in the course, and/or recommendation for probation or dismissal from the college district. A recommendation for suspension or expulsion will be referred to the college Dean of Instruction for disciplinary disposition. Students have the right to appeal the decision. –Student Handbook

 

If you are unsure about what constitutes a violation of academic integrity, please see me. Any violation of academic integrity standards may result in a grade of ‘F’ for the course and a referral to Academic Affairs, so please be very careful about this.

 

 

Make-up Policy:

 

Permission to make up exams may only be given in cases of documented emergencies and even then will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

Attendance and Withdrawal Policy:

 

HCC Students are expected to attend class regularly. A daily record of absences will be maintained throughout the semester. NOTE: It is the responsibility of the student to drop, or officially withdraw from this course. Your instructor will withdraw a student if and only if provided a written request from that student. System-wide rules affect withdrawals:

 

  • Students who repeat a course for a third, or more times, may face a significant tuition/fee increase at HCC and other Texas public colleges and universities.

 

  • The Texas Legislature passed a law limiting new students (those starting college in Fall 2007) to no more than six total course withdrawals throughout their academic career in obtaining a baccalaureate degree. There may be future penalties imposed.

 

  • No student may withdraw from a course following the set "last date to withdraw" (see HCCS’s academic calendar for dates). After that date and time, a student can only be given a grade earned, or an "I" for incomplete. Incompletes must be made up by the end of the following long semester, after which they will automatically change to a grade of "F". Students receiving an “I” for a course are ineligible for graduation until the “I’ has been removed from a student’s transcript.

 

 

Students with Disabilities

 

Houston Community College is dedicated to providing an inclusive learning environment by removing barriers and opening access for qualified students with documented disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Ability Services is the designated office responsible for approving and coordinating reasonable accommodations and services in order to assist students with disabilities in reaching their full academic potential. In order to receive reasonable accommodations or evacuation assistance in an emergency, the student must be registered with Ability Services.

 

If you have a documented disability (e.g. learning, hearing, vision, physical, mental health, or a chronic health condition), that may require accommodations, please contact the appropriate Ability Services Office below. Please note that classroom accommodations cannot be provided prior to your Instructor’s receipt of an accommodation letter and accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations can be requested at any time during the semester, however if an accommodation letter is provided to the Instructor after the first day of class, sufficient time (1 week) must be allotted for the Instructor to implement the accommodations.

 

Ability Service Contact Information

 

Northwest College

713-718-5422

713-718-5408

Adaptive Equipment/Assistive Technology

713-718-6629 

713-718-5604 

Interpreting and CART services

713-718-6333


EGLS3 – Evaluation for Greater Learning Student Survey System:

 

At Houston Community College, professors believe that thoughtful student feedback is necessary to improve teaching and learning. During a designated time near the end of the term, you will be asked to answer a short online survey of research-based questions related to instruction. The anonymous results of the survey will be made available to your professors and department chairs for continual improvement of instruction. Look for the survey as part of the Houston Community College Student System online near the end of the term.