Introduction to Philosophy
Spring Term, 2008
Syllabus for Philosophy 1321
Introduction to Philosophy: The Love of Wisdom
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold. --Proverbs 3:13-14
This course will introduce you to the discipline of philosophy, understood essentially as the loving
pursuit of wisdom.
We will undertake this pursuit of wisdom together: reading texts by the greatest thinkers in the
Western tradition (Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, and Kierkegaard), discovering what big
questions they found important, and contemplating their answers. Philosophers are concerned with
universal and timeless questions such as: What is really true? How do we know what we know? What
does it mean to be a good and virtuous human being? How do we become good? Why should we be good
at all? What is happiness, and how do we find it? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Is
there a God, and if so, how do we come to know this God?
We will focus on asking what it means to
and to live a life in pursuit of it. I also hope
that you will learn what it means to “do philosophy,” why it is important, and how to approach these big
questions with a humble, honest, and careful mind and heart.
I want this course to be a delightful and enriching experience for you. I am convinced that philosophy
is an absolutely essential part of human life. We are all thinkers, and in this sense, we are also all
philosophers. But, the question is whether we do it well or badly. Doing philosophy
is not easy, and
this course will indeed be a challenge. But, if you take this challenge seriously and engage these thinkers
and questions sincerely, this can be one of the most exciting courses of your college experience.
Professor: Christi Hemati
Days and Time: MWF 11-11:50am
Office: Morrison 109 (hours - MWF 10-11pm)
I am happy to discuss questions, texts, tests, papers, and grades any time during my office
hours, and if you need to meet with me at another time, please e-mail me and we can try
to set up an appointment.