PHIL102, syllabus.docx - PHIL 102 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY...

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PHIL 102: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY: KNOWLEDGE & REALITY Fall 2018 section 02, schedule #: 22802 MW 4:00–5:15 pm (1600–1715) in HH 214 Dr. Robert Francescotti Office hours (Arts & Letters, 438): Monday 5:45–7:00 pm, Thursday 2:00– 4:30 pm. Office phone & e-mail: 619-594-6585, [email protected] COURSE DESCRIPTION This course satisfies the Philosophy & Religious Studies section of the Humanities requirement of the Foundations of Learning component of the General Education requirements. Details about my section of Phil 102: You will learn about the philosophical method by exploring some main areas of philosophical interest. The first issue we will discuss is whether God exists. We will consider a few arguments designed to show that God exists along with an argument that aims to show that God does not exist. This first section of the course is a good introduction to the structure of argumentation (an essential tool of the philosophical method). Then we will investigate the Free Will debate. Science has shown that much of our behavior is the result of factors beyond our control. The environment in which we were raised obviously greatly affects our behavior. Non-conscious mental activity and genetic factors are also thought to play a major role. Of course, the state of one’s brain is clearly a primary influence on one’s action. However, if our actions are the result of factors such as these, which seem to be to some degree out of our control, then in what sense can we be considered “free”? And if we do not perform an action in a truly free manner, then can we be held responsible for that action?? How so? Many people believe that in addition to the body, there is some immaterial aspect to our being. We might call this the “soul”—or perhaps “spirit,” “psyche,” or simply, “the mind.” Is the mind really immaterial? Might it be that our thoughts, beliefs, and desires are nothing more than physical processes of our bodies? Are we anything more than our physical
2 bodies?? A closely related question is: In what does your identity as a person consist? What makes you the person you are, and what is it that makes an individual the same perso n over time? We will consider what various influential thinkers have said regarding these deep questions, and then we will try to decide for ourselves how the questions should be answered. Whether or not we reach any definite conclusions, we will still accomplish the main goal of the course, which is to develop the basic logical and conceptual skills needed to effectively think through philosophical issues on one’s own. So in addition to learning specific facts about particular philosophers and their theories/arguments, you will also learn how to do philosophy. Moreover, the analytical skills you will develop are those that prove beneficial to clear thinking and good reasoning about all facets of life.
3 GENERAL EDUCATION “ESSENTIAL CAPACITIES” and GOALS Philosophy 102 is a General Education (GE) course. The seven “ essential capacities ” (listed on p. 93 of the 2018-19 General Catalog

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