PHIL 102: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY: KNOWLEDGE &REALITYFall 2018section 02, schedule #: 22802MW 4:00–5:15 pm (1600–1715) in HH 214Dr. Robert FrancescottiOffice 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 DESCRIPTIONThis course satisfies the Philosophy & Religious Studiessection of theHumanitiesrequirement of the Foundations of Learningcomponent ofthe General Educationrequirements.Details about my section of Phil 102:You will learn about the philosophical method by exploring some mainareas of philosophical interest. The first issue we will discuss is whetherGodexists. We will consider a few arguments designed to show that Godexists 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 ofargumentation(an essential tool of the philosophical method).Then we will investigate the Free Willdebate. Science has shown thatmuch of our behavior is the result of factors beyond our control. Theenvironment in which we were raised obviously greatly affects our behavior.Non-conscious mental activity and genetic factors are also thought to play amajor role. Of course, the state of one’s brain is clearly a primary influenceon one’s action. However, if our actions are the result of factors such asthese, which seem to be to some degree out of our control, then in whatsense can we be considered “free”? And if we do not perform an action in atruly free manner, then can we be held responsiblefor that action?? Howso?Many people believe that in addition to the body, there is someimmaterialaspect 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 thanphysical processes of our bodies? Are we anything more than our physical
2bodies?? A closely related question is: In what does your identity as aperson consist? What makes you the person you are, and what is it thatmakes an individual the same personover time?We will consider what various influential thinkers have said regardingthese deep questions, and then we will try to decide for ourselves how thequestions should be answered. Whether or not we reach any definiteconclusions, we will still accomplish the main goal of the course, which is todevelop the basic logical and conceptual skills needed to effectively thinkthrough philosophical issues on one’s own. So in addition to learningspecific facts about particular philosophers and their theories/arguments,you will also learn how to dophilosophy. Moreover, the analytical skills youwill develop are those that prove beneficial to clear thinking and goodreasoning about all facets of life.
3GENERAL EDUCATION “ESSENTIAL CAPACITIES” andGOALSPhilosophy 102 is a General Education (GE) course. The seven “essentialcapacities” (listed on p. 93 of the 2018-19 General Catalog