Fall 2011 Schedule of Courses

PHILOSOPHY 101: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

TUESDAY, THURSDAY
SECTION 2, 11:00 - 12:15 P.M.

PROFESSOR TOMIS KAPITAN

REQUIRED TEXTS
Plato, Five Dialogues, (Hackett)
H. D. Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, (Dover)
Timothy Robinson (ed.), God, (Hackett)
Clifford Williams, Free Will and Determinism, (Hackett)
Simon Blackburn, Think

COURSE CONTENT
This course is a general introduction to some of the central questions, methods, and theories of philosophy. We begin by examining a few of Plato’s dialogues that deal with some crucial aspects of critical philosophical thinking, notably, Plato’s emphasis upon the clarification of concepts and the importance of asking for causes, and his discussions of wisdom, honor, virtue, death and obedience to law. Readings of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. will also be used in conjunction with these topics. From there we will examine central questions that arise in thinking philosophically about religion and morality, notably, the existence of a supreme being, the problem of evil, and the extent to which humans are free and responsible for their own actions. Considerations about the sources of knowledge and the nature of reasoning will also be taken up. This course is not designed to change opinions or to inculcate belief in a certain set of doctrines. Its aim is to inform students of basic philosophical issues and concepts, and of how to think critically about certain perennial questions that concern us as human beings. The student should emerge from this course with a firm sense of the distinctive concerns and methods of philosophy, as well as a solid acquaintance with some fundamental problems and proposals that have characterized philosophical thought.

COURSE FORMAT
TBA