Fall 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Being an introduction, this course will chiefly consider what philosophy is at its foundationâ€”What is philosophy? and What does it mean to philosophize? We will find that these seemingly simple questions resist easy answers, as there have been many ways and reasons for practicing philosophy over the past two and a half millennia. Yet, hopefully, we will discover that these questionsâ€”as well as the fundamental and various questions philosophy asks about all areas of human lifeâ€”are today more pressing than ever before. Toward these ends, we will read and discuss some of philosophyâ€™s most influential texts, works that have helped influence and challenge Western thought. These readings, along with our in-class discussions and lectures, will additionally teach us different methods or â€œstylesâ€ of doing philosophy (Rationalism, Idealism, Existentialism, Phenomenology, etc.), as well as some of the different disciplines, realms, or â€œbranchesâ€ of philosophy (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Technology etc.). Moreover, by reading and interpreting these works on our own timeâ€”and then discussing them together in classâ€”we will develop critical reading and thinking skills, as well as enhance our writing ability. Such things help us not only in other academic endeavors, but also in our personal and professional lives too.
(Most of the required texts are fairly inexpensive and easy to find.)
Plato, The Republic (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996) ISBN: 978-0393314670
Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, 4th ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999) ISBN: 978-0872204201
Kant, An Answer to the Question: 'What Is Enlightenment?' (New York: Penguin Books, 2010) ISBN: 978-0141399294
Emerson, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (New York: Modern Library, 2000) ISBN: 978-0679783220
Keith Ansell Pearson and Duncan Large, eds., The Nietzsche Reader (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2006) ISBN: 978-0631226543
Heidegger, Basic Writings, Revised and Expanded Edition (New York: HarperCollins, 1993) ISBN: 978-0060637637
Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics and Infinity (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1985) ISBN: 978-0820701783
Donald Palmer, Looking At Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter (McGraw-Hill) ISBN: 978-0078038266 (any recent edition should be fine)
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Five tests throughout the semester over the readings and lectures (worth 50% of grade), and a final prompted essay (worth 40%). The remainder of the grade will be determined by attendance and participation.