Intro to Philosophy: Syllabus

“If you’re studying geology, which is all facts, as soon as you get out of school you forget it all, but philosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.”

–Steve Martin

Textbook: Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental Readings; Allhoff, Mallon, & Nichols.

Unit 1

A:  Syllabus, Rules, Expectations, What is Philosophy?
B:  Meditation 1, Descartes (p. 84).
C:  Knowledge is Ultimately Sensed, Locke (PDF)
D:  Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (PDF)
E: Epistemic Injustice, Selections from Amanda Fricker 

Unit 2

A. Meditations, Descartes (p. 290) & How Can Souls Move Bodies? Descartes and Princess Elisabeth, (p. 204).
B. Brain Damage, Mind Damage, and Dualism. Phelan, Mandelbaum, Nichols (p. 212)
C. Persistence of Attitudes. Fodor (p. 229)
D. Epiphenomenal Qualia. Jackson (p. 296) & What Is it Like to Be a Bat? Nagel
E. The Hornswoggle Problem. Churchland (p. 309)

Unit 3

A. Summa Theologiae, Aquinas (p. 19)
B. Natural Theology, Paley (p. 21)
C. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume (Parts 2 & 3) PDF (Objections to the Cosmological, Teleological, and Ontological Arguments)
D. Argument from Evil, van Inwagen (p. 29)

Midterm: epistemology, mind and consciousness, & some philosophy of religion)

Unit 4

A: Groundwork for a Metaphysic of Morals, Kant (p. 516)
B: Utilitarianism, J.S. Mill (p. 523)
C: Ethics of Care. In a Different Voice. Gilligan (Selections)
D:  All Animals are Equal,Singer
Secondary readings:
2. We Are not the Only Political Animal

Unit 5

A:  The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility, Strawson (p. 350).
B: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person, Frankfurt (p. 359)
C: The Illusion of Conscious Will*,  Wegner (p378) &  Free Will and Luck, Mele (p. 380)
1. Blame Your Brain
2. Value Judgments and the True Self, Newman, Bloom, and Knobe (You can access the article through the library)
3.  (overview of the above article)
4. NYT version of the article
5. Postdictive choice:
D: Dostoevsky: Selections from Notes from the Underground pp. 27-45.
1. Atlantic article on free will.

Unit 6
A. Sartre: Existentialism is a Humanism Part 1  Read up to and including the section on Anguish.
B:  Sartre: Existentialism is a Humanism Part 2  Read up to and including the section on Despair.
C:  Sartre: Existentialism is a Humanism Part 3  From bottom of p. 36-53.
D: Beauvoir: Ethics of Ambiguity Ch. 2
E: Beauvoir: Ethics of Ambiguity Ch. 3