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Introduction to Philosophy

Course NumberPHL 211W
Lab Hours0
Lecture Hours45
Course DescriptionPrerequisite: READING LEVEL 3 and WRITING LEVEL 3. Introduces the logic of philosophical thinking and important philosophical issues. Covers such topics as proofs for the existence of God, the ultimate nature of reality, what it means to be human, and the nature of ethics. Presents historically important Western and non-Western philosophers and their theories. Allows opportunities to read about, discuss, analyze and write about course topics. Emphasizes understanding the issues, learning the various positions and arguments taken by philosophers, critically questioning those positions and arguments, and finally, reaching and defending personal philosophical conclusions. Credit may be earned in PHL 211W or PHL 211HW but not in both. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate the difference between philosophical questions, knowledge and ways of thinking and those appropriate to other disciplines.
  1. Distinguish the kind of reasoning appropriate to philosophy from kinds appropriate to other disciplines.
  2. State, clarify and exemplify the methodologies of philosophical thinking.
  3. Use writing to promote learning in all of the above outcomes and objectives.

Explain the arguments for and against some of the important philosophical issues of civilization and human life.
  1. State and clarify the main arguments on both sides of the issues studied.
  2. Point out the main strengths and weaknesses of these arguments.

Demonstrate the standards of sound reasoning and clarity, which are central to the discipline of philosophy.
  1. Use the standards of clarity studied in the course in their written essays and papers.
  2. Explain which philosophical statements pertinent to the subject studied are clear, which are not and why.
  3. Clarify ways in which the philosophical issues studied in the course are significant for the lives of people, not simply intellectual curiosities.

Clarify, distinguish, apply and evaluate the use of the basic vocabulary and concepts essential to critical thinking about the philosophical issues studied.
  1. Define terms and concepts of the theories studied.
  2. Distinguish appropriate from inappropriate uses of the terms and concepts.
  3. Explain the relevance of the terms and concepts and their shortcomings and limitations.
  4. Clarify the main distinctions essential to the philosophical theories studied.

Practice abilities to philosophize.
  1. Formulate and clarify their own views on some philosophical issues studied in the course.
  2. Construct and explain arguments to defend and criticize those views.

Utilize writing to promote learning in the above outcomes and objectives.

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