Introduction to Philosophy

PHI 1321-05
Fall 2004
TR 11:00-12:20
Morrison Hall 110

Dr. Scott H. Moore
Associate Professor of Philosophy

  1. Introduction to the Course
  2. Required Texts
  3. Grading and Course Requirements
  4. Test Policy
  5. Assignments
  6. World Wide Web Resources

Introduction to the Course:

This course is intended to be a critical introduction to the discipline of philosophy. We will spend our time this semester thinking, reading, and talking about some of the great questions and ideas which have captivated women and men for centuries. What do we really know? What does it mean to be successful as human beings? What does science tell me about the world? Does God exist, and if so (or if not) how would we know? Why should I be moral? Why is there something and not nothing? What does it mean to be an "authentic individual"? What is happiness and how does one achieve it?

This term, we will focus on these last questions and assume that "authentic individuals" are the happiest and most successful human beings. The course is designed to provide opportunities for us to explore these important thoughts and questions and to introduce us to some ideas we might not have considered before. While we will spend much of our time considering the thoughts of some of the great thinkers of human history and today, we will be more interested in developing our abilities to "do philosophy." How you "do philosophy" will become more clear as the semester progresses.

I want you to enjoy this course, and I want you to enjoy philosophy. Philosophy is simply thinking hard about life. But make no mistake, this is serious business. Apart from reading and thinking about what you have read, there is very little homework for this course. But the reading and the thinking about the reading are both essential. If you take this course seriously, it can be one of the most exciting courses of your college career.

Office Information
Office: 308 Tidwell
Telephone: 710-4612 or 710-7251

If you have a philosophical question, it is best to make an appointment or send the question to me by email so that I can think about it before responding.

Office hours: TR 2:00-4:00, and by appointment

Required Texts --These books may be purchased from one of the area bookstores or from

Grading and Course Requirements

There will be three exams and a final. Each exam (including the final) will require comprehensive preparation of all the material covered to that point in the term. Each exam will be designed to test your ability to think and to communicate philosophically. Each exam will make up 16.66% of your total grade.

There will be brief reading quizzes (almost) every class period. If you have read the material and thought about it (not memorized it) you should have no problem. We will drop (at least) the two lowest scores on these tests. Class participation is also very important. Each day we will spend some time discussing the readings and/or the lecture. Failure to make thoughtful contributions in class will hurt your grade, and excessive absences could result in a low or even failing participation grade. I enforce the university's attendance policy. The quiz average and the participation grade will count as a major exam (16.66% of total grade or 8.33% each). This facet of the course is designed to help your average. Take advantage of this opportunity.

There will also be one outside writing assignment. I want you to write a philosophical essay, 6-8 pages in length. Your essay should address an author or a topic that we have covered in our reading or in our discussions. You should propose a thesis and then defend that thesis through exposition, analysis, and argumentation. (The essay will be worth 16.66% of the total grade.) The essay will be due by noon, Friday, November 5.

Test Policy

Daily quizzes cannot be made up. The exams will be based on the readings, any handouts, the lectures, materials on the web, and class discussions. They will require you to think and communicate well. Make-up exams will be given only in the case of three kinds of emergencies: illness, family emergency, and authorized University business.

If you contact me before the exam with an explanation, there will be no grade reduction. If you miss the exam without contacting me beforehand, there will be a reduction of one letter-grade, followed by five points off for every day you fail to contact me. Missing a test is serious business. The best thing you can do if you have to miss one will be to contact me as soon as possible.

Assignments (Subject to revision)

All assignments are to be completed in advance of the class session.

Aug 24 -- Introduction to Course and to Philosophy

Aug 26 -- Introduction to Camus and The Stranger
Camus, Part 1 (pp. 3-59) [Reading Questions, Part 1 and Preface to The Stranger]

Aug 31 -- The Stranger
Camus, Part 1 (pp. 3-59) [Reading Questions, Part 1]

Sept 2 -- The Stranger
Camus, Part 2 (pp. 63-123) [Reading Questions, Part 2]

Sept 7 -- Introduction to Percy and The Moviegoer
Percy, 9-116 [Reading Questions, Part 1, Reading Questions, Part 2]

Sept 9 -- The Moviegoer
Percy, 117-218 [Reading Questions, Part 3, Reading Questions, Part 4]

Sept 14 -- The Moviegoer
Percy, 219-41 [Reading Questions, Part 5 and Epilogue]

Sept 16 -- Examination I

Sept 21 -- Introduction to Kierkegaard and Either/Or
Kierkegaard, 27-37 [Reading Questions]

Sept 23 -- Either/Or, Part I
Type A: "All I want to do is have some fun,"
Kierkegaard, 43-57 [Reading Questions], 211-21 [Reading Questions]

Sept 28 -- Change in Life
Kierkegaard, 223-41 [Reading Questions]

Sept 30 -- Diary of a Seducer
Kierkegaard, 249-78, 287-93, 298-307, 320-21, 356-61, 369-76
[Reading Questions, Reading Summary]

Oct 5 -- Either/Or, Part II
Type B: "Being good ain't so bad, and real love ain't boring."
Kierkegaard, 383-91, 443-45, 468-74 [Reading Questions]

Oct 7 -- Life's either/or. Go figure.
Kierkegaard, 477-92, 543-48, 556-58, 573-90 [Reading Questions]

Oct 12 -- Conclusion to Kierkegaard

Oct 14 -- Examination II

Oct 19 -- Introduction to Aristotle
Aristotle, ix-xli [Reading Questions]

Oct 21 -- Book I: The Object of Life
Aristotle, 1-30 [Reading Questions]

Oct 26 -- Book II: Moral Goodness
Aristotle, 31-49 [Reading Questions]

Oct 28 -- Book III: Moral Responsibility
Aristotle, 50-81 [Reading Questions]

Nov 2 -- Book IV: Other Moral Virtues
Aristotle, 82-111 [Reading Questions]

Nov 4 -- Book VI: Intellectual Virtues
Aristotle, 144-66 [Reading Questions]

Nov 5 -- Philosophical Essay due (12:00, Tidwell 308)

Nov 9 -- Book VIII: Friendship
Aristotle, 200-227 [Reading Questions]

Nov 11 -- Book X: Pleasure and the Life of Happiness
Aristotle, 312-42 [Reading Questions]

Nov 16 -- Conclusion to Aristotle

Nov 18 -- Examination III

Nov 23 -- Introduction to Boethius and Consolation I
Boethius, 1-21 [Reading Questions]

Nov 25 -- Thanksgiving Holiday

Nov 30 -- Consolation II-III
Boethius, 22-84 [Reading Questions]

Dec 2 -- Consolation IV-V
Boethius, 85-137 [Reading Questions]
Final Examination:

World Wide Web Resources

One way that you can supplement your readings and lectures is through the vast resources of the World Wide Web. Below you will find connecting links to (hopefully) useful Web sites, essays, and homepages. You can also find Reading Notes and Handouts for the reading assignments. Be sure to check these pages on a regular basis. I will be adding to them as the term progresses.

Albert Camus

Walker Percy

Søren Kierkegaard



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