Introduction to Philosophy: Phil 110-05

Prof. Collins


Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 am- 10:45 am, Hunziker Hall 110

Office hours: By appointment.


Philosophy consists of the intellectual investigation of the most general and fundamental topics. These include topics such as existence vs. non-existence, reality vs. possibility, the nature of mind, thought, and reason, the nature and possibility of knowledge and the methods of gaining it, the natures of morality, virtue, truth, goodness, beauty, and many, many other topics. All elements of the knowledge-seeking enterprise, including all of the sciences and the various branches of mathematics, computer science, and engineering, have historically developed out of philosophical inquiry.

Because it is such a large field, any attempt at a one-semester overview of all of philosophy is impossible. This semester we will focus on two major areas of contemporary philosophical inquiry: the nature of mind, and morality. We will discuss who and what we are, and how we ought to live. We will read in full the two books listed below, as well as some additional reading assignments.

What You Should Expect

Introduction to Philosophy is traditionally a difficult class for many people. While it is a General Education requirement that presupposes no philosophical background, it is still a university level course and will be taught as such. There will be extensive reading assignments, and both attendance and participation are mandatory. There will be quizzes, exams, as well as possible homework assignments and class presentations. Some of the quizzes will be unannounced. My teaching method consists of a combination of lectures and class discussions.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should have:

• Developed or sharpened critical thinking and reasoning skills
• Developed the ability to identify and maintain a...