Phil 1000: Introduction to Philosophy

Fall 2016

Course Syllabus

Schedule (subject to change!)

Below is a tentative schedule of what topics we will cover, and what reading(s) you should complete BEFORE each class meeting.

T, Aug. 23

Lecture Topic: About this course—An Intro to Intro to Philosophy
Reading assignment: None

R, Aug. 25

A Brief Intro to Philosophy and its Methods
Reread course syllabus
Read:This is Philosophy Preface
Required Video (1.5 hrs)- History of the World

T, Aug 30

Critical Thinking
Reading: Haskins “Critical Thinking
Suggested film: Idiocracy

R, Sep. 1

Logic (soundness and validity)
Reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested  humorous reading: Dave Barry “How to Win an Argument
Suggested TV show: “Sherlock” or “Elementary”

T, Sep. 6

Logic- Continued
Re-read: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

R, Sep. 8

Informal Fallacies
Reading: Informal Fallacies
Short Video:

T, Sep. 13

Finish Informal Fallacies **Homework Assignment Given Out**

R, Sep. 15

Epistemology- Truth, Evidence and Knowledge
Reading:This Is Philosophy Chapter 7, part I (p. 223-246)    
Suggested film: “Inception”

T, Sep. 20

Knowledge, Skepticism, and the Method of Doubt
Reading: This Is Philosophy Chapter 7,  part II (p. 246-262)
Required film: “The Matrix" (available on D2L)
Suggested Reading: Descartes, “Meditations on First Philosophy” meditations 1-2
Suggested reading: Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”
Suggested film: “The 13th Floor”

R, Sep. 22

Finish Epistemology and Skepticism

T, Sep. 27

Arguments for God’s existence
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)
Video: (Preview- 10min) The God Delusion Debate—Lennox vs Dawkins
Suggested videos: Lennox vs. Dawkins Debate- Has Science Buried God?
Lennox- God Does Exist
Suggested TV Show: Family Guy S8 Ep.1 "Road to the Multiverse"

R, Sep. 29

Arguments against God’s existence- The Problem of Evil
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 95-108)
Suggested Video (50 min): Dawkins- The Root of All Evil

T, Oct. 4

Finish Problem of Evil- objections and responses
Suggested film: “Star Trek T.N.G.: Q Who” (or any episode with Q)

R, Oct. 6

Study Guide for Midterm Exam
(Rescheduled)Free will- Do we have it, or are our actions determined?
Reading:  This Is Philosophy Ch. 4
rewatch Video: Sam Harris- Free Will (1hr- not required to watch Q&A)

T, Oct. 11

**MID-TERM EXAM** (35% of grade)

R, Oct. 13

Divine Command Theory- Is God the source of morality?
Reading: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”

T, Oct. 18   

Finish DCT, Relativism
Reading: This Is Philosophy Chapter 1

R, Oct. 20

Cultural Relativism (continued)
Reading: Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Suggested film: “Apocalypto”

T, Oct. 25

Mid-term exams returned and reviewed.
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 27-42)
Video: “The Trolley Problem”
Suggested film: “Sophie’s Choice” or “Ender’s Game”

R, Oct. 27

Reading: Reflective Equilibrium:
Strongly Suggested Reading: Mill- Utilitarianism (excerpt)

T, Nov.1

Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Suggested TV show: “Dexter”

R, Nov. 3

Responses to Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: re-read Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Optional Video: Sam Harris - What can science tell us about morality?

T, Nov. 8

Finish Utilitarianism and Objections

R, Nov.10

Election discussion
Reading: United Nations- “Universal Declaration of Human Rights

T, Nov 15

Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 42-52)
Suggested film: “Watchmen”

R, Nov. 17

Virtue Ethics
Reading: This Is Philosophy  Ch. 2 (p. 52-61)on Virtue Ethics
Short excerpt from Ben Franklin's Autobiography
Suggested films: Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings” or Dumbledore in “Harry Potter”
**Homework assignment given**

T, Nov.22

Fall Break- no class

R, Nov.24

Fall Break- no class

T, Nov 29

**Homework assignment due**
Applied ethics- Poverty and World Hunger
Reading: Peter Singer, excerpt from "Life You Can Save"
Poverty Facts and Stats
Foreign Aid Infographic
Suggested Video: Sobering Stats on Poverty

R, Dec. 1

Applied ethics- Poverty and World Hunger (continued)
Reading: Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Video (short): Key and Peele “Save a Child"

T, Dec. 6

The Meaning of Life- The Absurdity of Life
Reading:  Nagel, “The Absurd
Stronlgy suggested film: “Meet Joe Black”

R, Dec 8

The Meaning of Life (continued)
Final Exam Study Guide
Reading: Taylor, “The Meaning of Life
Suggested Video: Randy Pausch- “Last Lecture”
Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”


December 15th, 4:30pm-7:00pm in our regular classroom (posted in your mycuinfo)



Additional Resources for Students

Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (J. Pryor)
Writing Philosophy Essays (M. Tooley)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Oh the power of learning philosophy...

7/3/19: I am thrilled to have accepted a position as an Instructor at the University of Colorado at Denver! I was extremely impressed by the students and community when last I was there, and am excited to be returning to now teach all the core classes for the UCD Philosophy of Science Minor!

5/6/16: I'm honored to be the first person to receive both the CU Boulder Philosophy Department Morriston Teaching Award (2016) and the University of Colorado-Boulder Graduate Teaching Excellence Award (2014-2015)! My thanks go out to the many great teachers and students with whom I've been lucky enough to learn!

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