Phil 1000: Introduction to Philosophy

Spring 2018

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.

M, Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- No Class
Suggested Video: “I Have a Dream” speech

W, Jan 17

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

F, Jan 19

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

M, Jan 22

Philosophy and its Methods, Critical Thinking
Reading: Haskins “Critical Thinking
Suggested film: Idiocracy

W, Jan 24

Logic (validity and soundness)
Reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested TV show: “Sherlock” or “Elementary”

F, Jan 26

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

M, Jan 29

Logic- continued
Reading: Re-read: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested  humorous reading: Dave Barry “How to Win an Argument

W, Jan 31

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

F, Feb 2 Finish Logic

M, Feb 5

Informal Fallacies
Reading: Informal Fallacies
Short Video:

W, Feb 7 

Informal Fallacies- continued

F, Feb 9 Finish Informal Fallacies **Homework Assignment Given Out**
Reread: Informal Fallacies

M, Feb 12

**Homework Due**
Epistemology- Truth, Evidence and Knowledge
Reading:This Is Philosophy Chapter 7, part I (p. 223-246)

W, Feb 14

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

F, Feb 16 Finish Epistemology and Skepticism
Suggested reading: Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”
Suggested film: “Inception”

M, Feb 19

The Nature and Concept of God
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"

W, Feb 21

Arguments for God- continued
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)
Humerous(?) Reading: Flying Spaghetti Monster

F, Feb 23 Arguments for God- Teleological and Pascal's Wager
Videos: Intelligent Design and Pascal's Wager
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)

M, Feb 26

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
Suggested film: “Star Trek T.N.G.: Q Who” (or any episode with Q)

W, Feb 28

Free will- Do we have it, or are our actions determined?
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 95-108)
Video: Sam Harris- Free Will (1hr- not required to watch Q&A)
Suggested Reading:  This Is Philosophy Ch. 4

F, Mar 2 **MID-TERM EXAM**

M, Mar 5

Intro to Ethics
Reading: This Is Philosophy Chapter 1 ( p.1-6 & p.10-18)

W, Mar 7

Egoism, and Individual Relativism
Reread: This Is Philosophy Chapter 1 ( p.10-18)

F, Mar 9 Cultural Relativism (continued)
Reading: Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Suggested film: “Avatar”

M, Mar 12

Mid-term exams Returned
In-Class Assignment (TBA)

W, Mar 14

Cultural Relativism (continued)
Reread: Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Suggested film: “Enemy Mine”

F,  Mar 16 Cultural Relativism and the Objectivity of Ethics
Start God and Morality
Reading: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”

M, Mar 19

Is God the source of morality? DCT and the Euthyphro Dilemma
Reread: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”

W, Mar 21

Is God the Source of Morality?
Video (first 35min): Bill Craig vs Louise Antony Debate

F, Mar 23 Class and Office Hours Cancelled

M, Mar 26

Spring Break- no class

W, Mar 28

Spring Break- no class

F, Mar 30 Spring Break- no class

M, Apr 2

Normative Ethics: Utilitarianism
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 27-42)
Video: “The Trolley Problem”
Suggested film: “Sophie’s Choice” or “Ender’s Game”

W, Apr 4

Utilitarianism continued
Reading: J.S. Mill- Utilitarianism (excerpt)
Suggested Reading: Judith Jarvis Thomson
"The Trolley Problem"

F, Apr 6 Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Suggested TV show: “Dexter”

M, Apr 9

Responses to Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: re-read Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

W, Apr 11

Utilitarianism, Objections, and Responses (continued)
No new reading

F, Apr 13

Finish Utilitarianism and Objections
Optional Video: Sam Harris - What can science tell us about morality?
**Homework assignment given**

M, Apr 16

**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

W, Apr 18

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

F, Apr 20 Finish Singer
Reread: Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality

M, Apr 23

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

W, Apr 25

Deontology continued
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 42-52)

F, Apr 27

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

M, Apr 30

The Meaning of Life
Reading: Thomas Nagel "The Absurd"
Strongly suggested film: “Meet Joe Black”

W, May 2

Happiness and the Meaning of Life (continued)
Reading: Taylor, “The Meaning of Life
Video: Randy Pausch- “Last Lecture”
Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”
Suggested Reading: United Nations- “Universal Declaration of Human Rights


on official day scheduled by Registrar’s office (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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