Introduction to Philosophy
Office: Bartlett 361
heathwood @ philos.umass.edu
Office Hours: Thurs 11:00-12:00, and by appt.
(The best way to get a hold of me is by email.)
This course provides an introduction to philosophy by way of a discussion of doctrines and arguments in three areas of philosophy: (i) epistemology; (ii) the philosophy of religion; and (iii) the philosophy of mind. We will begin with some logic.
In the unit on epistemology, we will study theories about the nature of knowledge, as well as related puzzles concerning skepticism. In the unit on the philosophy of religion, we will investigate whether there are any reasons to think that God does or does not exist. We may also look at the debate between the theory of evolution and creationism. In the unit on the philosophy of mind, we will study the so-called mind-body problem and, time permitting, the problem of freedom and determinism.
There is a course website: http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~cheathwo/Phil100/
One book is required:
Elliott Sober, Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings (Third Edition) (Prentice Hall, 2001).
It is available at the Textbook Annex.
Additional readings may be provided in class, or on the course website, or on reserve at the library.
Exams: There will be three exams, each worth 20% of your grade. Exams will thus constitute 60% of your grade for the course. Before each exam, a study guide will be made available which will contain the possible exam questions. The exam will consist of some subset of the study guide. Although Exam #3 will be given during finals week, it is non-cumulative.
If you must miss a scheduled exam, you must notify me before the exam. If you do this, and if you have a legitimate, documented reason for missing the exam, you may be permitted to take a make-up exam. Only in very unusual circumstances will a student who does not contact me before a missed exam be allowed to make it up.
Homework: There will be several homework assignments. Homework will constitute 15% of your total grade. Late homework will be penalized substantially unless the student has a legitimate, documented excuse.
Quizzes: There will be several unannounced "pop" quizzes throughout the semester. Quizzes will constitute 15% of your grade. These will serve to ensure that you are keeping up with the reading and with the material presented in lecture. Pop quizzes will be "open note," but not "open book." This is supposed to encourage you to take detailed notes both in class and from the reading.
Attendance and Class Participation: You are also required to attend regularly and to participate in class discussion. Attendance and participation will constitute 10% of your grade. Your performance here can, however, affect other parts of your grade, since if you miss a class, you might miss a homework assignment or a pop quiz. I really want each and every one of you to participate: philosophy is better done as a dialogue rather than a monologue-speak your mind!
Violations of university regulations concerning academic honesty will not be tolerated in this course. I will do my best to see to it that students caught cheating in this course are subjected to the most severe penalties consistent with university policies.
Students with Special Needs
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any necessary accommodations.
A Possible Course Schedule [with Possible Readings]
Wk 1: Introductions; What is Philosophy? [Sober, Lecture 1]
Wk 2: Logic and Truth [Sober 2-3]
Wk 3: Intro to Epistemology [Plato; Sober 12]
Wk 4: Foundationalism [Descartes; Sober 13]
Wk 5: Hume's Problem of Induction [Hume; Sober 15-16]
Exam #1 - Logic, Epistemology
Wk 6: Intro to Philosophy of Religion; Cosmological Arguments [Aquinas, Sober 4]
Wk 7: Cosmological Arguments [Leibniz]
Wk 8: Design Arguments [Paley; Hume; Sober 5]
Wk 9: Evolution and Creationism [Sober 6]
Wk 10: The Problem of Evil [E. Nagel, 11]
Exam #2 - The Philosophy of Religion
Wk 11: Intro to Philosophy of Mind [T. Nagel; Chalmers; Sober 18]
Wk 12: Dualism [Descartes, Russell]
Wk 13: The Identity Theory [Smart, Sober 21]
Wk 14: Functionalism [Sober 22]
Wk 15: Freedom and Determinism [Sober 23-25]
Exam #3 - The Philosophy of Mind