Introduction To Philosophy

The word "philosophy", derives from the ancient greek words: philo (meaning "love") and sophia (meaning "wisdom"). So it literally means, "the love of wisdom". Philosophy, as a discipline, is the study of the foundational questions of existence and of all the other fields of knowledge. Philosophy as a craft is the practice of reflective inquiry, logical analysis, and critical thinking. Philosophy requires courage to discuss controversial topics and question the "truths" and realities that we often take for granted as given. As an introductory course we will learn a little about a lot of sub-topics within philosophy; in other words we will dip our toes into the main areas of philosophy, and wade through some classic and contemporary texts.  We will cover preliminary questions in: philosophy of mind (mind/body problem and consciousness), metaphysics (free will & existence of God), epistemology (knowledge & skepticism), ethics (virtue ethics, utilitarianism, & deontology), political philosophy (the state, freedom, & exploitation), aesthetics (art & beauty), philosophy of self and identity (sex, gender, and race).

The hard skills you will learn for this class are: how to read carefully, closely and sympathetically, how to identify the argument of a text and the premises used for justification, how to engage in a dialectical critique, how to judge the validity and soundness of an argument, how to offer thoughtful objections, and how to create and defend an argument of your own.