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JC PHL 231 - Syllabus

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Introduction to PhilosophyCourse: PHL 101 (Intro. to Philosophy) Instructor: Jesse Slavens Hours: TR (4:00-5:25)Office: PT Faculty Commons Office Hours: TBA Phone: Texts: Philosophy: The Quest for Truth (Louis Pojman); Class Handouts and PostingsCourse Objective: To provide a basic understanding of the discipline and method of philosophy through the examination of perennial philosophical problems. We will examine both historically important and contemporary texts of the philosophical canon dealing with Logic and Argument, Philosophy of Mind, Personal Identity, and Value Theory. The development of critical thinking, analysis and argument in both discussion and writing will be emphasized. Attendance: Attendance and participation is vital to a successful term studying philosophy. Philosophy requires the close reading of texts, instruction and dialogue. As such, students should come to class prepared: having read the assigned material and ready to ask, as well as be asked, questions. Attendance and participation will count for 10% of the student’s final grade. Students who attend less than five (5) classes during the first six (6) weeks may be withdrawn from the course. Students who miss more than ten (10) classes during the semester, without the approval ofthe instructor, will automatically fail the course (i.e., receive an F). Assignments: Two exams will be given, each worth 25% of the student’s final gradeThe student may opt to write a final term paper in lieu of the final examination. Students who choose to write a term paper must submit an outline for approval at least three weeks before the final due date. Each student must complete four (4) reading responses throughout the term. Two reading responses will be due before the midterm. At least one reading response must be written for each of the following course units: Mind and Personal Identity, and Ethics. The remaining two reading responses may be on assigned readings of the student’s choosing. Taken together, reading responses are worth 25% of the final grade.  Weekly quizzes together are worth 15% of final grade.  Attendance and participation will constitute 10% of the final grade. Grading: The distribution of grades will follow a percentage scale: 90—100 = A 70—72 = C 87—89 = A- 67—69 = C- 83—86 = B+ 63—66 = D+ 80—82 = B 60—62 = D 77—79 = B- 57—59 = D- 73—76 = C+ 0—56 = F Academic Dishonesty: In accordance with the policies of Jackson Community College, plagiarism, cheating, or any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course. Students found to have committed academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Humanities and Social Science for disciplinary action.Tentative Reading ListUnit 1: Logic and ReasoningFundamentals of LogicRequired Reading: Introduction, (pp. 29-45)Suggested: “Socratic Wisdom” (pp. 6-18), “The Value of Philosophy” (pp. 24-29)The Cosmological Argument Thomas Aquinas, “The Five Ways” (pp. 50-53); Paul Edwards, “A Critique of the Cosmological Argument” (pp. 72-82)The Ontological ArgumentSt. Anselm and Gaunilo, “The Ontological Argument” (pp. 94-98)William Rowe, “An Analysis of the Ontological Argument” (pp. 98-109)The Euthyphro ProblemPlato, “Euthyphro” (handout)Unit 2: Ethics and Contemporary Moral ProblemsMoral RelativismRuth Benedict, “Morality Is Relative” (pp. 400-405)James Rachels, “Morality Is Not Relative” (pp. 405-414)Ethical TheoriesJohn Stuart Mill, “Utilitarianism” (pp. 462-468)Nielsen, “Against Moral Conservativism” (handout)Immanuel Kant, “The Moral Law” (pp. 449-462)Contemporary Moral ProblemsJohn T. Noonan, Jr., “Abortion is Not Morally Permissible”J.J. Thompson, “A Defense of Abortion” (handout)Suggested Reading: Warren, “Abortion is Morally Permissible” (pp. 574-580)MOVIE: “The Fog of War”—with selected readingsUnit 3: Philosophy of Mind and Personal IdentityDualism and the CogitoDescartes, “Cartesian Doubt…” (pp. 165-171); Dualistic Interactionism (pp. 245-252)Criticism and PhysicalismGilbert Ryle, “Excorcising Descartes’ ‘Ghost in the Machine’” (pp. 252-258)J.J.C. Smart, “Consciousness is a Brain Process”Functionalism and CriticsChurchland, “On Functionalism and Materialism” (pp. 269-285)Thomas Nagel, “What is it Like to Be a Bat?” (pp. 285-293)John Searle, “Minds Brains and Computers” (pp. 293-300) Suggested Reading: David Chalmers, “The Puzzle of Conscious Experience” (handout)Personal IdentityLouis Pojman, “Who Am I? Do We Have Personal Identity?” (pp. 301-305)John Locke, “Our Psychological Properties Define the Self” (pp. 305-309)David Hume, “We Have No Substantial Self with Which We Are Identical” (pp. 309-312)Derek Parfit and Godfrey Vesey, “Brain Transplants and Personal Identity: A Dialogue” (pp.


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