Introduction to Western Philosophy

Philosophy 121
Schiller International University
Spring, 2008

Instructor: Laurence E. Heglar, PhD.
Meeting times: Tuesday & Thursdays, 10:30-11:45
Location: Room 302
Office Hours (Faculty office): T-Th 14:00 - 15:00
E-Mail: lheglar@schillermadrid.edu
Telephone: 676.406.071
Syllabus web page: http://www.institutobios.org/courses.htm

Text: Solomon, R.C. (1998). The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy (Sixth Edition). Fort Worth, TX; Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

Additional Readings: A book of photocopied readings has also been assigned and is available from the instructor to be purchased with the text. A list of the readings is provided at the end of this syllabus.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the Western philosophical tradition from the Pre-Socratics to Sartre, to the reading of philosophical texts (Plato, Descartes, Kant) and to the student's own potential for raising perplexing questions as well as to his/her responsibility for the use of his/her intelligence to think things through.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: Grading
Grading will be based on midterm and final exams, and three course essays. The exams will consist of essay questions. The grades will be determined in the following manner:
      Midterm exam 20%
      Final exam 50%
      Course essays 30%


Attendance
Attendance is expected at every class period.

Lectures and Readings
Readings have been chosen to complement the lectures. Students are required to read the assigned material before coming to class on the day the material is assigned. Assigned reading for the day, whether photocopy and/or text, should be brought to class.

Course Essays
Philosophy is in part about the clarification, organization and communication of ideas. Therefore we will have three short (5-6 pages) essays during the course. These essays will be designed to help you clarify and express ideas you may have about various philosophical issues. Your text has an appendix called "Writing Philosphy" which students should read early in the course. Two online reference guides for writing papers in philosophy are Good and bad in philosophy essays by Ronald Hepburn and A Guide for Writing Papers in Philosophy by Ellen Watson (links available on the online course syllabus).

READING AND TOPIC SCHEDULE

DATETOPICREADING
Jan. 22 Introduction
"Seeing" & Education
Handout: Inventory of Philosophical Beliefs
Introductory Notes
Jan. 24 Philosophy & producing accounts Meaning: The First Step in Understanding Your Mind
Text -- Preface & Introduction - Doing Philosophy
Ch. 1: Opening Questions
Jan. 29 The Quest for Certainty Dewey: Reconstruction in Philosophy: Introduction
Jan. 31 The Search for the Immutable
The Early Greeks
Stumpf: Socrates' Predecessors: Philosophy and the Natural Order
Handout: Chronology of Philosophy (download Word .doc)
Feb. 5 Wine, Pythagoras & the Sophists Stumpf: Socrates' Predecessors: Philosophy and the Natural Order
Feb. 7 Socrates & Plato Plato: The Line and the Cave from Meno
Text: Ch. 4, pp. 106-122
Feb. 12 Aristotle Gaarder: Aristotle from Sophie's World
Feb. 14 Philosophy after Athens
Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans
Individual Assignments
Feb. 19 The Romans & Christianity
The Renaissance
Russell: General Characteristics
Stumpf:The Renaissance Interlude
Feb. 21 The Rise of Science Russell: The Rise of Science
Feb. 26 The Rise of Science Russell: The Rise of Science
Feb. 28 Descartes & Rationalism Gaarder: Descartes, Spinoza from Sophie's World
March 4 Locke and Empiricism Gaarder: Locke, Hume, Berkeley from Sophie's World
March 6 Kant, Darwin, Marx & Freud Gaarder: Kant from Sophie's World
March 11 Existentialism, Phenomenology & Hermeneutics Notes on Existentialism
March 13 MIDTERM EXAM
March 14-24 Midterm break
March 25 God Text, Ch. 3 - God
St. Thomas Aquinas:Proving God's Existence from Experience
Freud: The Future of an Illusion
Marx: Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
March 27 God Text, Ch. 3 - God
Plato: Concerning Life after Death
Hume on Life after Death
Kierkegaard on Life after Death
April 1 The Self - Mind & Body Solomon, Ch. 6 - Self
Reading: Gilbert Ryle - On the Ghost in the Machine
April 3 The Self - Mind & Body Solomon, Ch. 6 - Self
Reading: Gilbert Ryle - On the Ghost in the Machine
April 8 Freedom Text, Ch. 7 - Freedom
April 10 Freedom Text, Ch. 7 - Freedom
Free will vs. Determinism
Skinner - Walden Two
April 15 Morality Text, Ch. 8 - Morality & the Good Life
Sartre - An Existential Ethic
April 17 Morality Solomon, Ch. 8 - Morality & the Good Life
Dewey vs. Trotsky: Their Morals and Ours
April 22 Justice Solomon, Ch. 9 - Justice & the Good Society
April 24 Justice Solomon, Ch. 9 - Justice & the Good SocietyStumpf - Plato's Political Philosophy
Rawls - Justice as Fairness
April 29 Catch Up and Review
May 1 National Holiday - Labor Day
May 7-11 FINAL EXAMS


List of Additional Readings

Meaning: The First Step in Understanding Your Mind
Dewey: Introduction from Reconstruction in Philosophy
Stumpf: Socrates' Predecessors: Philosophy and the Natural Order
Plato: The Line and the Cave and Meno
Gaarder: Aristotle from Sophie's World
Bertrand Russell: General Characteristics from A History of Western Philosophy
Stumpf: The Renaissance Interlude
Bertrand Russell: The Rise of Science from A History of Western Philosophy
Gaarder: Descartes, Spinoza from Sophie's World
Gaarder: Locke, Hume, Berkeley from Sophie's World
Gaarder: Kant from Sophie's World
Saint Thomas Aquinas: Proving God's Existence from Experience
Freud: Ch. VI from The Future of an Illusion
Marx: Excerpt from Toward the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
Plato, Hume and Kierkegaard: Concerning life after death
Gilbert Ryle: Selected writings
Skinner: Excerpt from Walden Two
Sartre: An Existential Ethic
Dewey: Means and ends from Their Morals and Ours: Marxist vs. Liberal Views on Morality
Stumpf: Plato's Political Philosophy
Rawls: Justice as Fairness
Stumpf: Rationalism on the Continent: Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz
Stumpf: Empiricism in Britain: Locke, Berkeley, and Hume
Bertrand Russell: The Religious Development of the Jews from A History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell: Christianity During the First Four Centuries from A History of Western Philosophy