Philosophy 101: Introduction to Philosophy
"The argument concerns no ordinary topic but the way we ought to
live." --Plato Republic
"Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs in one."
Spring Semester 2018
Dr. Scott Kimbrough
Office Hours: M 10:00-11:00, T
11:00-12:00, or by appointment
Office: Council 121
Last updated 3/8/18
- Readings and events
listed at the bottom of this page
- Keep track of your
grades on Blackboard
- Due Dates and paper
- Resources for extra help
- The Writing Center can
help with organization, clarity and style of writing assignments.
- If you complete a draft
of your paper early enough, Dr. Kimbrough will be happy to meet with you
in person and suggest improvements.
Philosophy asks big and important questions. What should we
value? Are values subjective or objective? What is the mind, and how is it
related to the body? No one should be surprised that questions like these receive
widely varying answers. As such, an introduction to philosophy cannot consist
in a survey of agreed upon theories or results, but must rather explore
differing accounts of the nature of philosophy and philosophical method. The
course text provides a selection of works by both historical and contemporary
authors that serve as models of rigorous thinking about difficult questions,
providing both the context and the provocation for you to develop your own
views. To help you develop the skills necessary to the task, the course
emphasizes discussion, writing, textual interpretation, and analysis of
- Because there is no
philosophical theory that each student is expected to accept at the end of
the semester, it is sometimes hard to tell what kind of progress is being
made in a philosophy class. The key is to understand that the objectives
of this course are related to the process of thought, not to its
- Students who take
Introduction to Philosophy will:
- Learn about major
philosophical figures, themes and methods that shaped Western
- Develop skill at
reading and interpreting primary texts
- Learn to understand and
explain the views of others, including especially views with which they
- Sharpen their writing
skills through regular writing assignments, learning to use textual
evidence and to justify conclusions rationally
- Hone critical thinking
skills by formulating and responding to objections
- Allhoff, Mallon and Nichols (eds.). Philosophy: Traditional and Experimental
Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. 2013.
- Final grades will be
calculated using a 1,000 point scale. Your final grade will be determined
by the following table:
- A: 930 or higher
- A-: 900-929
- B+: 870-899
- B: 830-869
- B-: 800-829
- C+: 770-799
- C: 730-769
- C-: 700-729
- D+: 670-699
- D: 630-669
- D-: 600-629
- F: 599 or lower
- Extra credit: Any extra
credit points you earn are added to your total, not averaged. So don’t worry if your grade in the gradebook
is, for example, “2/10.” You didn’t flunk the extra credit. You just
earned 2 of the 10 points available in that category.
- Preparation: This course focuses on
reading, writing, and discussion. As such, it is critical that each
student read the assigned material before class. Some of the readings are
very difficult and may require more than one reading to become
- Participation and
Participation in discussions is expected. If you do not attend class you
will quickly become lost, as the texts for the course are very difficult
- Reading and review
points each = 100 points): 5 question, multiple choice quizzes will be
given at the beginning of each class. Three of the questions are designed
to insure students have read the material for the day, while the other two
questions review material covered in the previous class. Students who are
absent can make up these quizzes prior
to (not during) the next class they are able to attend.
- Presentation of
(100 points): Each student will sign up for a date to present objections
to the theories of the philosophers being covered. Instructions are posted
in the Resources and Announcements section above.
- Exams (125 points each = 250
points): Two exams will be given. The exams cover terminology, major
arguments, replies to objections, etc. The exams are open book and open
notes. As such, the questions stress comprehension, including the ability
to make appropriate inferences and apply philosophical theories.
- Papers (125 points each = 375
points): Three maximum three page papers will be assigned. Papers will
respond to objections raised in the student presentations. The response
has two parts: an explanation of how the philosopher would respond to the
objection, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of that response. Use of
textual evidence is required. Late papers will be penalized 5 points per
day late. The topics will be posted in the due dates and paper topics
- Final Exam (175 points): The final exam includes two parts: an exam on the
final two units (125 points), and two essays integrating material from
multiple units (50 points). The integrative essays may include material
from any of the six units.
- Extra Credit for Attending
(up to 15 extra points): There will be up to three philosophy slams this
semester. Attendees will receive 5 points for attendance at each slam.
- Extra Credit for
(up to 10 extra points): Attendees will receive extra credit points for
attending approved events, up to a maximum of 10 points. A list of
approved events is updated below throughout the semester. Each event
counts for one point of extra credit, though some events count for more.
The list of events below specifies when extra points are available.
- Any form of academic
dishonesty, including cheating on exams, plagiarism, etc., will result in
a zero on the relevant assignment. In addition to this class-level
penalty, the university punishes cases of academic misconduct. These
policies are described in the JU catalog section on “Academic Integrity
- Definition of
plagiarism: Plagiarism consists in copying or closely paraphrasing the
work of another, in whole or in part, without citing the source.
accommodations will be made upon request for students with documented
- It is sometimes
necessary to revise the syllabus during the course of the semester.
Students will be notified in class, on the course web page, and/or via
Blackboard announcements of any pertinent changes to due dates,
assignments, grading policies, classroom policies, etc.
- The readings and dates
on this list are subject to change. Please check back for updates.
- 1/11 Virtue ethics:
Aristotle (495-498, 506-515)
- 1/16 Empirical
challenges to Aristotle’s theory: Doris (501-502, 532-542)
- 1/18 Deontology: Kant
- 1/23 Consequentialism:
Mill (499-501, 523-532)
- 1/25 Brain studies and
moral reasoning: Greene (502-503, 543-548)
- 1/30 Morality and
custom: Herodotus, Plato, and Rachels (431-436,
- 2/1 Emotivism: Ayer
- 2/6 Error theory:
Mackie (434-435, 453-458)
- 2/8 Empirical
meta-ethics: Doris and Stich (438-439, 474-487)
- 2/13 First exam
- Free will and moral
Compatibilism and Libertarianism: Nielsen and Chisholm (332-334, 340-350)
- 2/20 class canceled
- 2/22 Frankfurt
Brain studies: Wegner and Mele (336-337,
- 3/1 Plato and the
Socratic method (549-551, 556-563)
- 3/6 Stich’s
naturalistic critique of conceptual analysis (552-554, 567-571)
- 3/8 Second exam
- Philosophy of Mind (Readings
from the Consciousness and Mental States chapters)
- 3/20 Substance dualism:
Descartes readings from both the Mental States and Consciousness chapters
(193-196, 203-209, 290-291)
- 3/22 Objections to
dualism: Bloom and Phelan (209-216)
- 3/27 Idealism: Leibniz
- 3/29 Qualia: Huxley and
- 4/3 Qualia: Chalmers
- 4/5 Critique of
Chalmers: Patricia Churchland and Tye (283-286, 309-315, 320-321)
- 4/10 Eliminative
materialism: Paul Churchland and Fodor (196-199
(skip the section on “eliminativism’s reliance
on arguments from reference”), 217-220, 229-234)
- 4/12 Dennett’s mild
realism: (199-200, 235-251)
- 4/17 Theory of mind: Gopnik & Wellman (200-201, 252-269)
- 4/19 Mind and morals: Knobe (201, 272-279)
- To receive extra credit,
you must write your name on the sign-in sheet or, if there is no sign-in
sheet, bring a program, ticket, cell-phone picture, or other evidence of
- Each event is worth one
extra credit point unless stated otherwise.
- The list will be updated
regularly throughout the semester. If you know of an event that is not on
the list, ask before attending and it will be added if appropriate.
- 2 points extra credit:
The JU English Department presents author Steve Berry on February 6th.
Reception at 6:00 and presentation at 6:45 in Terry Concert Hall.
- 5 points extra credit.
February 7th at 7:00pm at Sahara’s restaurant on Beach Blvd,
Dr. Kimbrough leads a philosophy slam sponsored by UNF on the topic of
U.S. gun policy.
- 5 points extra credit.
March 6th at the River House at 7:30pm. Dr. Sally Fischer of
Warren Wilson College leads a philosophy slam asking the question “What is
- 5 points extra credit.
April 3rd at the River House at 7:30pm. Shri Hamilton-Hubbard
leads a philosophy slam on the topic “The Philosophy of Yoga: Can you wrap
your head around that?”
- 5 points extra credit.
April 10th in Gooding Auditorium at 7:00pm. Marilyn Piety of
Drexel University presents a lecture entitled “Getting Kierkegaard Wrong.”
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