Instructor: Edwin George
Summer Quarter 2010
Phil&101 – Intro to Philosophy
This course will provide an
introduction to the major philosophers and ideas which have shaped the western
philosophical tradition. Though there are many different ways to approach
a course such as this, we will be taking a historical approach. We will
begin with the earliest philosophers in ancient Greece and continue up to our
present era. We will also spend a brief interlude learning about an some
influential eastern schools of philosophy, namely Buddhism, Taoism, and
You can expect this to be
a fairly challenging course. You will be required to do a great deal of
reading. And, on top of that, you will be participating in online
discussions, taking exams and quizzes. Nevertheless, I believe you will
find the course quite interesting and well worth the effort.
This course is designed to:
you to some of the influential thinkers and ideas that have contributed to
the world which we all presently inhabit.
- Provide you with an historical context and a vocabulary to enter
into the extended "conversation of humankind" which philosophy
you to personally engage the perennial problems which have concerned
philosophers throughout the ages.
your ability to read well, evaluate arguments and to think critically.
your communication skills.
- Give you an opportunity to develop research skills for academic
Archetypes of Wisdom, Douglass J. Soccio (seventh
Sophie's World, Jostein Gaardner
- To provide additional reading of the philosophers, you can go to
the Class Library.
Philosophy, in particular, is a discipline which requires discussion,
dialogue, and occasionally debate. In other words, while requiring
introspection and self-examination, philosophy is at heart a very social
activity. For that reason your participation will improve you ability to
think, to reason, to dialogue--it will also make the class more
interesting for you and everyone else. In designing activities for
the course I take for granted that you have read, understood, and thought
about the assigned reading. A good percentage of your grade will be for
- Reading Assignments:
assignments are posted on the Schedule. Please note that you will be
responsible for reading all of the assignments regardless of whether or
not the material is covered in lecture or classroom discussion. The
quizzes and exams will assume that you have read all the assigned
- Academic honesty and the highest standards of
ethical behavior when preparing papers and taking exams is expected.
Plagarism, collusion in the writing of papers and exams, may result in
your failure in the course and referral for disciplinary action.
- There will be two essay exams, each worth 100 points.
- There will be 10 weekly timed quizzes to test your reading
comprehension, each will be worth 20 points.
- Your participation in the class activities will be worth
20% of your grade. This participation will consist of involvement in four
The grade distribution will be as follows:
Percentage of Overall Grade
Exam 2 (Final)
Online Discussions (4)
- Consistently superior scores on exams.
- Assignments completed in prescribed form, on time, with evidence
of careful research on subject matter and planned presentation.
- Consistently shows independent thinking in terms of the subject
matter of the course, either in written assignments and/or class
- Shows grasp of relationships among various parts of subject.
- Applies learning to new situations.
- Asks questions which are appropriate and stimulate relevant discussion.
- Participates actively as a leader in online discussions.
- Consistently above average achievement on examinations.
- Assignments completed in prescribed form and on time; above
average in quality.
- Demonstrates independent thinking in written assignments and/or
- Shows grasp of general organization of subject matter by noting
parallels in written assignments and discussions.
- Demonstrates that the reasons for learning subject matter are
understood and some applications made.
- Asks questions which clarify presentation of the subject and
demonstrate above average knowledge.
- Participates actively as a leader in online discussions.
- Satisfactory scores on examinations.
- Assignments completed in correct form, on time, and of an
- Presents evidence of satisfactory grasp of assigned subject
matter, either written assignments and/or class discussions.
- Shows satisfactory grasp of organization of subject matter.
- Demonstrates some understanding of the relationship of the
subject to academic, vocational, or social goals.
- Asks relevant questions.
- Participates actively in online discussions.
- Below average examination scores but high enough to
show better-than-chance responses.
- Assignments completed in imperfect form or not
completed on time; quality of work is marginal.
- Shows grasp of individual units of subject matter
but little evidence of inter-relationships.
- Shows some application of material, but with little
- Is a passive listener rather than an active
participant in class discussion.
- Participates in online discussions.
- Unsatisfactory test scores.
- Assignments omitted, incomplete or unacceptable.
- Is inattentive in class.
- Demonstrates little or no interest in or
comprehension of subject matter.
- Unsatisfactory progress toward achieving intended
- Does not participate in online discussions.
Here are a few recommendations for doing well in this
- Make a commitment to yourself and your classmates to
do well. Your positive attitude will be infectious and can transform the
- Form study groups with fellow students and work with
them regularly. You'll understand the materials better and perhaps
you'll make some new friends
- Study at least two hours for every hour of the
class. Use the time to highlight and mark your text, review class notes,
and otherwise prepare for class. Do not let yourself get behind in
- This is an online class and will require that you
are a self-starter. You will need to develop the discipline to keep
up with the readings and assignments.
- If something is confusing you, formulate and submit
questions to me in class or via the discussion list. I will post responses
on the list so all may benefit from your question.
- Make the library an important place in your life. Learn to use
its resources effectively.
- Explore the internet resources I have compiled for
you in the Class Library. Use them to dig deeper into the topics we study
and to find out more about the philosophers who interest you.