Short Course Description
What is truth, and how can we know it? What is reality? How should we live our lives? How can we determine what is morally good? How should societies be organized? These are some examples of fundamental questions that lie at the heart of the discipline of philosophy. In this course, we will be introduced to the practice of philosophy in a thematic way. We will begin by asking: What is philosophy? How is it different from other forms of inquiry, thought, and reflection? We will then explore several main areas of the field: logic, epistemology (including philosophy of science), metaphysics (including questions relating to philosophy of religion and philosophy of mind), ethics, and politics. In each area, we will examine several key concepts and big questions, and we will be introduced to some important debates and influential thinkers. Some of the questions we will explore in these sub-fields include:
Full syllabus will be available to registered students only
Logic: What are rational ways to think, argue, and justify beliefs? What are not?
Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: What does it mean for something to be true? When are we justified in saying we know something, and what does that mean? What makes some knowledge ?scientific?? What is the difference between science and pseudo-science?
Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, and Philosophy of Mind: Can belief in God be rationally justified? How are thoughts connected to physical reality? Could a machine have conscious experiences?
Moral & Political Philosophy: Are there moral absolutes or is morality relative? How can one determine what is right and wrong morally? What is a justly governed society? How should material goods, rights, and liberties be allocated?
Course assessment will be based on a short take-home preliminary assignment and a final take-home exam.