PHIL 1313 Introduction to Philosophy Sections 08 Fall 2012 Philosophy Department

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1 PHIL 1313 Introduction to Philosophy Sections 08 Fall 2012 Philosophy Department COURSE DESCRIPTION A foundational course designed to familiarize the student with the meaning and relevance of philosophy through a study of its main problems and the principal theories that have been proposed as solutions to them. (HBU Catalog ) INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION Name: Dr. Paul R. Shockley Website: Office Phone: TBA Office Location: ATW TBA Office Hours: TBA LEARNING RESOURCES Plato. Five Dialogues. 2nd Edition. Translated by G. M. A. Grube. Revised by John M. Cooper. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Christopher Rowe. Edited by Sarah Broadie. New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN St. Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustine. Translated by John K. Ryan. New York: Doubleday, ISBN Aquinas, Thomas. Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings. Edited by Ralph McInerny. London: Penguin Books, ISBN Rene Descartes. Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies. Revised Edition. Translated and edited by John Cottingham. New York: Cambridge University Press, ISBN George Berkeley. Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Phil. New York: Penguin Books, ISBN Søren Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling. Edited by C. Stephen Evans and Translated by Sylvia Walsh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN Friedrich Nietzsche. The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. Edited by Michael Tanner. New York: Penguin Classics, ISBN Other Required Materials: Augustine s City of God PDF excerpt will be available on website and Blackboard as will handouts and other supplementary materials. 1

2 COURSE OBJECTIVES This course introduces students to the discipline of philosophy, understood essentially as the loving pursuit of wisdom. We will undertake this pursuit of wisdom together: reading texts by some of the greatest thinkers in the Western tradition, discovering what big questions they found important, and contemplating their answers. Philosophers are concerned with universal and timeless questions such as: What is really true? How do we know what we know? What does it mean to be a good and virtuous human being? How do we become good? Why should we be good at all? What is happiness, and how do we find it? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Is there a God, and if so, how do we come to know this God? We will focus on asking what it means to love wisdom and to live a life in pursuit of it. We also hope that you will learn what it means to do philosophy, why it is important, and how to approach these big questions with a humble, honest, and careful mind and heart. We want this course to be a delightful and enriching experience for you. We are convinced that philosophy is an essential part of human life. We are all thinkers, and in this sense, we are also all philosophers. But, the question is whether we do it well or badly. Doing philosophy well is not easy, and this course will indeed be a challenge. But if you take this challenge seriously and engage these thinkers and questions sincerely, this can be one of the most exciting courses of your college experience. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to accomplish the following objectives: Intellectual Objectives To understand the significance, presuppositions, and purpose of philosophy. To reflect on what is involved in a distinctively Christian approach to philosophy. To become more aware of your own presuppositions and worldview by learning to read and understand other philosophers, and to think and reason philosophically. Affective Objectives To become excited about studying great thinkers and cultivate a passion for the lifelong pursuit of wisdom. To alleviate your fears or suspicions of philosophy: that it is too difficult, opposed to your religious faith, or simply boring. To continue to develop in the formation of a moral, virtuous character and way of life. Volitional Objectives To learn to see wisdom as an end in itself and as a way to recognize the substance and value of your own humanity. To rediscover a childlike wonder about the world and to feed this hunger by asking big questions in the context of a faith seeking understanding. Transformational Objectives To see the university and the classroom not merely as a marketplace where information is bought and sold, but where a student s soul is enriched and transformed. RELATION TO DEPARTMENTAL GOALS AND PURPOSES The mission of the Department of Philosophy is to enhance the student s ability to read classic texts in the history of philosophy, express the ideas found in those texts accurately, and engage in dialogue with those ideas; students will also be challenged to display a command of logic and sound reasoning, as well as research skills employing primary and secondary literature. 2

3 By structuring the semester in a way that consists first in defining and exploring the Christian worldview and secondly in close reading of great texts in the history of philosophy, the entire course aims to fulfill the goal of engaging the history of philosophy from a Christian perspective in an atmosphere of open inquiry. Additionally, in your papers and test you will need to be logical and reason well. Finally, in your papers you will practice research skills using primary and secondary texts. RELATION TO COLLEGE GOALS AND PURPOSES This course is designed to support the mission of the College of Arts and Humanities: To develop intellectual, moral and aesthetic growth in its students While all the great texts we will read and discuss are perfectly suited to fulfill this mission, particular texts are especially helpful in developing the student s intellectual, moral, and aesthetic growth, respectively. The logical rigor and focus on clear argumentation in Aquinas and Descartes aid in intellectual growth. As for moral development, Plato and Aristotle offer insight into the ethical and religious life and aim to nurture virtue in their readers. Finally, the indirect style of communication and poetic approach to philosophy found in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche can nourish the student s aesthetic development. St. Augustine shows a way to bring the intellectual, moral, and aesthetic elements together in order to form human beings holistically and put these gifts into the service of God and neighbor RELATION TO THE PURPOSE STATEMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY The mission of Houston Baptist University is to provide a learning experience that instills in students a passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence as a result of our central confession, "Jesus Christ is Lord." In keeping with HBU s goal of promoting the growth of the whole person, this course engages great texts by Christian thinkers such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Søren Kierkegaard that exemplify the unity of heart, mind, and will, and of faith and reason. The ancient texts of Plato and Aristotle are particularly helpful in fostering strength of character, moral virtue, and life-long learning and service to God and to the community. (HBU Catalog ) ATTENDANCE Please see the official Attendance Policy in the HBU Classroom Policy on Blackboard. Students missing more than 25% of the class will be given a failing grade. ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS Students needing learning accommodations should inform the professor immediately and consult the Academic Accommodations section of the HBU Classroom Policy posted on Blackboard. COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADE SCALE Course Requirements 1 st Paper Draft An argumentative paper on a topic selected by the instructor. A specific writing prompt will be given out in class. Since PHIL 1313 is a QEP W-course, this paper will be scored according to the QEP rubric which will be posted on the course s Blackboard site. Grades will take into account the QEP score as well as other factors. (~1000 words) 10% 3

4 1 ST paper draft due to Blackboard by 11:59pm on Monday, September 24, Revised Paper Draft A revision of the 1 st Paper Draft based on detailed feedback given by the instructor. This revision will be scored and graded according to the same QEP Rubric as the 1 st draft. (~1200 words): 20% Revised paper due to Blackboard by 11:59pm on Friday, November 9, Midterm Objective format exam covering the ancient and medieval philosophers: 20% Scantron 882 E form will be needed & # 2 pencil. Exam may involve matching; multiple choice; true/false. Bring clean and unused blue book for extra credit. Exam will cover required readings and lectures. Final Cumulative objective format exam on the day of the final: 20% Scantron 882 E form will be needed & # 2 pencil. Exam may involve matching; multiple choice; true/false. Bring clean and unused blue book for extra credit. Exam will cover required readings and lectures. Reading Assessment such as Journals, Quizzes, Study Questions, etc: 25% Proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar must be exercised. Grading Standards 1 st paper draft = 100 points Revised Paper draft = 250 points Midterm = 200 points Final = 200 points Reading Assessment = 250 points points is an A in the course points is a B in the course points is a C in the course points is a D in the course. <600 points results in a F in the course. Student Appraisal Student evaluation of the instructor will follow university policy. LATE WORK & TEST POLICY Every test and paper must be completed to pass the course. Late journals will not be accepted, and for every 24 hour period after the due date/time papers will penalized 5 points. The 2 nd paper cannot be turned in later than the day of the final. Student Signature I have read and understand the syllabus for this class. I understand that the content of this syllabus and the topical outline are subject to change at the discretion of the professor. I have read and understand the HBU Classroom Policy posted on Black Board. I promise to uphold the Code of Academic Integrity at Houston Baptist University and will not tolerate its violation by others. 4

5 TOPICAL OUTLINE Section 08: TR 12:30pm to 1:45pm in Hinton 210 I. ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY: A. August 21: Introduction to Philosophy B. August 23: Presocratic Overview & Socrates Euthyphro C. August 28: Plato s Apology D. August 30: Plato s Phaedo E. September 4: Introduction to Aristotle s Philosophy Last day to drop without a W is September 5, 2012; Last day to drop with a W is October 26, F. September 6: Aristotle s Nicomachean Ethics: Books I-IV G. September 11: Aristotle s Nicomachean Ethics: Books VI & X H. September 13: Review of Presocratic and Ancient Philosophy II. MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY: A. September 18: Introduction to Medieval Philosophy: Augustine & Aquinas: B. September 20: Augustine s Confessions (Books I-V) 1 st paper draft due to Blackboard by 11:59pm on Monday, September 24, 2012 C. September 25: Augustine s Confessions (Books VI-IX) and City of God (selections will be available on D. September 27: A closer look at Aquinas E. October 2: Aquinas: Summa Contra Gentiles F. October 4: Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles continued. G. October 9: Aquinas: Summa Theologiae H. October 11: Review of Augustine and Aquinas I. October 16: Mid-Term Exam! Be on time to class! III. MODERN PHILOSOPHY: A. October 18: Introduction to Modern Philosophy B. October 23: Introduction to Descartes Meditations of First Philosophy A. October 25: Descartes: Meditations continued B. November 1: Berkeley: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous C. November 6: Introduction to Hume & Kant D. November 8: Continued lecture on Hume & Kant Revised paper due to Blackboard by 11:59pm on Friday, November 9, E. November 13: Introduction to Nihilism and Nietzsche: Twilight of the Idols F. November 15: TBA: Begin reading Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard. G. November 20: Existentialism: Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling H. November 29: Review of History of Philosophy 5

6 Final Exam Time: Section 08: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 from 11:30am-1:30pm: Final Cumulative Exam. Scantron 882 E form will be needed & # 2 pencil. Exam may involve matching; multiple choice; true/false. Bring clean and unused blue book for extra credit. *The content of this outline and the attached schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the professor. HOW TO DO WELL IN THIS COURSE Carefully read assigned work. Proactively bombard your assigned readings with the following questions: why, where, what, when, who, and so what? Consider making an outline of the major units of thought in your readings. As you formulate your outline from the reading, ask yourself the following question: What do I see? The more observations you make, the better your interpretation of the author s position or claim may be. Afterwards ask, What does it mean? After you outline the author s position/claim go back and see what arguments are being provided to support that position or claim. Keep asking yourself, What is the issue? Then consider what objections can be raised against that issue, position, or claim. Lastly, what replies can be given to defend the position or claim? You should consult with me as often as possible to make sure you are understanding the material. Do not wait until the day before a test to begin studying. This is not the kind of course for which you can cram and expect to do well. Take advantage of the office hours. Consider forming study groups to prepare for quizzes and exams. Those who sit front and central statistically do better on their exams. Try to read when you are at your best (e.g.., if you are a morning person, then make a way to study philosophy in the morning and not late at night). Make sure you are able to contact another student for lecture material in case you happen to miss a class (es). Eight Strategies for First-Rate Studying: Read Thoughtfully Read Repeatedly Read Patiently Read Selectively Read Imaginatively Read Purposefully Read Acquisitively Read Telescopically If you want to improve your reading comprehension skills I would encourage you to purchase Mortimer J. Adler s informative work, How to Read a Book. 6

7 10 maxims I encourage you to inculcate into your life in order to achieve academic success: 1. Be focused! Your energy, time, and discipline need to be bent on becoming the very best. Focus on what really counts. Do not allow yourself to become diverted by the trivial and unimportant. 2. Be holistic! Pro-actively make decisions and pursue interests in your daily life that will assist you in obtaining success. Your resources must always be redirected to your goal. 3. Be undivided! Do not separate one are of your life from another. Pursuing opposing interests may marginalize your success because it divides up your energy, time, resources, and attention. 4. Be determined! Academic progress is rough, ever so time-consuming, and ever so demanding. Meet every demand with a determination for excellence. Learn from your mistakes. Pick yourself up when you fail and press on! 5. Be resilient! Do not give up. You will perhaps fail some time or another during your program. You may even become depress from the critical feedback you receive from your professors and peers. When those times come, and they do for most if not all, you must pick yourself up again-for accomplishing the goal is worth facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 6. Be sacrificial! Purposefully let go of those things that will hinder your success. Willfully discard every hindrance and degenerative influence that will keep you from achieving your goal with a passion for excellence. Routinely examine your life and see what is encouraging or discouraging you from reaching excellence. 7. Be healthy! Realize, as Aristotle states, that one area of your life impacts all other areas, whether intellectual, physical, or moral. Take very tender care of your mind, soul, and body. You need to strive to be holistically healthy-for if you are not mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy, then you may easily become fatigued, develop inner angst, regret, disappointment, and waiver in the completion of your goals. Remember, a good night sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. 8. Be supported! Cultivate a network of people who will exhort you to succeed! Develop relationships with peers who are also bent on achieving success. 9. Be excellent! Successful students realize the importance of cultivating a disposition, i.e., an inner character, which desires intellectual and moral excellence. Seek to desire excellence. Aristotle encourages us to do deeds of excellence until excellence becomes habitual in our personhood. 10. Be balanced! Learn how to balance having fun with hard work. Don t ignore those opportunities to relax or play hard. In fact, pursue them! But do not allow those opportunities to displace your study opportunities. Remember, learning is pleasurable! One of the dangers for those who do achieve success is the problem of malnourishment. Successful people may reach their long-term goals, but so many of them starve themselves in the process. Do not so focus on your goals that you miss out on dynamic opportunities that can nourish your person, inform your circumstance, grow your character, and enlarge your world. In other words, do not so focus on the future that you neglect the blessings that are right in front of you. Go forth and seize each and every day with a passion for excellence! 7

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