Phil 1000: Introduction to Philosophy

Spring 2018

Course Syllabus

Schedule (subject to change!)

Below is a tentative schedule of what topics we will cover, and what reading(s) you should complete BEFORE each class meeting.

M, Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- No Class
Suggested Video: “I Have a Dream” speech

W, Jan 17

Lecture Topic: About this course—An Intro to Intro to Philosophy
Reading assignment: None

F, Jan 19

A Brief Intro to Philosophy and its Methods
Reread course syllabus
Required Video (1.5 hrs)- History of the World
Read:This is Philosophy Preface

M, Jan 22

Philosophy and its Methods, Critical Thinking
Reading: Haskins “Critical Thinking
Suggested film: Idiocracy

W, Jan 24

Logic (validity and soundness)
Reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested TV show: “Sherlock” or “Elementary”

F, Jan 26

Logic- Continued
Re-read: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

M, Jan 29

Logic- continued
Reading: Re-read: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested  humorous reading: Dave Barry “How to Win an Argument

W, Jan 31

Logic- continued
Reading: Re-read: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

F, Feb 2 Finish Logic

M, Feb 5

Informal Fallacies
Reading: Informal Fallacies
Short Video:

W, Feb 7 

Informal Fallacies- continued

F, Feb 9 Finish Informal Fallacies **Homework Assignment Given Out**
Reread: Informal Fallacies

M, Feb 12

**Homework Due**
Epistemology- Truth, Evidence and Knowledge
Reading:This Is Philosophy Chapter 7, part I (p. 223-246)

W, Feb 14

Knowledge, Skepticism, and the Method of Doubt
Reading: This Is Philosophy Chapter 7,  part II (p. 246-262)
Required film: “The Matrix"
Suggested Reading: Descartes, “Meditations on First Philosophy” Meditations 1&2
Suggested film: “The 13th Floor”

F, Feb 16 Finish Epistemology and Skepticism
Suggested reading: Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”
Suggested film: “Inception”

M, Feb 19

The Nature and Concept of God
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)
Video: (Preview- 10min) The God Delusion Debate—Lennox vs Dawkins
Suggested videos: Lennox vs. Dawkins Debate- Has Science Buried God?
Lennox- God Does Exist
Suggested TV Show: Family Guy S8 Ep.1 "Road to the Multiverse"

W, Feb 21

Arguments for God- continued
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)
Humerous(?) Reading: Flying Spaghetti Monster

F, Feb 23 Arguments for God- Teleological and Pascal's Wager
Videos: Intelligent Design and Pascal's Wager
Reread: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 63-95)

M, Feb 26

Arguments against God’s existence- The Problem of Evil
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 3 (p. 95-108)
Suggested Video (50 min): Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
Suggested film: “Star Trek T.N.G.: Q Who” (or any episode with Q)

W, Feb 28

Free will- Do we have it, or are our actions determined?
Reading:  This Is Philosophy Ch. 4
Video: Sam Harris- Free Will (1hr- not required to watch Q&A)

F, Mar 2 **MID-TERM EXAM**

M, Mar 5

Ethics, Egoism, and Individual Relativism
Reading: This Is Philosophy Chapter 1 ( p.1-6 & p.10-18)

W, Mar 7

Cultural Relativism (continued)
Reading: Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Suggested film: “Avatar”

F, Mar 9 Cultural Relativism (continued)
Suggested film: “Enemy Mine”

M, Mar 12

Topic and Reading: TBA

W, Mar 14

Divine Command Theory- Is God the source of morality?
Reading: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”

F,  Mar 16 DCT and the Euthyphro Dilemma
Reading: TBA

M, Mar 19

Normative Ethics: Utilitarianism
Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 27-42)
Video: “The Trolley Problem”
Suggested film: “Sophie’s Choice” or “Ender’s Game”

W, Mar 21

Utilitarianism continued
Strongly Suggested Reading: Mill- Utilitarianism (excerpt)
Suggested Reading: Judith Jarvis Thomson
"The Trolley Problem"

F, Mar 23 Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Suggested TV show: “Dexter”

M, Mar 26

Spring Break- no class

W, Mar 28

Spring Break- no class

F, Mar 30 Spring Break- no class

M, Apr 2

Responses to Objections to Utilitarianism
Reading: re-read Rachels “The Debate over Utilitarianism
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Optional Video: Sam Harris - What can science tell us about morality?

W, Apr 4

Finish Utilitarianism and Objections
**Homework assignment given**

F, Apr 6 Topics and Reading TBA

M, Apr 9

**Homework assignment due**
Applied ethics- Poverty and World Hunger
Reading: Peter Singer, excerpt from "Life You Can Save"
Poverty Facts and Stats
Foreign Aid Infographic
Suggested Video: Sobering Stats on Poverty

W, Apr 11

Applied ethics- Poverty and World Hunger (continued)
Reading: Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Video (short): Key and Peele “Save a Child"

F, Apr 13

Singer- continued
Reading TBA

M, Apr 16

Reading: This Is Philosophy Ch. 2 (p. 42-52)
Suggested film: “Watchmen”

W, Apr 18

Deontology continued
Reading: Onora O'Neill "A Simplified Account of Kant's Ethics"

F, Apr 20 Virtue Ethics
Reading: This Is Philosophy  Ch. 2 (p. 52-61)
Short excerpt from Ben Franklin's Autobiography
Suggested films: Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings” or Dumbledore in “Harry Potter”

M, Apr 23

Finish Ethics
Reading TBA

W, Apr 25

The Meaning of Life
Reading: Susan Wolf, “Meaning in Life”
Strongly suggested film: “Meet Joe Black”

F, Apr 27 The Meaning of Life (continued)
Reading: Taylor, “The Meaning of Life
M, Apr 30 Happiness and the Meaning of Life (continued)
Video: Randy Pausch- “Last Lecture”
Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”
W, May 2 Topic TBA
Reading: United Nations- “Universal Declaration of Human Rights


on official day scheduled by Registrar’s office (Posted in your mycuinfo)



Additional Resources for Students

Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (J. Pryor)
Writing Philosophy Essays (M. Tooley)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Oh the power of learning philosophy...

1/12/18: Time for the new semester! Materials for Spring 2018 courses are posted in the Courses/Teaching section.

5/6/16: I'm honored to be the first person to receive both the Philosophy Department Morriston Teaching Award (2016) and the University of Colorado Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Award (2014-2015)! My thanks go out to the many great teachers and students with whom I've been lucky enough to learn!

Office Hours: MWF, 1:30pm-2:20pm.
Location: Innisfree Coffee on the Hill.

Please feel free to drop by with any questions, or simply to chat about philosophy, life, the universe and everything...

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