Introduction to Philosophy








This Introduction to Philosophy course is a critical introduction to the field of philosophical inquiry. After defining philosophy and identifying the major fields of philosophical study, the course examines the history of Western thought, from the famous Greek philosophers up to the cutting-edge intellectuals of today. The course then dives into various thematic topics, including metaphysics, epistemology, free will and determinism, evil and the existence of God, personal identity, ethical values, and political philosophy. The course concludes with an analysis of different perspectives, including Eastern philosophies, and post-colonial thought.

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Course Objectives

Identify the major philosophical controversies.
Evaluate the Socratic method and the basic principles of logic.
Evaluate the contributions of Descartes to the debates on the meaning of knowledge and existence.
Analyze the concepts of empiricism with reference to the theories of Locke, Hume, and Berkeley.
Analyze Kant’s theory that experience is the result of sense data processed by the mind and relate it to modern cognitivism and constructivism.
Explore the concepts of structuralism and deconstruction.
Understand the main ideas of existentialism as a counter to Hegelian Absolute Idealism.
Examine some modern approaches to the debate on the mental-physical divide.
Compare the approaches of Kant, Nietzsche, and the pragmatists to the concept of knowledge.
Analyze the theories that see mental states as functional states and examine their implications.
Critically evaluate the concepts of free will and determinism.
Examine the cosmological arguments for the existence of God.
Compare theories that insist on universal values with those that argue that values are culture specific.
Critically examine theories that see the self as a self-generating process rather than as a static entity.
Compare Mill’s and Marx’s views on the relation between the individual and the state.
Examine the teachings of Taoism, Confucianism, Zen Buddhism and other Eastern influences on philosophy.

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    Introduction to Philosophy
    Introduction to Philosophy
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