Phil 102A F10: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 102A: Introduction to Philosophy: Reality and Knowledge

Fall 2010

CRN 43135 TTH 2:20-3:45 PM Location: K-505

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Description: This course is an introductory study of the aims, methods, types and problems of philosophy and philosophical inquiry. Emphasis is placed on the nature of reality and knowledge. Materials for this survey of philosophy may draw from classical and contemporary thinkers. Students are encouraged to articulate, analyze, and evaluate their own beliefs/positions in the context of meaningful philosophical inquiry. This course is intended for anyone concerned with human existence and humanity's place in the universe.

Texts: There is only one text for the class, and all readings are from it. The text is:

Classics of Western Philosophy, 7th edition. Steven M. Cahn ed. Hackett, 2006.

Reading assignments can be found on the schedule.

Assignments: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on three types of assignments:

  1. Weekly Quizzes: Almost every Tuesday there will be a quiz at the beginning of class on the material we covered the previous week. These quizzes will collectively be worth 20% of your grade. These quizzes cannot be made up if missed.
  2. Class Participation: This is worth 10% of your grade and is based on attendance and participation in class activities. Student who are very tardy or who leave early will be considered absent.
  3. Exams: There will be three exams (including the final) and each exam will be worth 20% of your grade in the course. The final exam will be comprehensive.
  4. Final Project: All students will complete a final project during the last few weeks of the course. Though this project is only worth 10% of your grade, failure to complete the project will result in an F in the course. More details about the project will be announced in class and on this site at a later date. 

Grade Scale:

    ≥ 90 = A
    ≥ 80 = B
    ≥ 70 = C
    ≥ 60 = D
    < 60 = F

Academic Integrity and Conduct: Mesa College students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct, Policy 3100.  In this course, cheating, plagiarism, disruptions of instructional activity, fraud and/or lying will result in, at a minimum, a grade of “F” for the assignment/test with no make up permitted.  Any of these infractions may result in an “F” for the course as well and formal disciplinary action by the Dean of Student Affairs as described in the code (as published in the catalog or online).

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-2780.


All readings can be found in Classics of Western Philosophy 7th edition. Steven M. Cahn ed. Hackett, 2006. Page numbers refer to this edition. Reading assignments are subject to change and are expected to be completed for the day on which they are assigned.

Week 1

Tuesday, August 24: Introduction
Thursday, August 26: Plato, "Meno" (pp. 3-19)

Week 2

August 31: Continue Discussion from Previous Day
September 2: Plato, Republic Book VII (pp. 160-63).

Week 3

September 7: Aristotle, Physics (pp. 197 202-213)
September 9: Continue Discussion from Previous Day
For Tuesday, closely read Chapter 8 of Book 2 (pages 207-209) and try to figure out why Aristotle rejects the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Week 4

September 14: Extra Day
September 16:
Sextus Empiricus, "Outlines of Pyrrhonism" (pp. 337- 341 354)

Week 5

September 21: Watch film in class 12 Angry Men (1957)
September 23: Continue Film

Week 6

September 28: Review
September 30: FIRST MIDTERM

Week 7

October 5: Anselm, Proslogion (pp. 413-424). Only read the following Chapters: 2-4, 6-8, 13, 19. Also read "Gaunilo's Reply on Behalf of the Fool" (pp. 425-427)
October 7: Anselm Con't

Week 8

October 12: Aquinas, Summa Theologica Question II: The Existence of God (pp. 450-453)
October 14: Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Introduction and Meditation I (pp. 484-492)

Week 9

October 19: Descartes, Meditations II and III (pp. 492-503)
October 21:
Extra Day

Week 10

October 26: Finish Descartes; Begin film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
October 28: Continue Film

Week 11

November 2: Review

Week 12

November 9: Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (pp. 708-714)
November 11: Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (pp. 767-776)

Week 13

November 16: Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript (pp. 1050-1055)
November 18: Extra Day


Week 15

November 30: Continue Kierkegaard
December 2: Watch Film in Class

Week 16

December 7: Continue Film
December 9: In-Class Peer Editing (Bring two copies of your rough draft to class)

Week 17

December 14: Review for Final
December 16:  FINAL EXAM (Final Paper Due)