Phil 110 S11: Schedule and Syllabus

PHILOSOPHY 110: Introduction to Philosophy
Spring 2011
Section 5641: MW 11:00-12:15
Location: F-506

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Ian Duckles
        Office Hours: By Appointment

TEXTBOOKVoices of Wisdom. Ed. Gary E. Kessler. Wadsworth, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-495-60153-1. The 7th edition of the text is available in the bookstore. You are welcome to use the 6th edition which can be found online for much less money.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this basic orientation the student explores, compares, analyzes, evaluates and discusses a variety of the principle questions addressed in philosophy. Typical questions examined are: What is the purpose of my existence? Can I know anything with certainty? Do I really have a free will? Can we prove that God exists? Why should I be moral? Whose self-interest counts?, etc. Issues covered will encompass relevant philosophical perspectives from Western and other major world cultures, and include contributions of women and minority cultures to the realm of philosophy.

 I have two major goals for this course: my first goal is to get you to see the relevance and significance of these important questions, as well as to see how these questions relate to your own life. Second, I want to introduce you to a number of important historical philosophers to explore how past thinkers have conceptualized and answered these important questions. Beyond this, I want to introduce you to a subject that I feel passionately about in the hopes that at least some of you will also come to feel about philosophy as I do. 

COURSE CALENDAR (topics and important dates included): Reading assignments are due on the day for which they are assigned. All page references are to the 7th edition of the text. Do not be concerned if we fall ahead or behind on this schedule. The most important goal is that everyone understand the concepts and problems. This schedule is subject to change. All changes will be announced in class and posted on the course website.
 Week 1
January 24 Introduction
 January 26                
What is Philosophy? 
    Read: Plato, "The Apology" (pp. 50-53)
 Week 2
January 31What is Philosophy? Con't.
    Finish Plato, "The Apology" (pp. 53-63)
 February 2Epistemology
    Read Al-Ghazali, "Deliverance from Error" (pp. 311-318)
 Week 3
February 7Epistemology
    Read Descartes, "Meditations I and II" (pp. 320-326)
 February 9Continue Descartes
 Week 4
February 14Epistemology
    Read Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (pp. 328-334)
 February 16Continue Hume
 Week 5
February 21NO CLASS
 February 23Extra Day
 Week 6
February 28Epistemology
    Watch Film in Class, Twelve Angry Men (1957).
 March 2Epistemology
    Continue and discuss film.
 Week 7
March 7Review for Midterm
 March 9Midterm 1
 Week 8
March 14Metaphysics: What is Really Real?
    Read Laozi, "Dao De Jing" (pp. 414-421)
 March 16
Metaphysics: What is Really Real?
    Read Plato, "The Republic" (pp. 423-430)
 Week 9
March 21Continue Plato
 March 23Metaphysics: What is Really Real? 
    Read Valadez, "Pre-Columbian Philosophical Perspectives" (pp. 446-451)
 Week 10
March 28Metaphysics: What is Really Real?
    Watch Film in Class: eXistenz (1999)
 March 30
Metaphysics: What is Really Real?
    Continue and discuss eXistenz
 Week 11
April 4Review for Midterm
 April 6Midterm 2
 Week 12
April 11Ethics: How Can I Know What is Right?    
    Read Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals" (pp. 82-87)
 April 13Continue Kant
 Week 13
 Week 14
April 25Ethics: How Can I Know What is Right?
    Read Mill, "What Utilitarianism Is" (pp. 89-95)
 April 27

Continue Mill
 Week 15
May 2Ethics: How Can I Know What is Right?
    Read Aristotle, "Nichomachean Ethics" (pp. 64-72)
 May 4Read Nietzsche, "On the Genealogy of Morals" (pp. 101-106)
 Week 16
May 9Ethics: How Can I Know What is Right?
    Watch Film in Class: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
 May 11Ethics: How Can I Know What is Right?
    Continue and discuss Film
 Week 17 May 16In-Class Peer Editing
  May 18Review for Final Exam
Essay Due

The Final Exam will be on Wednesday, May 25 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM in Room F-506.


Grading:    20% Midterm Examination 1
20% Midterm Examination 2
20% Final Examination
10% Final Paper Due on Last Day of Class. Though this is only worth 10% of your grade failure to complete this assignment of the associated pre-writing will result in an F in the course.
10% Attendance and Participation. Philosophy is a all about debate and discussion, so you will be expected to participate.

20% Pop Quizzes. These will be given at the start of class, they cannot be made up if missed.

A:     93-100 %

A-:    90-92 %

B+:   88-89 %

B:     83-87 %

B-:    80-82 %

C+:   78-79 %

C:     70-77 %

D:     60-69 %

F:     <60 %


Student Responsibility to Drop/Withdraw: It is the student’s responsibility to officially add, drop, or withdraw from the course stated in the class schedule. Failure to do so can result in a failing grade.

Class Attendance: A student may be disenrolled from the course after two absences; however, a student will be disenrolled from the course after eight absences without exception. (This count will begin at the first session of Week 3.) ATTENDANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS PARTICULAR COURSE.

Tardiness/Early Departure: If a student arrives unreasonably late or leaves early without notifying the instructor before the event, then that student will be considered absent for that class session.

Professionalism: It is assumed that students will conduct themselves in a professional manner with a positive attitude. An open mind is one of the most important tools required for success in academia. If a student is negative and feels as is there is nothing of value to be gained by the college experience or this course, he or she will not do well in this course.

Student Code of Ethics and Conduct: Students must abide by the Student Code of Conduct published in the Grossmont College Catalogue 2006-2007 24-25. Students who obstruct the instructor’s ability to convey knowledge, or disrupt their fellow students’ ability to learn, will be dealt with under the terms delineated in the Grossmont College Student Code of Conduct. Such dealings may include, but are not limited to, warnings, written reprimands, disciplinary probations, instructor-initiated suspensions, terminations of financial aid, short or long-term suspensions from campus, and temporary or permanent expulsions. These consequences are serious and can easily be avoided.

Examples of disruptive activities that will not be tolerated are: repeated cell phone ringing, repeatedly falling asleep in class, excessive talking, texting, passing of notes, entering and leaving class several times during a session, verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students, and non-verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students. Finally, ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE COURSE. If you are unsure of what academic dishonesty is, ask the instructor.

This instructor is charged with maintaining a positive learning experience for all students in this course, and that responsibility is a serious one. Disruptive behaviors will not be tolerated in this course.

TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THIS COURSE (Thanks to Professor June Yang):

  1. Be optimistic about your ability to learn from the textbook, the instructor, and each other.
  2. Do all homework. It will be collected every time, and spot-checked.
  3. Do all assigned reading.
  4. If you find you fall behind in your understanding, contact the instructor.
  5. Be prepared to spend at least two hours per hour spent in class in order to master this material. If you do not, you probably will not receive a grade of C or better.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Use all resources at your disposal.
  8. Remember that you are gifted with more education and intelligence than many persons on this planet. If you try, you are sure to get it, or at least most of it!
  9. Remember that we are all here to learn.
  10. Remember that you are being trained, or acquiring a skill. Studying, like anything else, is a craft, i.e. an activity. No one is born a good student; we must all transform ourselves into excellent students.
Academic Integrity: Cheating and plagiarism (using as one’s own ideas, writings or materials of someone else without acknowledgement or permission) can result in any one of a variety of sanctions.  Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment to a failing grade in the course.  The instructor may also summarily suspend the student for the class meeting when the infraction occurs, as well as the following class meeting.  For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult with your instructor or contact the office of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact DSPS in person in room A-113 or by phone at (619) 660-4239 (voice) or (619) 660-4386 (TTY for deaf) or online at