Phil 110 Su12: Schedule and Syllabus

PHILOSOPHY 110: Introduction to Philosophy
Summer 2012
Section 9853: TR 1:30-5:20
Location: B-269

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: Introduction; What is Philosophy?
Tuesday, June 12: Introduction; Read and Discuss Plato, "The Apology" (pp. 50-63).

Thursday, June 14: Introduction to Epistemology; Read and Discuss Al-Ghazali, "Deliverance from Error" (pp. 311-318), Descartes, "Meditations I and II" (pp. 320-326).

Week 2: Epistemology
June 19: Continue Descartes, Read and Discuss Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (pp. 328-334); Watch film in class 12 Angry Men (1957).

June 21: Discuss film; review for exam; Exam 1.

Week 3: Metaphysics
June 26: Introduction to Metaphysics; Read and Discuss Laozi, "Dao De Jing" (414-421),
Plato "Republic" (pp. 423-430).

June 28: Read and discuss Berkeley, "The Principles of Human Knowledge" (pp. 441-444), Jorge Valadez, "Pre-Columbian Philosophical Perspectives" (pp. 446-451).

Week 4: Metaphysics and Ethics
July 3: Watch Film in class eXistenZ (1999), discuss film, review for Exam.

July 5: Exam 2

Week 5: Ethics
July 10: Introduction of Paper Topic;
Introduction to Ethics; Read and Discuss Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals" (pp. 82-87); Read and Discuss Mill, "Utilitarianism" (pp. 89-93).  

July 12:
Read and Discuss Aristotle, "Nichomachean Ethics" (pp. 64-72); Read and Discuss Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil" and "On the Genealogy of Morals" (pp. 97-106).

Week 6: Ethics
July 17: In-class peer editing, bring two copies of a draft of your paper to class. Read
Rawls, "A Theory of Justice" (pp. 149-160). Review for Final.

July 19:
Watch film in class Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Discuss Film; Final Paper Due; Exam 3


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 or the associated prewriting will result in an F in the course.
10% Attendance and Participation. Philosophy is about debate and discussion, so you will be expected to participate.
 This participation includes in-class writing, group work, debates, and in-class discussions of the course material.              

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 three absences without exception. (This count will begin on the first day of class) 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 Catalog 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.

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 time outside of class working on class material, doing readings, homework, preparing for quizzes and exams, etc.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Ask questions if you don't understand something.
  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.
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