USD Phil 110 S12: Schedule and Syllabus

PHILOSOPHY 110: Introduction to Philosophy
Spring 2012    Section 6
CRN 2129 M 6:00-8:50    Location: Serra Hall 116

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Ian Duckles
          Office Hours: Monday 5-6:00 PM
          Office: Founder's Hall 168A

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: “A basic orientation course treating the principal problems of philosophy, such as knowledge, human nature, values, nature, God, etc. A historical approach may also be used as a means of further clarification of the topics being discussed.” (USD Course Catalog).


COURSE CALENDAR (topics and important dates included):
(Homework will be due daily and assignments will be announced in class. 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). All page numbers refer to the 7th edition of the text.

Week 1: No Class. Classes start on Thursday, so no class this week.

Week 2: Introduction (Monday, January 30)
Introduction; What is Philosophy?; Begin Plato
Week 3: What is Philosophy? (February
Read Plato, "The Apology" (pp. 50-63) A PDF can be downloaded here
Week 4: Epistemology (February
Read Al-Ghazali, "Deliverance from Error" (pp. 311-318) PDF; Descartes, "Meditations I and II" (pp. 320-326) PDF

Week 5: Epistemology 
(February 20)
Read Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (pp. 328-334), watch Film in Class 12 Angry Men (1957); discuss film
Week 6: EXAM
(February 27)
Review for exam; First Exam

Week 7: Spring Break!! No Class. (March 5

Week 8: Metaphysics (March 12)
Read Laozi, "Dao De Jing" (pp. 414-421); Plato "Republic" (pp. 423-430)

Week 9: Metaphysics 
(March 19)
Read Berkeley, "The Principles of Human Knowledge" (pp. 441-444); Jorge Valadez, "Pre-Columbian Philosophical Perspectives" (pp. 446-451)

Week 10: Metaphysics 
(March 26)
Watch Film in Class: eXistenZ (1999); Discuss Film; Review for Exam

Week 11: Exam 
(April 2)
Second Exam

Week 12: Easter Break!! No Class. (April 9)

Week 13: Ethics 
(April 16)
Read Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals" (pp. 82-87); Mill, "Utilitarianism" (pp. 89-93)

Week 14: Ethics 
(April 23)
Read Aristotle, "Nichomachean Ethics" (pp. 64-72); Rawls, "A Theory of Justice" (pp. 149-160)

Week 15: Ethics (April 30)
Read Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil" and "On the Genealogy of Morals" (pp. 97-106)

Week 16: Ethics (May 7)
Read Noddings, "Caring" (pp. 107-117). In-Class Peer Editing: Bring two copies of a draft of your paper to class.

Week 17: Ethics (May 14)
Paper Due. Watch Film in Class: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989); Discuss Film; Review for Final 

The Final Exam for this course will be on Monday, May 21 from 8 - 10:00 PM in Serra Hall 116

20% Examination 1
20% Examination 2
20% Final Examination
10% Essay (This will be due on the last day of class. More details will be forthcoming. Though this is only worth 10% of your grade, failure to complete this assignment will result in an F in the course)
10% Weekly Reading Questions
20% Quizzes (These will be given weekly at the start of class, they cannot be made up if missed. I will drop at least one quiz score)

A: 90-100 %
B: 80-89 %
C: 70-79 %
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 teh 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.

Academic Integrity and Conduct: Plagiarism, cheating and poor student conduct will not be tolerated. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the USD Integrity Policy. This can be found at

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and Disability Services. Information can be found at