PHIL1301PCM: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructional Office Hours
The ACC catalogue describes this course as "A study of the nature of philosophy and various traditions. Includes a study of major western philosophers, philosophical problems, and critical thinking."
My theme for this semesters exploration of philosophy is "Human Knowledge and Reality." We will consider some of the major issues involved in metaphysics and epistemology, focusing on the ultimate nature of reality and the relation between any such reality and human knowledge.
There are no prerequisites for Introduction to Philosophy. A passing score or the equivalent on the reading portion of the TASP is required, and I highly recommend a passing score or the equivalent on the writing portion.
Please note that you must complete the online Orientation prior to beginning work on this course.
Philosophy is one of the principal forces that have shaped Western civilization and history, so a basic understanding of the method and subjectmatter of philosophy affords a deeper understanding of ourselves and an informed grasp of the present. In addition, the critical thinking skills are so central to the method of philosophy that the study of philosophy provides an opportunity to learn and practice those skills in a focused way.
This is an online course, so internet access, including an email account, is required. All written work and other course business will take place by means of email and the web pages for these sections. (To find the main page for your section, go back to the top of this page and click on your section number.) The major form of individual assessment will be writing assignments (essays); there will be no exams. I will also use online forms to gather information about your progress in the coursework.
Texts marked with an asterisk are are available online; I will post links to these texts on the reading assignments page. These texts are also available in many bookstore(s), if you prefer to do your readings off-line. The recommended text, which is available in ACC's RGC bookstore, is an entertaining overview of the history of philosophy (with explanations of most of the major figures). It may be helpful in filling in gaps or as a resource for your coursework (and paper topics!).
Your grade for this course will be based on written work demonstrating the pursuit of the goals of the course. (See the Coursework Guide for a more detailed explanation of the written work.) The four application essays form the basic component and are required of all students. This means that, in order to earn a C, you must complete all four of the application essays, regardless of your average at any point in the semester. You may complete additional components for a higher grade, as indicated in the following table:
In any case, the average of your grades will determine the course grade. (For example, if you completed the application essays, the analytical paper, and the research essay, but your average is a B, your course grade will still be a B. Quality should be of greater concern than quantity!) The grading criteria chart gives a detailed exposition of how I evaluate each assignment.
The grade computation system I use allows for adjustment to writing essays for a philosophy course. I compute the grade for the application essays two ways and use the higher result in the computation of the final grade. One way is the arithmetic mean of the application essays (the average of the four grades weighted equally). The other method is a "weighted average," in which the last three application essay grades are weighted proportionately greater than the first. For a more detailed explanation of this computation, see the grade computation procedure. This weighted average is intended to help people who weren't sure what to expect on the first essay, but did well on the others.
I recommend that you look carefully at my comments and feedback as you prepare for the subsequent essay. If you have questions about a comment, contact me so I can explain what I meant. After each of the application essays, I will post general comments about the assignment in the classroom and some sample essays from our class (which will be posted anonymously). This material will provide some additional feedback and guidance (and discussion) of the application essays.
Due dates for written work will be posted; please check the main page for your section regularly for announcements and deadlines. You may hand in assignments earlier than the due date, but assignments must follow the stated sequence. (For instance, I will not accept essay 3 before essay 2.) Please note that I will not accept work after the stated due date, except by prior agreement. All written work must be submitted by email, with the correct subject heading. Please see the Procedures section of the Orientation for guidelines on email.
Security and Privacy
Announcements and Deadlines
Students have the right to believe whatever they happen to believe and, within the appropriate constraints that follow from the organization of a course and its class meetings, to express those beliefs. Grades will never be based on the beliefs that a student maintains, but only on the quality of the philosophical work performed by a student in conjunction with the course.
Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued according to the procedure set forth in the Student Handbook, “Student Rights and Responsibilities,” Section J, “Academic Dishonesty."
Students with Disabilities
ACC is committed to full compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are entitled to accommodation and have not done so already, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible to request appropriate accommodations.
Check the main page for the course frequently for due dates, announcement, and important links.
This page was last updated 08/23/2009 08:16:53 PM by mdaude.