PHIL1301PCM: Introduction to Philosophy

Matthew M. Daude

Synonym: 22247
Spring, 2005

12:00-1:15 PM
RGC 017

Contact Information

Office Rio Grande Campus
Peach Street Office Building, Room 2-I
ACC email
Instructional email
Instructional Web

Instructional Office Hours

Monday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I
Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00 AM online (Windows Messenger or Blackboard)
Wednesday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I

Other times by appointment

Course Description

Students will be introduced to various significant philosophical issues and thinkers and to the practice of philosophical analysis.

My theme for this semester’s 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. Throughout, we will be concerned with issues of interpretation, and we will explore the ways in which translation conceals interpretation of philosophical texts.

There are no prerequisites for Introduction to Philosophy. Passing scores or the equivalent on the reading and writing portions of the TComp are required. This course is offered in the honors program, and honors program approval is required for registration.

Please note that you must review the online Course Policies and submit your First Assignment prior to beginning work on this course.

Required Texts/Materials

Descartes. Meditations on First Philosophy*
Hume. Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding*
Nietzsche. Thus Spake Zarathustra*
Palmer. Looking at Philosophy (recommended)

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 widely available) 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.

Instructional Methodology

The class will consist predominantly of discussion and in-class work, with a required web-based component. I may use a variety of media in my presentations, including web material, etc.

I will post a number of supplementary materials and other items of interest on the instructional web page on Blackboard. All written work should be submitted by email and we will use the web page for course organization . The major form of individual assessment will be writing assignments (essays), online quizzes, and in-class presentations; there will be no exams. I may also use online forms to gather information about your progress in the coursework.

Course Rationale

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.

PHIL1301 Objectives

Departmental Objectives/Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate improved critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.
  2. Students will be able to reason philosophically about issues of both personal and universal significance.
  3. Students will be able to identify major divisions and concepts in philosophy.

Coursework and Grading Policy

Coursework includes the reading assignments, weekly online quizzes, three application essays, an in-class presentation, and two essay critiques. We may also use a bulletin board and a virtual classroom for class discussion. I encourage you to post questions and comments about the course material, but I will remove material that is not substantially relevant to the coursework.

Your grade for this course will be based on written work demonstrating the pursuit of the goals of the course. Please review the Coursework Guide for a more detailed explanation of the written work. The final grade is determined by the grades on these elements, weighted according to the following chart:

Quizzes 20%
Presentation 10%
Critiques 10%
Application Essays 60%

Please review the Grading and Evaluation System for a detailed exposition of my approach to evaluation. You will find additional guidelines for each assignment on my instructional website. 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.)

Due dates for written work will be posted; please check the Course Calendar (on Blackboard) regularly for 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 email Procedure section of the Course Policies for guidelines on email.


Review my Course Policies online. There are links to the Course Policies on the main page of my instructional web and on the main page for this course. The Course Policies page is part of this syllabus.

Course Outline

The Course Calendar available in the online classroom (Blackboard) includes a complete outline for the course. Check the Course Calendar frequently for due dates, announcements, and important links.

First Assignment

Your first assignment is to complete a web-based form called the "First Assignment." Please note that I will not accept coursework from you until you complete the First Assignment, and I will withdraw you from the course if you have not submitted your first assignment by Friday of the first week of class.

Have the following information information ready:

  • your full name as reflected in ACC records
  • the five-digit synonym number of your course
  • the email address that you want to use for this course (Don't forget to update your email address in Blackboard as well!)
  • a telephone number at which you can be reached

This information is required, but there is also a voluntary (fairly brief) survey in the First Assignment form. I encourage you to complete the survey, as it provides information that may help me support your work in this course.

I will begin processing First Assignments when the semester begins. When I receive your First Assignment, I will attempt to verify your enrollment. If you are officially enrolled in the course, I will send you a confirmation. If there is a problem with your enrollment, I will notify you. If you do not hear from me within 48 hours (not including Saturdays!) of submitting your First Assignment, ">contact me.

Please note:

Submitting a First Assignment is your certification that

(1) you accept the policies, procedures, and course design set forth in the Syllabus and this Orientation, and
(2) you agree to communicate by email with me regarding all matters related to this course. This means that some confidential information, including but not limited to your grades, will be transmitted by email.

Read the information in the Orientation and Syllabus and related links carefully, and if you have questions or concerns about the policies and procedures for this class, please let me know before you complete this First Assignment.

Now you are ready to complete and submit your First Assignment.

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This page was last updated 08/23/2009 08:16:55 PM by mdaude.