PHIL1301PCM: Introduction to Philosophy
37091 Second Session:
Students will be introduced to various significant philosophical issues and
thinkers and to the practice of philosophical analysis.
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 course prerequisites for Introduction to Philosophy. A passing score or the
equivalent on the reading and writing portions of the TASP is required.
Please note that you must complete the online
prior to beginning work on this course.
Descartes. Meditations on First Philosophy
Hume. Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
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. I do not recommend a particular translation or edition;
however, the ISBN will help you find an edition that is quite similar to
what is online. If you decide to purchase the texts, you may find that the
translation or pagination do not match the online versions.
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.
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, which are found on
Blackboard. The major form of individual assessment will be writing
assignments (essays) and quizzes; there will be no major exams. I will also use online forms to
gather information about your progress in the coursework.
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
- Students will demonstrate improved critical reading, thinking, and
- Students will be able to reason philosophically about issues of both personal and
- Students will be able to identify major divisions and concepts
Coursework includes reading assignments, online lectures, quizzes, and
essays. The Coursework Guide provides a more detailed discussion of the coursework. We
will 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. There are two types of written assignments: (1)
fifteen weekly quizzes on the reading assignments and lectures and (2)
three essays on topics that I will provide.
The final grade is determined by the grades on these four
elements, weighted according to the following chart:
Please review the
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.)
I favor an informal and open
atmosphere in my classes, but I expect a level of civility conducive to inquiry.
Consequently, we will adopt some basic conventions of respect and responsibility.
Everyone must respect the views of others. "Respect" does not mean "agree
with"; rather, it means that everyone gets a fair hearing. However, I also
expect people to take responsibility for their contributions to discussion. Opinions
offered in all forms of class discussion (including email discussion!) should be informed,
thoughtful, and grounded; hence, all views will be subject to closer inspection and
questioning (including my own).
Security and Privacy
The online classroom is a secure area, and you must follow some basic policies
in order to help preserve security and to protect the privacy of your
- Do not share the password to the classroom or links to URLs inside the
- You may occasionally see the email addresses of classmates. You may use
these email addresses only for course-related communication,
unless the recipient specifically gives you permission for
non-course-related communication. Report violations of this policy to me
- I will return your assignments, including your grades,
by email. If you are concerned about the privacy
of your grades, you may want to discuss the matter with me.
- I do not publicize student email addresses.
Nevertheless, your email address may be seen by classmates and ACC officials
in the normal conduct of the class and other ACC business.
By submitting a First Assignment, you
acknowledge and agree to abide by these policies and
procedures. I will pursue all allegations of abuse of the website, email addresses,
course materials, and other material posted in conjunction with this course.
Violation of these security policies constitute grounds for disciplinary action
(which will include at least a failing grade in the course), and may
involve criminal or civil penalties as well.
Please note that, except as specified above, I do not send student
identification information (such as student ID
numbers, etc.) by email.
Announcements and Deadlines
I hold you responsible for information and
announcements sent by email or posted on the web pages for your
class. This policy
applies specifically to course assignments and deadlines, including essay due dates.
Unless otherwise stipulated, all course materials (including readings, handouts, essay
topics, and other assignments) will be posted on the web site for your class.
I expect all work to be turned in by the deadlines, and I
do not accept late work except by prior arrangement or for compelling reasons.
"Prior" means before the due date and time. "Compelling
reasons" means circumstances beyond your control that were also
specific deadlines and other announcements, check the main page for
your course (frequently). If I issue a due date without a specific
time, you should have the assignment in before that day ends (11:59 PM).
Plagiarism involves passing off someone
else's work as if it were your own. The term "plagiarism" does
not imply intent: one may commit plagiarism with
or without an intention of passing off someone else's work
as your own. If someone else's words or
sequence of ideas appears in your writing without proper
documentation, then you have engaged in plagiarism irrespective of
whether you meant to do so.
If you are unclear about which uses of
material are and are not permissible, you should familiarize yourself with
the notion of plagiarism. A good start is the guide, "Documentation
and Plagiarism," published by ACC's Library Services.
Reference librarians are also a valuable source of help. If you have
further questions, you are welcome to
Students will receive no credit
for any assignment in which there is
evidence of plagiarism, and such assignments may not be resubmitted
for additional credit. Students who plagiarize or engage in other forms of
academic dishonesty may also be subject to disciplinary action by the
College. (See the "Academic Dishonesty" section below.)
I do not "automatically" withdraw
students. If you
intend to drop this course you must do the paperwork yourself. Anyone who remains
enrolled in the course will receive a performance grade derived according to the criteria
for work and grading set forth in the syllabus. For the drop date (and other important
college dates), refer to ACC's
I give incompletes only in extenuating
circumstances, which must be documented. If you find that you need to request an
incomplete, you must arrange a completion plan with me in advance and
document that plan on an incomplete form. I will make exceptions to this condition only
for compelling reasons, as defined above. Please note that I do not grant
"routine" incompletes. I will award a performance grade derived according to the
criteria for work and grading stipulated in the syllabus to everyone enrolled, based on
whatever work I have received and recorded during the semester.
In accordance with ACC
policy, final grades will not be posted, nor do I notify students of final course
grades by telephone or email. If you have questions regarding the computation of your
grade, etc., see the
Evaluation System or
Respect my rights! Most of
the materials and the structure of this course are my work and
protected by copyright law. You may make printouts of course materials for
your own use. Reproduction of course materials (including email
communications) for public distribution or commercial use violates
copyright law. For further details on ACC's policy regarding Copyright
and course materials, see the "Copyright
Policy Notice" found in the
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
class interactions, 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 the student in conjunction with the course.
According to ACC's Student
Discipline Policy, Section C,
"Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their own
thought, research or self-expression. For purposes of these regulations,
academic work is defined as, but not limited to exams and quizzes, whether taken
electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; papers;
classroom presentations; and homework.
Cases of scholastic dishonesty will be pursued according to the procedure set
forth in the Student Handbook, “Student
Discipline Policy,” Section J,
“Academic Dishonesty Process."
"When students borrow ideas, wording or organization from another source, they
shall reference that information in an appropriate manner."
Office of Students with Disabilities
"The Office for Students with
Disabilities (OSD) assists students with documented disabilities to access
reasonable accommodations. To request ACC accommodations, students must submit
appropriate diagnostic documentation to the OSD supervisor at their primary
campus. Students attending multiple campuses must meet with the OSD supervisor
at each campus where accommodations are needed. Accommodations must be requested
before each semester they are needed. NOTE: Students are urged to apply for
accommodations at least three weeks before the star t of each term." (Student Handbook,
Resources, "Services for Students with Disabilities")
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.
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This page was last updated
03/01/2009 07:09:34 PM by