This course will introduce students to four areas of philosophy: epistemology, the philosophy of religion, ethics, and political philosophy. We will consider questions like: What is knowledge, and how is it possible? Can we know anything about the world around is? What reason, if any, do we have to believe that God does or does not exist? Is free will possible? If our actions are determined by past events, can we ever be morally responsible for what we do? And can we ever be justified in holding other people morally responsible for what they do? What are our moral obligations to one another? Should we act in our own self-interest at all times? Or do we have an obligation to help other people, even at the cost of our own well-being? Do we have moral obligations to anything other than people (e.g., non-human animals, the environment)? How should we structure our government and society? Should our goal be to maximize welfare, promote equality, protect individual liberty, or some combination of the three? In our attempt to answer these questions, we will read the work of both historical and contemporary philosophers.
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Open to all students; no knowledge of philosophy is assumed.
3 hrs of lecture with in-class discussion per week