This course will provide an introduction to some fundamental philosophical problems drawn from a variety of branches of philosophy — metaphysics, philosophy of religion, the theory of knowledge, and ethics.
The following topics will be discussed:
- determinism, free will, and moral responsibility
- arguments for and against the existence of God
- skepticism about knowledge of the material world
- egoism, altruism, and the nature of moral obligation
- the ethics of belief and the nature of faith.
In addition to grappling with these issues, the course seeks to develop, through written work and intensive discussion, skills in critical thinking and argumentative writing that should be of use in a wide variety of disciplines and professions.
There will be two required papers and two in-class hour exams. There will be no final examination.
The course is open to students from all areas of the University. No previous work or background in philosophy is assumed. First term undergraduates are welcome.
The course has two hours of lecture and two hours of discussion section each week.