PHIL 297 - Honors Introduction to Philosophy
Winter 2015, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234.
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Honors students or permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In this course, we’ll take up some central questions from three different areas of philosophy. First, from the philosophy of religion:

  • Does God exist?
  • Are there persuasive arguments in favor of God’s existence? What about persuasive arguments against God’s existence?
  • Is an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God compatible with our having free will?

Second, from the philosophy of law:

  • Do we have a moral obligation to obey the law? If so, why?
  • When is the state justified in restricting our liberties against our will?
  • Are some individual liberties (e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, etc.) more basic than others? If so, what makes them more basic?

Third, from the philosophy of mind and action:

  • What is it to act intelligently?
  • What is it to act intentionally, rather than doing something by accident?
  • What’s the difference between believing something (e.g., believing that the sky is blue) and wanting something (e.g., wanting the sky to be blue)?
  • What’s the difference between intending something and merely foreseeing it? Is it morally worse to intend harm to someone else than to merely foresee it?

In taking up these and related questions, the course has two main goals. First, we will learn about both historical and contemporary discussions of these topics. Second, we will work on careful reading, critical reasoning, and argumentative skills, through both written work and intensive discussion.

Course Requirements:

Students will be assessed on the basis of active participation in class discussion, two short argumentative papers, an in-class presentation, and a take-home final exam.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended to serve as an introduction to philosophy. No previous experience in philosophy will be required or assumed.


PHIL 297 - Honors Introduction to Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
2LSA Hnrs
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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