PHIL 196 - First Year Seminar
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Social Progress and Ideology
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Underlying every society is a system of ideas. These ideas explain and justify the existing social order – who gets to hold power, how wealth is distributed, and what social categories like race and gender mean. These systems of ideas are necessary: without some commonly understood reasons for why society is arranged the way it is, society would be perpetually unstable. Philosophers, most famously Karl Marx, call these subterranean systems of ideas ideologies.

 These ideologies are deeply ingrained in our culture and our individual consciousnesses, and as such, they are extremely difficult to change. And yet, in order for society to make progress, they must change. Knowing how this happens – how one ideology may be reformed or replaced with a better one – is crucial to making one’s society better. That is the central question we will consider in this course: What ideologies are at work in our society, should they be changed, and if so, how?

 This course will presuppose no previous knowledge of philosophy. In exploring this topic, we will touch on several of the main areas of philosophy:

 ·       Political Philosophy: What are the ideologies underlying our contemporary political debates?

·       Ethics: What is moral progress?

·       Epistemology: How do we know that one ideology is better than another?

 The goal of this course is not just to learn about these topics, but to learn how to read philosophy well. We’ll spend the vast majority of our course reading just a few books, diving deeply into each one. Because this is a seminar, the course will center around discussion of our readings. The role of the professor in this course is not to lecture, but to facilitate discussion. The role of the student is to come to class having done the reading carefully, and be ready with questions and thoughts. Philosophy is done best when done with others, and that is exactly how we will explore these ideas – together. 


PHIL 196 - First Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
6Enrollment Management
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22
002 (SEM)
 In Person
6Enrollment Management
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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