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PHL-201-90, Introduction to Philosophy (SU15)

INSTRUCTOR: Susan Barranca

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: On-Line, 06/01/2015-07/20/2015


This course is an introduction to the nature and scope of philosophical thinking, to major ideas and debates in the history of philosophy--from the ancient to the contemporary period, and to some of the best known thinkers and writers of philosophy.  As a Notre Dame of Maryland University course, PHL 201 also addresses issues of gender and social justice. In the last week of the course students will be introduced to contemporary philosophical critiques of the history of philosophy, with special emphasis on marginalized groups.


General Education:

Growth in critical thinking abilities: gathering, selecting, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying information and knowledge

Departmental Outcomes:

Students should be able to understand and critically engage with a brief philosophical text or fundamental philosophical idea


At the completion of the course, the student will:

1. Be able to identify reliable sources of information about philosophy and philosophers (web resource activities)

2. Be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the subject matter of the four main areas of philosophical investigation: Epistemology, Ethics, Logic, and Metaphysics (pre-reading worksheets, quizzes)

3. Be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the history of Western philosophy, including knowledge of at least one fundamental idea from each of its four central periods (quizzes)

4. Be able to describe what the academic study of philosophy entails (discussions)

5. Be able to describe why and how philosophy is relevant to contemporary life (discussions, papers)

6. Be able to identify a well-defended philosophical argument (discussions, papers)

7. Will have improved critical thinking, reading and writing skills

8. Will have practiced skills in learning and using new technologies

**The critical thinking and writing skills developed in the course, along with the ideas and debates discussed, are highly valued by your faculty and administration.

**I recommend that you begin the course by asking yourself what Notre Dame of Maryland University, a liberal arts college in the Catholic tradition, expects you to gain from taking this course. Then, at the end of the semester, take time to reflect back on what you think today and how, and why, your answer may have changed three and a half months from now.


1. Introducing Philosophy: A Text with Integrated Readings, edited by R. Solomon, K. Higgins, and C. Martin (Oxford University Press, 2012) http://global.oup.com/academic/product/introducing-philosophy-9780199764860

2. All Joule “books” on the course website

3. Additional required readings provided on the Joule website


**Writing Philosophy: A Student’s Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays, any edition, L. Vaughn (Oxford University Press)

**The textbook has a companion website with many study tools. Please visit it at: www.oup.com/us/solomon

**Free, online encyclopedias of philosophy such as The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


**In the first section and in the right hand column of our Joule course page you will find items that will be of use to you in taking, and succeeding, in the course.

**All written assignments will be submitted through Joule, and all class discussions will take place on Joule.

GRADING SCALE: (the same scale is used for individual assignments and the course grade)

·      A         93-100%         of points possible

·      B+       87-92%           of points possible

·      B         81-86%           of points possible

·      C+       76-80%           of points possible

·      C         70-75%           of points possible

·      D         60-69%           of points possible

·      F          0-59%            of points possible