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Introduction to Philosophy

COURSE DESCRIPTION: A study of the variety of ways of thinking about such fundamental
issues as knowledge and belief, human nature, the nature of reality, the existence of supernatural
being(s) and the relationship between self, mind and the body. Develops philosophical thinking skills
and awareness of world philosophies.

PRE-REQUISITES: None

CREDIT HOURS: 5 Credits

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:
Presbey, G. M., Struhl, K.J., & Olsen, R.E. (2000). The Philosophical Quest: A Cross-Cultural
Reader, (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. ISBN 0-07-289867-4.

STUDENT CHOICE SELECTIONS (Students must choose one):

Voltaire-- Candide
Immanuel Kant --The Critique of Practical Reason
Denis Diderot--Jacques the Fatalist
Denis Diderot--Rameau's Nephew
Thomas Hobbes--Leviathan
Thomas Paine--Common Sense
Rene Descartes--Discourse on Method and Meditation on the First Philosophy

COURSE GOALS:
The goal of this course is to foster critical thinking, problem solving, and effective reasoning and
communication skills in students as related to philosophy and belief systems. Additionally, students
will be able to apply course concepts to their daily lives and be aware of philosophical and ethical
concerns regarding cultural and environmental issues.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: Methods of instruction include lecture notes, reading assignments


in the textbook, Power Point shows and videos, on-line learning activities, to name a few.

COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES:


Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1. Apply in daily life the terminology and concepts learned in the course as evidenced by interaction
in the online discussions.

2. Recognize the textbooks definitions of philosopher and the philosophical quest.

3. Identify the explanation of the distinction between appearance and reality per the textbook.

4. Correctly associate selected quotes from the course material with their authors.

5. Identify the general concepts of the two world view, idealism, mysticism and materialism.
6. Recognize the basic precepts of common schools of philosophical thought.

7. Critically analyze and evaluate societal issues using techniques exemplified in the textbook.

8. Demonstrate appreciation for the different sorts of philosophical and religious backgrounds that
separate peoples of the world, past and present, by discussing relevant themes and writing discussion
responses to share with classmates.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students are expected to complete all class activities, submit
assignments on time, and complete examinations as scheduled. Failure to comply with these
requirements may result in the loss of points. Minimum requirements to be met by the student should
include demonstrating adequate achievement of the learning objectives listed above.

DELIVERABLES:
Unit 1: What is Philosophy? Introduction
Objectives

State in your own words what philosophy is


Identify and explain the distinction between reality and
appearance
Analyze and interpret the various concepts of death
offered in the readings

Pre-Test

Reading:
Chapter 1: The Parable of the Cave, Baum, Plato, Russel,
Radhakrishnan, Sartre

Lecture 1: Defining Philosophy

Lecture 2: Types of Inquiry

Lecture 3: Development of Philosophy

Video: What is Philosophy?

Interactivity: Thales or Parmenides

Class Discussion:
Concept of philosophy and how it applies to our lives.
Compare and contrast two differing views of death.

Assignment
Baums views on death

Additional Resources
Unit 2: Human Nature Introduction

Objectives:

Identify the basic theories of human nature


Clarify and analyze the distinctions between the concepts
of no human nature, essential human nature, and general
issues pertaining to what a human being is
Identify and analyze the basic orientations regarding the
Self in the Upanishads, Hinduism and Buddhism

Reading:
Chinese Debate, Hobbes, Mutual Aid, War and Aggression,
Beyond the Veil, Woman as Body, Sacred Hoop, Sexual Nature,
Self, Mind, Body

Lecture 1: Human Nature

Presentation: Human Nature

Video: Human Nature

Interactivity: Patriarchy / Anatman

Class Discussion:
Discuss the concepts of human nature and the implications of
being human.
Human nature theories.

Assignment
Compare and contrast Descartes view of self with Hume.

Quiz

Additional Resources

Unit 3: Metaphysics Introduction

Objectives:

Identify and explain the distinction between reality and


appearance
Clarify and analyze the distinction between idealism and
materialism
Apply the concepts associated with idealism and
materialism to issues in current culture

Reading:
Appearance and Reality, Idealism, Materialism

Lecture 1: Where does the world come from?

Presentations:
Idealism
Metaphysics

Flash Cards: Philosophy vocabulary

Assignment:
Materialism vs. Idealism

Class Discussion:
Fundamental concepts of appearance vs. reality
Black Elk and Socrates

Quiz

Additional Resources
Unit 4: Philosophy of Religion Introduction

Objectives:

Identify and critique different philosophical orientations


towards religion
Identify and evaluate classical arguments for and against
the existence of God

Pre-Test

Reading:
Personal Experience of God, Transforming Reality, Critique of
Religion, Liberation theology. Engaged Buddhism, Islam and
Revolution, Women Need the Goddess, Proof of Gods Existence

Lecture 1: Philosophy of Religion

Presentation: Philosophy of Religion

Flash Cards: Philosophical Vocabulary

Class Discussion:
Pros and cons of the existence of God
Arguments for the existence of God

Assignment 1
Describe the differences and similarities between the Buddhist
idea of God and the Judeo-Christian idea of God

Midterm Exam

Additional Resources
Unit 5: Ethics Introduction

Objectives:
Identify the basic moral concepts and ethical traditions
Compare and contrast basic eastern and western views of ethics
Develop a working grasp of the concepts of utilitarianism, virtue
ethics, religious ethics, and feminist ethics

Reading:
Ethical Theory, Mill, Feminist Ethics, Buddhist Ethics, Korn,
Aristotle, Islam, Rule of Benedict, Taoism

Lecture 1: Western and Eastern Approaches to Ethics

Interactivity: True / False

Assignment:
Compare and contrast the Buddhist concept of 4 Noble Truths with
Aristotles concept of virtue.

Class Discussion:
Ethical Systems
What is Ethics?

Quiz

Additional Resources

Unit 6: Enlightenment Thinkers Introduction to the Enlightenment Period

Students choose text from above list.

Dialectical Journaling

Class Discussion
Philosophical premises in each reading selection

Unit 7: Enlightenment Thinkers Cornerstone Project

Students will take the concepts learned in this course: Human


Nature, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, and the
Enlightenment and tie it in with their reading selection as well as
applications for their lives.

Students will complete a report as well as a presentation

Students will submit a rough draft for credit and review.


Unit 8: Final Assessments Final Exam

Submission of Final Paper and Presentation

Course Reflection

GRADING FACTORS AND POLICY:

A - Outstanding Achievement (Significantly Exceeds Standards)

B - Commendable Achievement (Exceeds Standards)

C - Acceptable Achievement (Meets Standards)

D - Marginal Achievement (Below Standards)

F Failing

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

1. If you are having difficulty with the course, computer problems, or personal issues, notify the
instructor as soon as possible.

2. In order to be fair to all students in the class, the due dates for each assignment will be strictly
adhered to unless mitigating circumstances warrant an extension. The instructor must be contacted
prior to any due date to negotiate possible alternative arrangements.

3. As an online learner, you are responsible for determining the pace and schedule of your
coursework. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time completing this course.

4. Back up all of your work on a disk or external drive and make a hard copy. If you experience
computer difficulties, you are responsible for resolving the issue.

5. Cyberspace is not always reliable. For instance, e-mails sometimes get lost and servers can
disconnect temporarily. Don't wait until the last moment to get things done; allow enough time to
meet deadlines. You are responsible for submitting your work on time.

CLASS PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:


This course requires the student to participate in the online discussion threads and possibly ClassLive
Pro sessions.

1. If responding to another students post, refer to that person by name.

2. Unless asked about your opinion, provide a citation to support statements that are not well-known
and accepted facts. Avoid saying as everyone knows... or presenting unsupported assertions as
facts.

3. Check your work for typographical and grammatical errors before submission.
4. Make sure to avoid acronyms or abbreviations that are not commonly used in the general
population.

5. Avoid citing Wikipedia. Do not use unreliable web sites as references.

6. Never provide student names, email or contact information to anyone.

7. Never send spam to your classmates or instructor.

8. Do not solicit fellow students for anything, even if volunteers are needed for a good cause. In
extreme cases, check with your instructor to see if it would be appropriate to post.

9. Check your files for viruses before uploading them to the online classroom.

10. Keep the files that you upload small if possible and use a common word processor such as
Microsoft Word.

11. Never use ALL CAPS unless you really mean it. It is considered shouting on the web.

12. Be courteous. Angry emails and posts will be immediately removed and could impact your
participation score and final grade.

STUDENT SERVICES:

National University Library:


National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing
access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be
accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students.
Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego
Library and virtually for online or regional students.

The National University Library System (NULS) purchases access to several databases of full text
articles from scholarly journals. Go to http://www.nu.edu/library, which is the library home page,
and click on Journal Articles. Students user names are the first three letters of their first name and
the first three letters of their last name (i.e. John Smith = JOHSMI). Students passwords are their
birthdays in yy/mm/dd format.
The library reference desk can be contacted at RefDesk@nu.edu, and by calling (858) 541-7900
(direct line), or 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free).

Use the other Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help. They included
recorded class presentations and Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more).

Math Center: Students can access the National University Math Center, which offers math tutoring,
at http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/StudentServices/mathcenter.html

Writing Center: Students can access the National University Writing Center, which offers
consultations about writing and critical thinking skills, at
http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/StudentServices/WritingCenter.html.