Introduction to Philosophy (Fall 2018)
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Bradley Rettler
OFFICE: Ross Hall 128
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 2:30ish-3:30, Wednesday 11-12, Friday 2-3, and by appointment
Glossary of Philosophy Terms
Good and Bad Arguments
Schedule and Readings (readings are to be done by the day they are listed)
Aug 29: Introduction: What is Philosophy?
Unit 1: How should we live?
Aug 31: Living Well -- Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics I.7 and II.1-4
Sept 3: No class (Labor Day)
Sept 5: Logic and Reasoning
Sept 7: Logic and Reasoning, Continued
Sept 10: The Life of Questioning - Plato - Apology
Sept 12: The Life of Questioning, continued
Sept 14: Leaning on Tradition - Confucius - The Annalects
Sept 17: Leaning on Tradition, Continued
Unit 2: What Do We Know?
Sept 19: The Method of Doubt -- Descartes - Meditation I
Sept 21: The Method of Doubt -- Descartes - Meditation II
Sept 24: Believing by Choice? -- James - ``The Will to Believe''
Sept 26: Believing by Choice, continued
Sept 28: Believe in God -- Pascal - ``Pascal's Wager''
Oct 1: Believe in God, continued
Unit 3: Is There a God?
Oct 3: There is a God -- Collins - ``The Fine-Tuning Argument''
Oct 5: There is a God -- Aquinas - ``The Cosmological Argument''
Oct 8: There is a God -- Descartes - Meditation 5
Oct 10: There is no God -- Dostoevsky - ``The Rebellion'' from The Brothers Karamazov
Oct 12: There is no God -- van Inwagen - ``What is the Problem of Divine Hiddenness?"
Oct 15: There is no God, concluded
Unit 4: What is the Nature of Right and Wrong?
Oct 17: There are no objective moral truths -- Mackie - ``The Argument from Relativity"
Oct 19: There are no objective moral truths, continued
Oct 22: There are objective moral truths -- Nussbaum - ``Judging other Cultures"
Oct 24: God is the source of morality -- Shafer-Landau - ``Morality and Religion''
Oct 26: Morality, concluded
Unit 5: What makes an Action Right or Wrong?
Oct 29: Morality is about duty -- Kant - The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Preface and Part I
Oct 31: Morality is about duty, continued
Interlude: Should we Vote?
Nov 2: Do we have a duty to vote? -- Brennan - ``Arguments for a Duty to Vote''
Nov 5: Is it rational to vote? -- Mackie - ``Why it is Rational to Vote''
Back to Unit 5
Nov 7: Morality is about pleasure and pain -- Mill - ``What Utilitarianism Is'
Nov 9: Morality is about pleasure and pain, continued
Nov 12: Morality is about being a good person -- Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics Book VIII
Nov 14: Morality is about being a good person, continued
Nov 16: Morality, concluded
Unit 6: Which Life is Best?
Nov 21: NO CLASS - THANKSGIVING
Nov 23: NO CLASS -- THANKSGIVING
Nov 26: The best life is one of action -- Martin Luther King Jr - ``Letter from a Birmingham Jail''
Nov 28: The best life prepares for the afterlife -- Aquinas - Summa Theologiae 2-2: 179-181
Nov 30: The best life, concluded
Dec 3: A good death -- Nagel - ``Death''
Unit 7: Are We Free?
Dec 5: Freedom is incompatible with determinism -- The Consequence Argument
Dec 7: Freedom is incompatible with indeterminism -- The Mind Argument
Dec 10: Final Exam Review
Dec 14: Final Exam, 1:15-3:15pm