Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: Eric Gerlach – email@example.com
Office Hours: Wed 5 – 6 pm @ K’s Coffee, next door to BCC
Lectures & Schedule
This course introduces Egyptian, Indian, Greek, Chinese, Islamic and modern European philosophy. Readings for each lecture are posted at the top of each set of lecture notes. Students can read the lectures and complete the three essay assignments at their own pace.
The lectures for this class begin with what philosophy and wisdom are, tribal shamans, cosmic city-state priests and philosophy in Egypt and Babylon. We then study Hinduism, the Jains and Buddhism of ancient India, followed by Heraclitus, Socrates & Plato of ancient Greece, and Confucianism and Daoism of ancient China. We then study Islamic philosophy, European Neo-Platonism of the medieval world, and finish with the modern European philosophies of Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Foucault, Wittgenstein & Post-Modernism.
3 Essay Assignments
To pass the class you must write three pieces, two 4 page essays and an 8 page essay (25% + 25% + 50% of your final grade) typed and emailed to to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the end of the semester. Focus on a single idea or issue we cover, clearly state your position and use evidence and reasoning to support your position while thinking about what others would say in response. You can use examples from your life, culture, history, or fiction. Write about whatever means the most to you, but you can also follow the prompts for each assignment if you have trouble thinking of something you want to say.
For the first 4 page essay, pick an idea we have studied with Shamanism, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, or Indian thought, and take a position supporting or criticizing it. You can use the idea to respond to the larger question about culture and time: Does human perspective evolve and change, or is it largely the same as in the past?
For the second 4 page essay, pick an idea we have studied with ancient Greek or Chinese thought, and take a position supporting or criticizing it. You can use the idea to respond to the larger question about relative and absolute truth: Is there true objective knowledge, or is everything relative perspective?
For the third and final 8 page essay, pick an idea we have studied with Islamic & European thought, and take a position supporting or criticizing it. You can use the idea to respond to larger questions about culture, time, knowledge and perspective of the previous assignments.
This class is acceptable for credit at UC and CSU. It counts towards GE AA/AS area 3; CSU area C2; and IGETC area 3. It can be used as an elective for the Liberal Arts with an Emphasis in Arts and Humanities, Associate in Arts Degree Program and the Liberal Arts: Intersegmental General Education Transfer (IGETC) Certificate of Achievement and the Global Studies AA Degree.
Student Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of major philosophers.
2. Analyze and evaluate philosophical positions through argument that displays individual perspective.
General Student Requirements: Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are listed here. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course. Students are responsible for all class material (even if they miss class). If you miss class, it is strongly advised that you ask a classmate for notes. It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. Please read through the syllabus and plan ahead.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than five classes, you will receive an F in the course. (Note: I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences; if you miss more than five classes, for any reason, you cannot pass the class.)
Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSPS.
This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.