Introduction to Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule

PHIL 1 – Summer 2017 Online, Class Code 30911

Instructor: Eric Gerlach –

Office Hours: Wed 5 – 6 pm @ K’s Coffee, next door to BCC

Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of philosophy and human thought from a multicultural and global perspective.  We will study ancient Egyptian, Indian, Greek, Chinese, Islamic and modern European philosophers focusing on their core influential ideas.

Required Text: The readings for the class will be posted on Moodle: BCC Summer 2017

If you have any issues with Moodle, email:

Required Assignments: Two 4-5 page essays (50%) & a final 7-10 page paper (50%)


Students can read the lectures and complete the essays at their own pace, turning in all work for the course before midnight on July 27th. I would advise students to turn in the first two essays by July 5th and 19th if they want ample time to respond to feedback in preparation for writing the final paper.  Topics for the class include:

Shamanism & Ancient Cosmology

Early City State Priests & Egyptian Thought

Indian Thought: Hinduism, Jainism & Buddhism

Greek Thought: Heraclitus, Socrates & Plato

Chinese Thought: Confucianism & Daoism

Islamic & Medieval European Thought

Descartes & Hume

Kant & Hegel

Schopenhauer & Nietzsche

Heidegger, Sartre & Foucault


Lewis Carroll & Logic

Humor, Art & Postmodernism

Essay Grading Policy:  For each essay, state the question you are answering and take a clear position at the beginning, then argue with clear and focused points for the required page length. Do not summarize material that is irrelevant. You can include personal experience, examples from fiction or material from outside the course.

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.

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