Syllabus Entrance
Printer Friendly
Email Syllabus

PH 101 Introduction to Philosophical Thinking
Hartley, Harrison

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.
CoursePH 101 Introduction to Philosophical Thinking PV
FacultyHartley, Harrison
TitleSenior Instructor/Adjunct Faculty
Office LocationBy appointment.
Office HoursBefore and after class and by appointment.
Daytime PhoneCall (816) 279-8100 any time; leave a message. (Use the alternate for faster response.) (Use this for fastest response.)
Semester Dates22 August to 16 October, 2005
Class Days---W---
Class Time5:30 - 9:50 PM
Credit Hours3

About Philosophy by Robert Paul Wolff, 9th Edition, Prentice Hall.

Additional Resources:
Additional material will be provided by the instructor.

Course Description:
An entry into philosophy by one of two routes:  an exploration of philosophical problems through reading and discussing selections from the great thinkers or a lecture-discussion survey of philosophy conceived in the broadest fashion.  3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
The French speak of people who are "engaged" and others who are "disengaged." Mr. Hartley prefers engagement, and to that end, uses not only lecture and discussion, but guided questions, readings and video presentations, response essays, at least one research project, regular tests and quizzes requiring both subjective and objective responses, and demonstrations based on thought problems, art, and artifacts. Class members will interact with the instructor and each other as they critically analyze the touchstone theories of philosophy in order to synthesize and accommodate them into their own conceptual schema to the end of understanding how other people think and developing a personal philosophy which can be clearly and concisely articulated and logically defended.

Learning Outcomes:

Class members who successfully complete the course will, at a minimum, be able to:
1. Define up to 80 terms specifically related to philosophy and philosophical systems.
2. Name and succinctly explain the basic ideas of the Pre-Socratic and Socratic schools, and of Medieval Scholasticism, Renaissance Humanism, ancient and modern Mysticism, and Empiricism (including references to the main philosophers of each school and their primary contributions).
3. Demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze, and explain the function of common logical fallacies using comparison and contrast and classification and division to group these fallacies by type and effect.
4. Identify, compare, contrast, and explain the function and effects of empiricism, rationalism, and mysticism as modes of thought.
5. Describe at least six events in Occidental history when philosophy was instrumental in bringing about major cultural change.
6. Express a personal philosophy-in-progress and relate it to philosophy in our culture using demonstrated skills in locating, gathering, and critically analyzing pertinent information.

Course Assessment:
1. There will be five tests over assigned readings and lectures at weeks 1,2,3,6 and 7. These tests will incorporate both objective and subjective questions.
2. Class members will write two papers; one a topical analysis and response(due at week 4) and one requiring some research (week 8).
3. We will have comprehensive Mid-Term and Final examinations (at weeks 5 and 8) which we will review EXTENSIVELY and carefully, and which will be based on that review.

1. Readings/lecture tests: 5% each, 25% Total
2. Paper one: 10%
3. Mid-Term Examination: 15%
4. Paper two: 20%
5. Final Examination: 30%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Assignments may be turned in late with the instructor's approval and as long as there is sufficient time to properly evaluate them. ALL work MUST be submitted by the end of the final class; i.e. 12 October, because grades are due within 48 hours.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Please be considerate of others and turn off your cell 'phone. We will break for food (who can do satisfactory philosophy on an empty stomach?)about 6:40 and to contemplate the human condition about 8:15.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Before class one, consider the following:
1. What is "thinking?" What are "ideas?"
2. Does "philosophical thinking" differ from "ordinary thinking?" If so, how?
3. If thinking can be correlated with knowing, how do we know when we know something? ("I know it but I just can't say it." Can that be the case?)
4. Is knowing a thing the same as believing that thing? (Do we "know" facts but "believe" beliefs? What is it to believe something?)
5. What good is philosophy? Why bother?

Class DatesClass ActivitiesAssignmentsTests
Meeting - 1
24 August
"Many people would rather die than think. In fact, they do!" - Bertrand Russell What is Philosophy, What Do Philosophers Do and why should anybody care? *Problems in ontology.For next time, read Wolff, CH. 2 and material provided. Lecture Test 1
Meeting - 2
31 August
How do we know what we know...Or do we just believe it? *Basic epistemology We discuss knowing versus believing.For next time, read Wolff Ch.3  and material provided.Readings/Lecture Test 2
Meeting - 3
7 September
When you lose your mind, what is lost?
*Cogito, ergo, sum... I think. *A Brief Introduction to logic.
For next time, read Wolff, Ch. 5. Paper 1 due based on Ch.5 and the material on logic.Readings/Lecture Test 3
Meeting - 4
14 September
The Problem of  Right Action, OR: "I didn't do it and I won't do it again!" (We discuss ethics.) *Mid-term review. For next time, prepare for the mid-term. (In-class review provided.)Read Wolff, Ch.8.Paper 1 Due next time (response to Ch. 5 &8). Mid-Term Test next time.
Meeting - 5
21 September
"Man is the only animal with the TRUE religion.... several of 'em!" - Mark Twain (We discuss what is meant by "truth" in religion.)For next time, read Wolff Ch.4 and the material provided. Paper 1 due.
Mid-Term Examination
Meeting - 6
28 September
"If you put all the scientists in the world in a big truck with an endless supply of gas, they still couldn't arrive at a conclusion." (We discuss why not.)For next time, review Wolff Ch. 4 & 8 and SKIM Ch. 6.Readings/Lecture Test 4. *Paper 2 progress check.
Meeting - 7
5 October
"There are only atoms and empty space. Everything else is opinion." - Democritus of Abdera
We discuss the idea of a ghost in the machine.
For next time, finish Paper 2 and review for the final. (Review provided.)Readings/Lecture Test 5. (Paper 2 due next time.)
Meeting - 8
12 October
We discuss the aim of philosophy according to Russell: a life of reason guided by compassion. On the important questions, always make up your own mind or you are nothing but a pale reflection of someone else's ideas and experiences. - HH Paper 2 due.
Final examination.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89
An education is the one thing Americans are willing to pay for and then not get. You paid for it - come and pick it up! IF you must be absent, call (816) 279-8100 before class or by 1:00 p.m. of the next day to arrange to make-up work and have the absence reported as "excused."  

Disability Guidelines:

Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all learners that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to learners concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding learners with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:

This material is copyright and can not be reused without author permission.