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Course Description: An approach to Western philosophical thought by examining the use, meaning and tradition of skepticism within the philosophical tradition. Beginning with the Greeks and then focusing on the radical skepticism of the Hellenistic period, attention will be paid to how skepticism has shaped Western philosophical thought through figures such as Sextus Empiricus, Montaigne, Descartes, Hume, and selected contemporary thinkers. Particular attention will be paid to skepticism in ethics, politics, religion, literature, and scientific inquiry. 3:0:3
Educational Philosophy: *-Small group discussions for student analysis and preparation for general class discussions.
*-Videos detailing specific historical issues.
*-In-class written examinations.
*-Oral student in-class presentations summarizing and evaluating the focal essay discussed in research papers.
*Discussion of research being undertaken in student research papers.
*-Review of material for examinations.
*-One guest lecture on a pertinent issue.
Learning Outcomes:Explain the method of philosophy
Develop philosophical arguments.
Identify several major philosophers.
Clarify Major approaches and traditions in philosophy.
Demonstrate facility in evaluating effective argument
support and fallacies in developing arguments.
Discuss a number of philosophical positions.
Explain his or her understanding of philosophical
To become familiar with the discipline, methods, and
tradition of philosophy.
To evaluate methododological skepticism: the questioning
of tradition or community accepted values and beliefs.
To evaluate dogmatic skepticism: the belief that
external objective knowledge is unknowable through
reason or the senses.
To evaluate the tradition of skepticism in epistemology,
ethics, religion, and political philosophy.
Critical Literacy. To develop skill in evaluating and
construing arguments which claim to support or deny
positions in ethics, religion, and political philosphy.
Civil Literacy. To evaluate traditional political
assumptions and skeptical criticisms of those
Values Literacy: To evaluate mainstream moral values
and skeptical criticisms of those values.
Course Assessment: Two in class examinations containing short answer questions and an essay. Each examination will cover the material on one-half of the course.
A research project of 10 pages involving research of a philosopher's analysis of skepticism approved in advance by the instructor.
A presentation inclass based on the above research.
Regular class discussion based on the reading assignments.
Topic: Examination of a single philosopher's treatment of
Length: 10 pages.
Content: The paper should examine and evaluate a single philosopher's work in supporting or in denying a skeptical attack in one of the following areas:
- Epistemology (our ability to know reality outside
- Ethics (traditional, mainstream, societal or religious
- Religion (claims of religion about God,morality, truth
- Political Philosophy (claims about the value of certain
political or societal assumptions based on values, such
as democracy, equality, or individual freedom.
Grading: Grades will be based on the accumulation of points. Each of the two examinations containing short answer questions and an essay will be worth 100 points. Each examination will cover the material on one-half of the course. Class attendance and participation will be worth 25 points. The research paper and oral presentation will be worth 75 points for a total of 300 points.
A = 270-300 points
B = 240-269 points
C = 210-239 points
D = 180-209 points
F = 179 or below.
Late Submission of Course Materials: Late assignments will receive a reduced grade.
Classroom Rules of Conduct: Assignments are due the date listed on the syllabus. Students should contact the instructor in advance if unable to attend class.
Pagers and/or cell phone: Pagers and cell phones are banned during the class period.
Plagiarism: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. <a href="http://www.park.edu/catalog">
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog</a> Page 101
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences
via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate
Catalog Page 100
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