PH101 Intro to Philosophical Thinking

for F1J 2006

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PH 101 Introduction to Philosophical Thinking


F1J 2006 PV


Hartley, Harrison


Senior Adjunct Instructor



Office Location

Before and after class and by apointment.

Office Hours

Before and after class and by appointment.

Daytime Phone

(816) 279-8100. Call anytime and leave a message.

E-Mail (Use for quickest response.)

Semester Dates

21 August to 15 October, 2006

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM



Credit Hours


About Philosophy by Robert Paul Wolff. (Ninth edition.)

Additional Resources:
Other material will be provided or will be available from public sources.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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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:
Philosophy is about trying to think as clearly, objectively, and accurately as possible in order to form a worldview that enables both personal achievement and social connection. The goal of the philosopher should be, in the words of Bertrand Russell, to lead a life of reason guided by compassion. Using selections from the great thinkers (past and present), class members will sharpen their observational, analytical, and communication skills through lecture/discussion sessions, writing, and personal research. Reflecting the breadth of the discipline, classes will include readings, video essays, and demonstrations using artifacts from around the world. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Class members who successfully complete this course will be able to define 80 to 100 terms commonly used in philosophy,
  2. Name and describe the general disciplines of philosophy,
  3. Identify, discuss, and explain the principles of empiricism, rationalism, and mysticism,
  4. Identify, define, analyze, and correctly apply principles of logic and avoid common logical fallacies,
  5. Describe and define the tension between subjectivity and objectivity,
  6. Describe and explain the function of the scientific method,
  7. Describe and explain the universal characteristics of religion (including the positions of theists, atheists, and agnostics and the three primary classical occidental proofs of God),
  8. Identify and explain the foundational ideas and schools of occidental philosophy (including the pre-Socratics, the Socratics, Stoics, Epicureans, and other key thinkers like Descartes, Hobbes, Bacon, Locke, Kant Hume, Kierkegaard, and others),
  9. Frame and defend a coherent statement of current personal philosophy, and
  10. Demonstrate persistence, tolerance, and the desire to expand horizons by attending the course faithfully and participating fully.
Class Assessment:
There will be four sets of questions to take home and associated quizzes for the subsequent class; these will cover readings and lecture /discussion notes. There will be cumulative midterm and final examinations and two analytical papers based on some topic of interest to each class member and approved by the instructor. (There is a chapter in the Wolff text on "How to Write a Philosophy Paper" that will serve as a guide to these essays.) 


Four Question Sets/Quizzes: 40%

Cumulative Midterm Examination: 15%

Analytical Paper #1: 10%

Analytical Paper#2: 15%

Cumulative Final Examination: 20%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Material may be submitted late with the instructor's permission and under reasonable circumstances. ALL material MUST be submitted by the end of the last class (barring alien invasion and/or a tsunami that reaches the middle of Kansas).

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
We will break for sustenance about 6:35 (nobody can philosophy on an empty stomach) and the necessities of nature about 8:15. Please turn off your cell 'phone and leave your Rottweiler at home. Feel free to record lectures if you wish to review them later, and the instructor will record a lecture/discussion for you if you must miss class. Bring something to eat if you wish (clean up your own dishes) and coffee is deemed a necessity by the instructor; you are also welcome to partake.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Each weekly class meeting is given a topical title; chapters not directly assigned will be covered in class (as will instructions for additional reading). Assignments are noted for the next week; dates of tests and papers due are noted in the far right column. Be sure to take copious notes. (It is an excellent and recommended practice to transcribe notes as soon after a class meeting as possible, making observations and clarifications.) Our tests will not be "open book," but there will be extensive review sheets for the midterm and final. (The tests, in fact, are created from the review sheets, so it is impossible for something to creep in that has not been discussed.)


Topical Discussion Guide


Tests; Papers Due

Meeting 1

The Humpty-Dumpty Problem.

For next time, read Ch.2 & material provided.

Test 1: over tonight's introduction.  

Meeting 2

MUMPSIMUS!!! (The Comfort Problem)

For next time, read Ch.3 & material provided.

Test 2: the rise of philosophy; basic principles.

Meeting 3

When you talk to yourself, to whom are you talking?

For next time, read Ch.5, material provided, & the MIDTERM REVIEW.

Test 3: mind/matter relation; nature of metaphysics.

Meeting 4

Of believers, "true" and otherwise.

For next time, read Ch.8 & material provided; essay 1 due.


Meeting 5

A universe stranger than we can imagine.

For next time, read Ch.7 & material provided.

Essay 1 due.

Meeting 6

Bacon Brings It Home; Pascal Loses A Bet; Kierkegaard Makes A Leap!

For next time, read & respond to the material provided as directed.

Test 4: religion and science.

Meeting 7

The Nothingness coiled like a worm at the heart of existence.

Making peace with reality. NB: Final review.

Paper 2 due.

Meeting 8

The life of reason guided by compassion
(or vice versa).

"A life without festivity is like a long road without an inn." Democritus


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 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89
All Park University policies regarding academic honesty and plagiarism will be strictly enforced. If you have any doubt about documentation or references, ask the instructor!

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 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 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
An education is the one thing Americans are willing to pay for and not get! If you must come late, you are still most welcome! If you know in advance you'll miss, let the instructor know and arrange to have notes or a recording made to cover what you have to miss.

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. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .
Any accommodation will be made to provide a pleasant and enjoyable class (as well as a productive one). Ask the instructor about any arrangements that will improve your experience.


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Last Updated:7/11/2006 2:34:18 PM