PH101 Intro to Philosophical Thinking

for FA 2007

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PH 101 Intro to Philosophical Thinking


FA 2007 HO


Forester, Andrew W.


Adjunct Philosophy Instructor


M. Div. - Midwestern Baptist Seminary
B.S. - Missouri State

Office Location


Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 12:15 PM

Credit Hours



Kessler, Gary E. Voices of Wisdom: A Multicultural Philosophy Reader, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth, 2007.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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Course Description:
An entry into philosophy by 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 instructor's educational philosophy incorporates multiple communication mediums to introduce and reinforce concepts.  Learners will be encouraged to engage in discussion, introspective journaling, lectures, readings, exams, discussion boards, group projects to add to the overall environment of free inquiry and expression of ideas in the classroom.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. become familiar with the basic issues of philosophy
  2. demonstrate a knowledge of the major thinkers and philosophers throughout history;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of basic terms necessary for reading and understanding philosophical writings;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the major philosophical questions and puzzles;
  5. demonstrate an increasing ability to understand and evaluate different worldviews;
  6. synthesize information from the text, lecture, discussion and life experience to develop a personal philosophy of life.
Class Assessment:

1. Exams: (300 points)

Two regular exams and a final exam will be given during the course. Each regular exam is worth 75 points each. Regular exams will be multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and true/false. Exam material will come from the text book, class lectures and class discussions. 

The Final Exam is “open book”, “open notes”. The Final Exam is worth 150 points, is comprehensive and will be in short answer and essay form. On the Final Exam, students will be graded on their ability to synthesize information from lecture, readings, discussions and life experience.

2. Journal Responses (300 points)

During the course, five reflection questions will be posed. Students will give a thoughtful, educated response based on class lectures, readings and class discussions. Each response is worth 60 points. Responses to these questions are subjective and should reflect the student’s own educated opinion. Responses should be at least four paragraphs in length; they can be handwritten or typed. The journal is not limited to these required responses, students may also use this journal to record thoughts, ideas and musings.

3. Writing Assignments (300 Points)

A. Investigative Biography (150 points)

Students will write a research paper on a person that had great influence on philosophy. Students will provide a good summary of 1.) the person’s beliefs, 2.) why they believed them, and 3.) how that impacts our society today. The body of this paper should be no less than two full pages and no more than four full pages (typed, double spaced, size 12 Arial font, 1 inch margins, please). 

B. Reaction Paper (150 points)

Students will write a reaction response to an assigned book. The body of this paper should be no less than three full pages and no more than six full pages (typed, double spaced, size 12 Arial font, 1 inch margins, please). In this assignment, students will 1.) give a concise summary of the facts of the story (1-2 pages), and 2.)give an informed response to the ideas presented (2-4 pages).   Students may choose from one of five books: 

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

3. Night by Elie Wiesel

4. Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

5. Rena’s Promise by Rena Cornreich Gelissen

4. Class Participation (100 points)

Class participation grade will be enhanced by such actions as attendance, regular and pertinent participation in class discussion, evidence of preparation for class, thoughtful regard for and interaction with other students, and insightful questions.   Class participation will be decreased by such actions as lack of preparation for class, poor attitude, lack of classroom participation, being late with assignments, tardiness, and absences. This is a subjective grade given by the instructor at the end of the semester. With regard to class participation, the operative question is not, “How little can I do to get by?” but rather, “How much am I willing to contribute to the learning environment of this class?” 

5. Extra Credit (Millions and Millions of Life Experience Points)

Extra credit opportunities will be announced in class. In the past, extra credit opportunities have included attending (and writing a short response to) lectures, exhibits, service projects or cultural events. These opportunities are optional but will enhance the student’s understanding of Philosophy or a particular subject at hand. These opportunities will be provided at the instructor’s discretion. Students who have a fair or poor attendance/participation record should not presume that extra credit opportunities will be offered to them.

·         Reading Assignments: Weekly readings and reading questions will be assigned on a regular basis to aid the student’s understanding of the subject being discussed. While no points are given for completing assigned readings or questions, failure to keep up in this area will become evident during class discussions and will negatively affect the student’s class participation grade. 

·         Writing Requirements: A high quality of writing and grammar usage is important in the production of all class work and assignments. Assignments that show a lack of attention and/or low proficiency in writing and grammar skills will be returned un-graded for correction and resubmission. If resubmission of an assignment makes the assignment late, late penalties will apply.

Figuring Your Grade: 


Points Possible

My Points

1a. Exam #1


1b. Exam #2


1c. Final Exam


2a. Journal Entry #1


2b. Journal Entry #2


2c. Journal Entry #3


2d. Journal Entry #4


2e. Journal Entry #5


3a.  Investigative Biography


3b. Reaction Paper


4. Class Participation


5. Extra Credit


Total Points


·         Final grades will be issued on the following scale:

900 + = A, 800-899 =B, 700-799=C, 600-699=D, 599 and below = F

Grades of “Incomplete” will not be given except in rare circumstances.   A grade of “W” for withdrawal will not be given after the deadline. If a student feels that a grade received is unfair, they will have two (2) weeks from the date the assignment was returned to complete the “Request for Grade Review” form. Following the completion of the form, the merits of the student’s contention will be reviewed and the grade will be adjusted appropriately (or remain the same). 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

·         Late Work: Late work will be accepted. Work missed due to an “Excused” absence must be turned in by the next class period and will not carry a penalty. If the absence is “Unexcused” the grade received on any regular assignment turned in after the due date will be reduced by 10% for each day it is late. Assignments that are more than 10 days late received a grade of zero. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

·         Cell Phones:    You may leave your phone or pager on if you set it to silent or vibrate. However, cell phone usage (including: receiving, answering and making phone calls; leaving the classroom to take a call, text messaging, and direct-connecting) is prohibited from the time class begins until dismissed.   At the discretion of the instructor, exception to this policy is possible in special circumstances. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:



Assignments (Due Dates)

                             Section 1: Introductions

Mon. Aug 20

Introductions & Introduction to Philosophy


Fri. Aug 24

Syllabus & Logistics

¨      Journal Entry #1 (Due Monday Aug. 27)

Mon. Aug 27

Philosophy Today

Fri. Aug 31

History of Philosophy

¨       Investigative Biography (Due Friday Sept. 7)

Mon. Sept. 3

No Daytime Classes –
Enjoy Labor Day

                             Section 2: Ethics

Fri. Sept 7

Introduction to Axiology

Mon. Sept. 10


Fri. Sept. 14


¨      Journal Entry #2 (Due Monday, Sept. 17)

Mon. Sept 17

Applied Ethics

Fri. Sept 21

Political Philosophy

Mon. Sept 24


Fri. Sept. 28

Exam #1

                             Section 3: Epistemology

Mon. Oct. 1

Introduction to Epistemology

Fri. Oct. 5


¨      Journal Entry #3 (Due Monday Oct. 8)

Mon. Oct. 8


Fri. Oct. 12


Mon. Oct. 15

Fall Break –
No Daytime Class

Fri. Oct. 19

Fall Break –
No Daytime Class

Mon. Oct. 22


                             Section 3: Metaphysics

Fri. Oct. 26

Introduction to Metaphysics

¨      Journal Entry #4 (Due Monday Oct. 29)

Mon. Oct. 29

Supernatural Phenomenon

¨      Reaction Response (Due Monday Nov. 19)

Fri. Nov. 2


Mon. Nov. 5

Religion’s Role in Society

Fri. Nov. 9

World Religions

Mon. Nov. 12

Veterans Day –
No Daytime Class

Fri. Nov. 16


Mon. Nov. 19

Fatalism and Free Will

¨      Journal Entry #5 (Due Monday Nov. 26)

Fri. Nov. 23

Thanksgiving Holiday –
No Daytime Class

Mon. Nov. 26


Fri. Nov. 30

Exam #2

Mon. Dec. 3

Philosophy in Film

Fri. Dec. 7

Concluding Thoughts

Mon. Dec 10

Final Exam 
10:15 AM to 12:15 AM

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85

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.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. 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 "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

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: .


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Last Updated:9/1/2007 1:03:17 PM