PH101 Intro to Philosophical Thinking

for FA 2009

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PH 101 Intro to Philosophical Thinking


FA 2009 HO


Forester, Andrew W.


Adjunct Professor of Religion and Philosophy

Office Hours

By appointment before or after class


Class Days


Class Time

12:00 - 1:15 PM

Credit Hours



Solomon, Robert C. The Little Philosophy Book. New York: Oxford, 2008.
Frankl, Viktor.  Man's Search for Meaning.  Boston, MA: Beacon Press.  2006. 
(Note:  The 2006 edition is the latest, you can also order any version 1984 or later.  The contents are the same, the page numbers were changed.)

Additional Resources:

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:
PH 101 Introduction to Philosophical Thinking (GE) 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.

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy incorporates multiple communication mediums to introduce and reinforce concepts.  Learners will be encouraged to engage in discussion, 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. Students will become familiar with the basic issues of philosophy
  2. Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the major thinkers and philosophers throughout history;
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic terms necessary for reading and understanding philosophical writings;
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the major philosophical questions and puzzles;
  5. Students will demonstrate an increasing ability to understand and evaluate different worldviews;
  6. Students will synthesize information from the text, lecture, discussion and life experience to develop a personal philosophy of life
Class Assessment:
Students will be given the opportunity to earn their own grade in a variety of ways:

1.  Class Participation (100 Points):

The class participation grade will be enhanced by actions such as attendance and timeliness, regular and pertinent participation in class discussions, evidence of preparation for class, thoughtful regard for and interaction with other students and insightful questions.  Class participation will be decrease by actions such as lack of preparation, poor attitude, lack of classroom participation, being late with assignments, tardiness, and unexcused absences.  This grade will be given at three times during the semester (50 points at week five, 25 points at week eleven and 25 points at week sixteen for a total of 100 points).  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?"

2. Threaded Discussions (300 points)
During the course, 5 threaded discussion forums will be established. Students will make a thoughtful, educated posting based on class lectures, readings and class discussions. Postings are subjective and should reflect the student’s own educated opinion.  Postings must be at least 200-300 words in length.  Additionally, to encourage further discussion and dialogue,  each student must also make a substantive response (100-150 words) to two other student postings. All postings and responses are due before class begins on the due date. 

3. Writing Assignments (300 Points)

A.  Investigative Biography (75 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 ideas or beliefs, 2.) why they believed them, and 3.) how that impacts our society today. Papers should not include basic facts such as date of birth, place of birth, but should focus on that person's ideas. 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.  Reflection Paper (150 Points)
Students will write a reaction response to the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. 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).  
C. Book Review/Movie Review (75 Points)
Students will choose a recent book or movie and review it for its philosophical content.  The themes of the book and the perspective of its writer will determine what philosophical content is available.  Books and movies must be approved by the instructor.  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).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).

4. 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.

5.  Extra Credit (Millions and Millions of Life Expeirence 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 and 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 (especially late in the semester).

Figuring Your Grade:


Points Possible  

My Points

1.  Class Participation (100 Points Available)

1a.  Week 5  50   
1b.  Week 11 25   
1c.  Week 16 25   

2.  Threaded Discussions (300 Points Available)


2a.  Threaded Discussions #1



2b. Threaded Discussions #2



2c.  Threaded Discussions #3



2d.  Threaded Discussions #4


2e.   Threaded Discussions #5    60   

3.  Writing Assignments   (300 Points Available)


3a. Investigative Biography   


3b. Reflection Paper



3c.  Book/Movie Review



4. Exams (300 Points Available)


4a.  Exam #1



4b.  Exam #2   



4c.  Final Exam   



5.  Extra Credit






Late Submission of Course Materials:
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:

1.  Cell Phone Usage:  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. 
2.  Computer Usage:  Computers are wonderful tools that allow us to organize, store and retrieve information quickly and easily.  You are welcome to bring your laptop with you to class for this purpose.  However, with the advent of wireless networks and broadband internet connections, computers now offer students many opportunities for distraction.  Your professor is very adept at identifying when students are distracted by something other than class related information.  If the distractions become too frequent or noticeable, computer usage for the entire class will be disallowed.  Don't let your web surfing or instant messaging habits ruin this privilege for the whole class.

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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Possible Penalties Include:

- verbal reprimand,
- assignment of a lower grade on the assignment in question,
- assignment of failing grade in the course
- expulsion from the course with a passing grade (W)
- expulsion from the course with a failing grade (WF)
- referral to the Student Code of Conduct Administrator for consideration of suspension or expulsion from Park University.

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 "F".
  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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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:7/14/2009 5:51:32 PM