introduction to philosophy

course description. this course is an introduction to some of the problems and methods of philosophy. we will explore the following questions: what are gods? do gods exist? what is intelligence? do non-human animals and machines have intelligence? what is the nature of consciousness, and how does it relate to the body? what is knowledge, and what can we know? what is time? what are we? do we have free will? what happens when we die? is death bad? is life meaninglessness and absurd? what should we do, or is there no right and wrong? is there morality without gods? although aspects of these questions can be informed by science, adequate answers require philosophical investigation. in this course you will learn how to approach such questions in a rigorous and uniquely philosophical manner.


  • cultural relativism here are some clips to get you thinking about cultural relativism
    Posted Dec 3, 2012, 9:22 AM by Brian Rabern
  • paper 2 assigned the final paper---paper 2---has been assigned. its due 12/20. hmwk 5 was assigned before the break and hwwk 6 is coming shortly. then that's it.
    Posted Nov 27, 2012, 9:44 AM by Brian Rabern
  • hmwk 4 assigned homework 4 has been assigned. the relevant readings are the following:  locke, "of ideas of identity and diversity" and think, pp. 120-148.due 11/16: *homework 4*
    Posted Nov 8, 2012, 7:32 AM by Brian Rabern
  • time travel to kill hitler could one go back in time and kill hitler? the scenario in the comic below makes perfect sense according to a lewisian understanding of time travel (see david lewis ...
    Posted Oct 28, 2012, 7:53 PM by Brian Rabern
  • can machines think?
    Posted Oct 13, 2012, 11:06 AM by Brian Rabern
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 11. View more »

course schedule

-- intro --
-- gods --
-- knowledge --
-- minds --
 {{ paper 1 due (10/31) }}

-- the self --
      **thanksgiving break**
-- value --
                *paper 2 assigned* (due 12/20) 
bonus reading: j.s. mill, utilitarianism; kant, groundwork for the metaphysics of morals

      {{ paper 2 due (12/20) }}