Introduction to Philosophy
INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY 07 F15 SYLLABUS Introduction to Philosophy Meetings: 12-1:20pm Mondays and Wednesdays in Tillett 111 Instructor: Pamela Robinson Contact: [email protected] Office Hours: ~3pm on Mondays and Wednesdays Course Description and Goals This course provides an introduction to a number of important philosophical problems, including the existence of God, the possibility of free will, the nature of the mind, and the requirements of morality. Doing philosophy builds highly transferable skills. Some of the abilities you’ll have an opportunity to develop and hone in this course are: (a) the ability to understand, evaluate and create arguments, (b) the ability to respond well to criticism, (c) the ability to approach controversial topics rationally, (d) the ability to express yourself clearly and directly, (e) the ability to understand complex concepts and debates, and (f) the ability to think carefully, logically, analytically and abstractly. This course meets the Core Curriculum Learning Goal: Examine critically philosophical and other theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and/or cultural production. Course Materials You will need a paper copy of Problems from Philosophy (Third Edition) by James Rachels and Stuart Rachels. Additional required readings will be made available on Sakai in the Resources folder. Writing clearly and grammatically is one of the most useful skills you can develop. A useful book to have on hand for this course and for university in general is Janis Bell’s Clean, WellLighted Sentences. (Available for under 12$ on Amazon as I write this.) Course Schedule Summary September 2 MODULE 0 First Day! Argument Components and Analysis Dates September 8, 9, 14, 16 Readings Rachels Ch 1, Sakai supplement INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY 07 F15 MODULE 1 Arguments For and Against the Existence of God Dates September 21, 23, 28, 30 MODULE 2 Readings Rachels Chs 8, 9, Sakai supplement Mind and Body Dates October 19, 21, 26, 28 November 2, 4, 9 MODULE 4 Readings Rachels Chs 2, 3, Sakai supplement Free Will Dates October 5, 7, 12, 14 MODULE 3 SYLLABUS Readings Rachels Chs 4, 6, 10, 7, 5, Sakai supplement Morality Dates November 11, 16, 18, 23, 30 December 2, 7 Readings Rachels Chs 11, 12, Sakai supplement December 9: Review Day December 21: Final Exam (12-3pm) ** Before the beginning of each module, I’ll post a detailed schedule on Sakai (in the Resources folder) which will include the quiz dates as well as due dates for readings, forum contributions, homework, peer reviews, etc. Assessment Your final grade will be decided by how many points you earn over the course of the semester. Work Module 0 quizzes Modules 1-4 quizzes Homework Module 2 forum Module 3 forum Module 4 forum Peer Review Final exam (12 + 18) (80 × 3) (5 + 10 + 5) (25 + 50 + 25) (40 + 80 + 40) Max Points Final Grade Conversion 30 240 100 20 100 160 50 300 950+ 850-949 800-849 750-799 700-749 600-699 0-599 Total 1000 +Forum bonus points ?? à à à à à à à A B+ B C+ C D F INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY 07 F15 SYLLABUS Course Policies Attendance and Lateness If you miss class or arrive late for any reason, you are responsible for finding out from other students what information and materials you missed. When you return to class, I will assume that something important came up and that you have been caught up. Missed Quizzes All quizzes will begin within the first ten minutes of class, and answers will be revealed immediately. You’ll also do each quiz once on your own and once as a team. Because of this, missed quizzes cannot be made up or re-taken. Since there will be 4 module quizzes and only the best 3 will count toward your total quiz score, you have one ‘free pass’ available for occasions on which you must miss class or you arrive too late to take a quiz. You’re advised to pay special attention to making it to class on time for the first day of modules 1-4, and to treat each quiz like a mini mid-term exam. The module 0 quizzes cannot be dropped. Late Homework Late homework will not be accepted. Late or Missed Forum Contributions Forum contributions submitted after the deadlines are very welcome, but are no longer eligible for points. If you’re submitting something for points, double-check that it has been successfully posted. (If you want a safeguard against Sakai glitches or mishaps, I recommend taking screen-shots of each of your posts embedded in their threads once you’ve submitted them. That way you’ll have this evidence to show me if anything goes wrong, and you can delete the screen-shots once you’re sure the posting was successful.) Acceptable Excuses To be excused from coursework, you must have a reasonable and confirmed excuse. Such an excuse is had only if either: (i) you must observe a religious holiday on a quiz day, (ii) you are ill and have a note from a health care provider, or (iii) you have a personal or family emergency and a note from the office of the Dean of your college confirming this. If you have an acceptable excuse for missing a quiz or piece of homework, you will not have the chance to earn points for it, but the other quizzes/homework will be adjusted so that they’re worth more points. INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY 07 F15 SYLLABUS Personal Electronic Devices Studies have been piling up about the bad effects of allowing the use of personal electronic devices in the classroom. It’s been shown to be detrimental both to individual students and to classes as a whole. Students seem to have a difficult time restricting their use of these devices to course-relevant material, and can’t seem to help checking (e.g.) social media. But more importantly, there is very good evidence that even when students manage to stay on task (e.g. using the device for note-taking), their comprehension and retention of course material suffers. So on this basis, no personal electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) may be used during class at any time without my prior approval. Approval will only be given to students with a doctor’s note informing me of a condition that requires such devices. Disruptions and Distractions To ensure that class time is productive for all, students must not engage in secondary discussion or otherwise make secondary noise while I’m speaking or other students are speaking to the class. To enforce this rule, teams will be docked 1 point each time any of their members disrupt or distract class. Cheating Cheating threatens the credibility of Rutgers and harms the vast majority of students who earn their grades honestly. It also harms the cheaters, as they rob themselves of the opportunity to build skills important to their success later in life. I don’t expect any of you to want to try this, but if you’re that desperate, think again. Cheating and plagiarizing will result in a zero on the relevant quiz/exam/assignment. If you’re caught cheating more than once, you risk failing the course and having the incident noted in your permanent academic record. It is the responsibility of all students to familiarize themselves with the official Rutgers policies on this matter. (See http://academicintegrity.rutgers.edu/policy-onacademic-integrity.) Team Conflicts Working with your team should be fun. While I don’t expect there to be conflicts, if they do arise first try to resolve them as a team. It’s in the interest of your team to resolve them congenially. If this is unsuccessful, you can come see me, either individually or as a group, and I will do my best to help!