Introductory comments (Click tabs to expand and read)
So you’re taking a philosophy course. Chances are you are taking it because it fulfills a basic studies requirement. But now that you’re here, you should embrace the philosophical journey. Your first lesson is this: Philosophy is personal. YOU must take the journey. YOU must grapple with the ideas with which humans have struggled for thousands of years. This course will force you to examine your most deeply held beliefs. It is not enough to know what you believe. You must evaluate WHY you have those beliefs. Do you believe the same things as the great philosophers? Is there any basis for your beliefs?
Philosophy means “the love of wisdom.” Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Those who shuffle through life never properly dealing with the great questions have missed out. You don’t want to miss out. Get involved and make the course personal. Ask questions. Challenge your beliefs as well as those of others. Have fun.
Philosophy is everybody’s business. This course isn’t about “dead white men.” It’s about you.
Topical Approach (Seven great ideas)
Six Great Ideas With the assistance of your book and the corresponding video series, we will explore the following “six great ideas:”
Truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality, and justice.
Additionally, we will deal with a seventh great idea, one that cannot be contained as a chapter of a book - the idea of a creator.
Historical Approach (A brief overview of the history of philosophy.)
We will also take a look at some of the great thinkers of history. We’ll start at the beginning of Western Philosophy and go as far as time permits (typically not very far). It was observed that all the great questions were asked by the earliest philosophers (even before Socrates). Everyone else is building on their work. This is an introductory course. By focusing on the early philosophers, we build a solid foundation. Later on in life, you will read either the works of more contemporary philosophers (or at least read about them), or teachers will discuss them. Those discussions will make more sense to you by having the solid foundation of this course. You will be prepared to analyze and discuss these later philosophers, because you will well understand the basics of philosophy.
Click on the History of Philosophy tab on the right, and you’ll notice that some of the philosophers are highlighted. These are philosophers that we will definitely cover. That will provide a good overview from 585 B.C. through the early 1800’s. If we have time, then we’ll do a few others on the list.
Overall Goal for the Course:
Develop an understanding for the main philosophical questions humans have grappled with through the ages (including now).
Have fun exploring the issues and discussing them in class.
Develop an appreciation for philosophy that may inspire you to take more classes or read more books about philosophy.