Phil 110: General Introduction to Philosophy

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					         Phil 110: General Introduction to Philosophy (Online)
                          Cuyamaca College
                                Fall 2012
                            Course Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Courtney Hammond
Phone: 619-259-0592
Office hours: Tuesday/Thursday 8:30-9:30am, 12:15-2:15pm

Course Description (per catalog):
In this basic orientation the student explores, compares, analyzes, evaluates and
discusses a variety of the principle questions addressed in philosophy. Typical
questions examined are: What is the purpose of my existence? Can I know
anything with certainty? Do I really have a free will? Can we prove that God
exists? Why should I be moral? Whose self-interest counts?, etc. Issues covered
will encompass relevant philosophical perspectives from Western and other
major world cultures, and includes contributions of women and minority
cultures to the realm of philosophy.

Course Objectives
Students will be able to:

1) Identify and discuss the principle questions of universal concern raised in
   philosophy, including but not limited to the following: What is knowledge? Is
   there a meaning to life? Does free will exist? Why should I be moral?
2) Compare and contrast a variety of philosophical positions relating to the
   issues considered by discussing their main features and proponents
3) Analyze and discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of the
   philosophical arguments examined using standard logic
4) Identify, analyze and discuss cross-cultural perspectives relevant to the
   philosophical issues being considered
5) Use the language, method and concepts of various philosophical traditions to
   begin to formulate a personal approach to selected philosophical issues

Required Texts

Murphy, Courtney H., Philosophy Matters: Understanding Our Selves and Our
This text is only available to purchase online.
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COURSE: Phil 110 | Introduction to Philosophy
INSTRUCTOR(S): Dr. Courtney H. Hammond

Additional material may be made available on the Blackboard site and on my
website A computer with Adobe
Reader will be necessary to download certain materials, and such computers can
be found in the Cuyamaca College computer labs.

Additional Required Materials
Access to a computer with Internet connection and Word. (When submitting
assignments, I only accept .doc, .docx, and pdf formats. If other files are sent, the
assignment will not be graded.)

Course Requirements
1. Syllabus Quiz to take place the first week of class. This quiz serves as your
acknowledgement and agreement to adhere to the rules and regulations of this
class. You will not be allowed to continue in the class if you fail to submit this
Those who receive a perfect score on the quiz will get 5 extra credit points on
their first reading quiz.
2. 6 reading quizzes—may be short answer, essay, and/or multiple choice (10%
each) Please note that Quiz #3 is very long, so make sure to allow yourself ample
time to complete it.
3. A 3-5 page essay (20%), (Please note that even though the essay counts only
20%, failure to submit it will result in an F for the course.) and
4. Discussion participation (30%).

Details about Course Requirements:
You will have 6 reading quizzes (one of which will be the final, noncumulative.)
These quizzes will be given on the assigned weeks listed in the course outline
below. Each quiz will count 10% and they are posted under the Assignments
tab. You will be given 2 attempts at each quiz, and only your highest score will
count. I will drop your lowest quiz grade at the end of the semester so that the
remaining 5 quizzes will count for 50% of your total course grade. These quizzes
are designed to test your reading skills and to make sure you are keeping up
with the class assignments. They may be short answer, multiple choice, and/or
fill in the blank. I do not allow make up quizzes, so please do not ask. If you
do ask, I will not respond. I will only consider illness as an excuse when
accompanied by appropriate documentation, and when I am notified of the
situation as it begins. The quizzes are made available on the Monday of the week
that they are assigned, and due by the following Sunday at 11:59pm.

In addition to the quizzes, you will be given an essay assignment. The essay will
be a short paper of 3-5 pages in length worth 20% of your final grade. Please note
that failing to submit your essay will result in an F for the course. The topic of the
essay will be posted under the Assignments tab, and you will turn it in there as
well. I will give you information about how to write a philosophy paper, and I
also encourage you to help one another through peer editing.

Finally, philosophy is best practiced as a dialogue. In fact, many of our readings
are written as dialogues. Therefore, most of your time will be spent in
conversation—that is, a conversation with the text that will play out in the
discussion boards. Your participation in this conversation is crucial, and I urge
you to ask questions, offer thoughtful responses, and engage your fellow
classmates and your instructor as often as possible. Each Monday, there will be a
discussion topic posted related to the readings for that week. You are required to
post a minimum of two messages per week, but more is preferable. The
discussion board will close on Sunday at 11:59pm. In order to get the most out of
the discussions, it is crucial that you respond as early in the week as possible. If
everyone waits until Sunday, it won’t be as fruitful as it could be. I will be paying
close attention to those of you who contribute early as I record your grades for
this portion of the class. Your posts may be in response to the original post, to a
classmate, or to me. Some of the topics we will cover are controversial, and some
may be personal for some of you. Therefore, please be respectful when posting
your thoughts. Your discussion contributions will count for 30% of your final
grade. Individual discussion posts will not be graded, and I do not assign a grade
for the discussion until the end of the semester.

How to Succeed in an Online Class:
Many of you have never taken an online course before, and may be confused as
to what to do in order to do well. My suggestion is that you set aside a time at
least 3 to 4 days a week where you can log in to the Blackboard site to check for
announcements and to follow the discussion board. The more regular you make
this, the better connected you will feel and the more you will get out of the
Also, check my website: I often post
interesting articles for you to look at that may highlight the contemporary
relevance of the issues we’re studying. Also, I try to post interesting photos there
as well!
Please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone either. When doing so,
please use, and (619) 259-0592. I will check my
email regularly throughout the semester, but please allow a 24 hour turn around
time for my response. Also, I only respond to emails and calls Monday through
Friday, so if you contact me on the weekend, you will hear back from me on
Monday morning. Finally, make use of your peers! I encourage you to get to
know one another, chat with one another even apart from the discussion boards.
Philosophy is a dialogue—and dialogues are usually more successful when they
involve other people!

How to Succeed in a Philosophy Class
Have you thought about what it would mean to do well in this class? What do
you hope to get out of a philosophy class? I’m here to teach you the material, but
what must you contribute to the learning experience? You will only get out of
this class what you put into it, so the following list is to help you know what
sorts of things you’ll need to do in order to make this a truly fun and
enlightening experience.

   1. Print out this syllabus and have it in the front of your notebook for easy
      access. Take a look at it throughout the semester to refresh your memory
      on requirements, grade percentages, office hour times/location, etc. (I
      spent a lot of time working on it, so I’d love you to actually read it!)
      Become familiar with the course outline so you know what we’re doing,
      when we’re doing it, and where to find it. Also, familiarize yourself with
      quiz and paper due dates so that you don’t miss them.
   2. Some readings (if not all) will require that you read them several times
      before they make sense. This is normal in philosophy—it is also the only
      way to really understand and begin to formulate questions and arguments
      pertaining to them. Don’t expect to read quickly through these readings
      and have anything to say about them—that’s just not the way it works. It
      will get easier—but it will always take time to make your way through
      some of these texts. Don’t cheat yourself out of this kind of learning—it is
      truly rewarding!!!
   3. After doing the readings, try to think of a question you have about it. It
      may be a “What the heck did that mean?” kind of question, and that’s
      fine. But try to find a way to articulate your confusion—what exactly are
      you confused about? This is not easy to do, but with practice it will get
      easier, and it will make you a sharper, more critical thinker in everything
      you do.
   4. We live in the internet age—so make use of this valuable research tool.
      Often you can find information that will help you understand the class
      material, whether it’s the background to a specific author or time, a posted
      lecture, a radio broadcast, interview, etc. Some of the most helpful sites
      are these:
      I’ll also post additional web resources on my homepage, so check there as
   5. Keep in touch! Check the course website regularly—at least three times a
      week—to see if I’ve made any important announcements or added any
      material for you to look at. Checking in often will also help you feel
      connected to the class, and this kind of connection will keep you on task.
      When you feel like you are a crucial part of something, you are more
      likely to stay involved!
   6. Speaking of being a crucial part of something, participating in class will
      help you immensely. The more you contribute to the discussion, the more
      comfortable you will feel. Don’t worry about saying or asking something
      “wrong” or “silly”. I do it all the time! If you are sincerely trying to
      understand the material, then no question you have will be unhelpful.
      And chances are there are 5 other people who have the same question but
      are afraid to ask it. Do it for their sake! 

Classroom “Net”iquette:
In order to make the most of class, a certain learning environment must be
maintained. Especially with respect to the discussions, students must be
respectful of others’ opinions and views. Discussions should be a place where
everyone feels comfortable and free to express themselves in an appropriate way,
without the worry that they will be unfairly criticized or ostracized. Therefore, be
mindful of your comments, and make sure that your criticisms are expressed in a
courteous and fair manner.
Furthermore, only appropriate language will be allowed, i.e. no foul language or
hate-speech. I will remove students from class if their behavior in the discussion
boards becomes disruptive. To sum it up: Be respectful!!!

Extra Help:
Any student needing extra assistance is urged to utilize the tutoring services
available at Cuyamaca College. Therefore, to support your efforts to succeed in
this class, I refer you to the Supervised Tutoring services that are available.
Please refer to the schedule listing in the fall class schedule. All Supervised
Tutoring sections are FREE to you. You need only enroll to receive services—no
units or grades are given.

Grading Policy
A 93-100%
A- 90-92%
B+ 87-89%
B 84-86%
B- 80-83%
C+ 77-79%
C 70-76%
D 60-69%
F 0-59%

***In general, I do not change grades once I’ve given them unless I have made a
clerical error. If I have done so, please bring this to my attention. However, if you
simply do not agree with the grade I’ve given you, and you wish to challenge it,
you must submit a 2 page essay explaining why you think the grade I have given
you does not reflect the quality of your work. Only after receiving this 2 page
essay will I consider taking another look at your work. This does not necessarily
mean that I will give you a higher grade, though. In fact, sometimes upon re-
grading an assignment, I have found I was too generous, and the grade was
lowered. Therefore, only pursue this if you’re absolutely convinced I’ve made a

                                Course Outline
Date             Topics To Be                 Readings /Assignments
8/20-8/26          What is       Read: What is Philosophy?, Does Philosophy Bake
                 Philosophy?     Bread?, and On the Value of Philosophy, Found
                                 under the Documents tab on Blackboard
                                 Syllabus Quiz due by midnight on 1/29
8/27-9/2        Philosophy       Read: Plato’s The Apology found under Course
               and The Good      Documents tab, and Ghandi’s Belief and Human
                    Life         Welfare
                                 Reading Quiz 1
9/3-9/9         The Meaning      Read: Tolstoy’s My Confession and Baier’s The
                   of Life       Purpose of Man’s Existence
9/10-9/16             “          Read: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching
                                 Reading Quiz 2
9/17-9/23       Metaphysics   Movie: The Matrix
                              Read: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
9/24-9/30             “       Read: Bhatt and Mehrortra’s The Buddhist Theory
                              of Knowledge
10/1-10/7      Epistemology Read: Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy
10/8-10/14            “       Read: Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human
                              Understanding, and Lehrer’s The Quarterback in
                              the Pocket
10/15-10/21           “       Read: Cole’s Body, Mind and Gender
                              Reading Quiz 3
10/22-10/28      Faith and    Read: Anselm’s Proslogium, Pascal’s Pensees, and
                  Reason      the Dalai Lama’s Role of Religion in Modern
10/29-11/4            “       Read: Paley’s Natural Theology, and Hume’s
                              Against Paley’s Design Arguments
                              Video: What Darwin Never Knew found at
                              Reading Quiz 4
11/5-11/11            “       Read: Radhakrishnan’s An Idealist View of Life
                              Read: “How to Write a Philosophy Paper” found
                              under the Course Documents tab in Blackboard.
                              Essay Assigned
11/12-11/18    Are We Free or Read: d’Holbach’s The System of Nature
                Determined    Movie: Minority Report
11/19-11/26           “       Read: Hospers’ Meaning and Free Will
                              Reading Quiz 5
11/27-12/2     Ethics: Reason Read: Kant’s Transition from Common Rational to
                and Emotion Philosophic Moral Cognition and Gilligan’s Images
                              of Relationship
12/3-12/10                    Reading Quiz 6
                              Essay Due

The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus if necessary.

This course adheres to the academic policies outlined in the 2011-2012 Cuyamaca
College catalog.

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