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									                                                                           Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                            Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                      Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                              Fall 2009

Jason Waller
Office: Coleman Hall 3734
Lecture: TTH 12:30 – 1:45
Room: Coleman Hall 2721
Office Hours: MWF 10:00 – 11:00, TTH 2:00 – 3:00, and by appointment.

                                    PHIL 1000G:
                            INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY


    (1) Plato, Five Dialogues. Trans., Grube. Hackett: First Edition, 1981.

    (2) Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. Trans., Donald Cress. Hackett: Third
        Edition, 1993.

    (3) Earl Conee & Theodore Sider, Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics.
        Oxford: 2007.

    (4) Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy. Oxford: 2006.


This course is intended as a first introduction to Western philosophy. No background is required.
Roughly speaking, philosophy is the discipline devoted to answering all of those questions that
cannot be answered by empirical investigation (i.e., looking at the world). For example, in this
course we will be considering the following philosophical questions:

       Is there life after death?
       Do any non-material things exist?
       Can I know anything with absolute certainty?
       Can we prove that we are not in the Matrix?
       Why is there something rather than nothing?
       Does time ―flow‖?
       Does God exist?
       Do we have free will?
       Is everything causally determined?
       What government actions are morally legitimate?
       Who has the right to rule?
       Does it make any sense to claim that there is a single ―will of the people‖?
       How should property be distributed?
       Should the state redistribute wealth from the richer to the poorer citizens?

                                                                           Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                            Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                      Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                              Fall 2009

As this short list of philosophical questions makes clear, philosophy is a huge discipline which is
often related to other academic disciplines (such as physics or political science.) All of these
questions are, however, philosophical questions because no amount of empirical investigation is
going to give us an answer. Thus, if we want to answer these questions (or defend our own
beliefs about the correct answers to them), then we have to do some philosophy.


Your final grade in this class will be made up of five equally weighted parts:

        20 %    Reading Quizzes (Unannounced, Frequent, Prior to Class Discussion)
        20 %    Plato Exam
        20 %    Descartes Exam
        20 %    Metaphysics Exam
        20 %    Political Philosophy Exam


        A       90 % - 100 %
        B       80 % - 89 %
        C       70 % - 79 %
        D       60 % - 69 %
        F       0 % - 60 %


Before many classes you will have a 5 point in-depth quiz on that day‘s reading. These quizzes
will be on material that has not been addressed yet in lecture. Each quiz will be a small number
of short answer questions (1 – 3 usually) and will be given during the first 5 minutes of class.

On the Reading Schedule for each day there are a list of questions. The reading quizzes will be
these questions or close variants on these questions. **The quizzes are open note.** You may
use anything that you wrote in your notebook on the quizzes. Thus, I encourage you to take notes
while you are reading. If you miss a quiz because you are late or missed class, you CANNOT
make it up. If your absence is excused, then I will not count the quiz against you. If your
absence is unexcused, then you will get a 0 for that quiz. **In order to pass the class, even with a
D- you must score a 1 or better on more than half of the quizzes. If you do not (even if you do
well of the exams), then you will fail the course.**


Philosophy is not a subject that you can learn just by listening. It involves active struggle and
fighting with the texts and problems. Thus, before each class I expect you to have read the
assigned material and have worked out answers for all of the questions assigned for that day.
Now, I know that you will not always have a good understanding of the reading before lecture—
that is okay! You don‘t need to have a perfect understanding before you get to class, but you do

                                                                             Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                              Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                        Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                                Fall 2009

have to have spent some serious time honestly thinking about the texts and problems before each
class. If you don‘t, then the lecture will probably not make much sense to you.


As you can see from the Reading Schedule I have set a steady pace for the class. We will try to
stick to this schedule as best we can. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to change this schedule at
any time as the need arises.


If you feel lost or confused about something please: ask questions during class, visit my office
hours or set appointments to meet at times other than my office hours, or email me. I am always
available to answer your questions and help. So please feel free to come and talk to me at any


There will be extra credit assignments offered in the second half of the semester. However, in
order to be eligible to do an extra credit paper you have to ask my permission. I will allow you to
do an extra credit assignment ONLY if you have participated regularly in class discussion and
came to class prepared most days. These extra credit assignments are designed to allow good and
hard working students to earn the grade that they want. Extra credit assignments are NOT for
students who did not work hard to try and boost their grade at the last minute. Thus, if you don‘t
regularly come to class prepared, then don‘t expect to be allowed to do an extra credit paper at the
end of the semester.

The extra credit papers will be three single spaced pages. The first two pages are a thorough
summary of one of the chapters from either the Wolff or Sider book that we did not cover in this
class. The last page is a page where you set out your thoughtful and clear view on the topic.
*When doing an extra credit paper you will have to meet with me at least once to discuss it and so
that I can look over what you are doing.* You may do up to two of these assignments. Each
assignment is worth up to 3 % points for a total of 6 % addition to your final grade.


If I catch you cheating or plagiarizing, then I will fail you for the semester and report you to the
dean‘s office.


If you have a documented disability and require accommodation, please let me know if the first
week of class.

                                                                          Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                           Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                     Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                             Fall 2009

                                   READING SCHEDULE


Tuesday, August 25
      No reading.

Thursday, August 27

      Read: Handouts One, Two, and Three.

      Questions:
          1. What are the two steps involved in philosophy?
          2. How does philosophy differ from science?
          3. What are the four different kinds of conclusions?
          4. What is the difference between being open-minded and being a relativist?
          5. Why is relativism necessarily close-minded?
          6. What is wrong with the phrase ―true for me‖?
          7. What are the five rules of a philosophical debate?

Tuesday, September 1

      Read: Handout Four and Plato, Euthyphro, p. 5 – 16 (up to line number 11b).

      Notes: Plato‘s early dialogue the Euthyphro takes place on the steps of the courthouse
       where Socrates is going to defend himself from the charge of impiety. (He will later be
       found guilty and executed.) The conversation between Socrates and an arrogant old man,
       Euthyphro, concerns the relationship between God and morality. In this dialogue
       Socrates is trying to find a definition of piety. In this context we should understand piety
       to mean ―morally right.‖ Thus, in this dialogue Socrates is trying to find a definition of a
       morally right act. Euthyphro gives socrates a number of different definitions of piety in
       this dialogue and Socrates objects to these definitions. Pay attention to these definitions
       and objections and think about them in terms of the concepts of necessity and sufficiency
       as explained in the Fourth Handout. Read the Fourth Handout carefully before reading
       the dialogue.

      Questions:
         1. What is a necessary condition, sufficient condition, definition, and conditional?

                                                                         Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                          Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                    Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                            Fall 2009

          2. In a true conditional what is the relationship between the consequent and the
          3. Give a necessary condition for being a cat. Give a sufficient condition for being a
          4. Why is Euthphyro at the courthouse?
          5. What is the first definition of piety (p. 9)? What is wrong with it?
          6. What is the second definition (p. 11)? What is Socrates‘s problem? What is
             Socrates‘s corrected definition?
          7. What is Socrates‘s problem with that corrected definition (p. 14-16)?

Thursday, September 3

      Read: Handout Five

      Questions:
          1. Explain what a valid argument is.
          2. Explain what a sound argument is.
          3. Provide a sound argument.
          4. Provide a valid argument with at least one false premise, but a true conclusion.
          5. Provide a valid argument with all false premises and a true conclusion.
          6. Explain why one cannot have a valid argument with all true premises, but a false


Tuesday, September 8

      Read: Plato, Phaedo, p. 93-107 (up to line 70e).

      Notes: After an interesting introduction on death and how philosophers should face
       death, we get the first discussion of Plato‘s theory of the Forms (we will get more later).
       The theory of the Forms is a tricky theory to wrap your mind around. I would read these
       sections very slowly and think about each line. In short, Plato wants to make a
       distinction between individual instances of goodness, beauty, and justice and Goodness,
       Beauty, and Justice themselves. If I look at a beautiful woman, she certain is beautiful—
       but she is not Beauty Itself. If she were (unfortunately) destroyed, Beauty would not be
       destroyed. Rather only one particularly beautiful girl would be destroyed. But Beauty
       would continue to exist. But what is this Beauty, Goodness, or Justice which would still
       exist? Would Beauty still exist if all beautiful things were destroyed? Plato thinks so.

                                                                          Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                           Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                     Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                             Fall 2009

       But then what is Beauty? Pay attention to Plato‘s views about how it is that we come to
       know what Beauty, Goodness, and Justice are.

      Questions:
          1. How did Socrates face death (afraid, happy, sad, lonely, etc.)?
          2. Why does Socrates think that suicide is immoral? What is his argument?
          3. Should wise people want to die?
          4. What is the aim of philosophy?
          5. Why should real philosophers want to die?
          6. When does the soul best understand things?
          7. What is Beauty Itself?
          8. How does one purify one‘s mind/soul?
          9. Why can only philosophers be truly courageous, moderate, brave, etc.?
          10. What is virtue?

Thursday, September 10

      Read: Plato, Phaedo, p. 107-110 (up to line 72e).

      Notes: This is Plato‘s first argument for the immorality of the soul. This argument is
       based on a claim about opposites. These are dense pages, read them slowly.

      Questions:
          1. Where do all things come from?
          2. Regarding opposites there are always two processes. What are these two
          3. Why must the soul pre-exist birth?
          4. What is reincarnation? What is Socrates‘s argument for reincarnation?

Tuesday, September 15

      Read: Plato, Phaedo, p. 110-124 (up to line 79b).

      Notes: These are some of the most interesting and disputed pages in the whole dialogue.
       In these pages, Plato presents his theory of recollection (which is supposed to tell us what
       knowledge is and how we get it) and tells us more about what these Forms are supposed
       to be. (Remember that we first heard about the Forms on page 102.) Spend some time
       reflecting on how these two theories are supposed to relate to each other.

                                                                          Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                           Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                     Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                             Fall 2009

       When thinking about Equality Itself it might be helpful to keep in mind a few things. (1)
       Plato thinks that we can only truly know something (that is, understand it completely) if it
       is unchanging. We can only have opinions about things that are constantly changing (see
       p. 123). If it is changing, then it cannot be completely and totally known (because if it
       was, it would then change.) (2) Plato thinks that everything in the physical world is
       constantly changing. If you reflect on these two points, you will see an argument for the
       existence of Equality Itself, Goodness Itself, etc. [Take a moment to try and figure out
       this argument.] This argument is hinted at in the reading, but is not explicitly stated. For
       this class, think about the theory of the Forms and why Plato believes they exist. Also
       the second half of today‘s reading includes another argument for the immorality of the

      Questions:
          1. What is the doctrine of recollection?
          2. What is the argument for recollection?
          3. What causes us to remember?
          4. What is it that we remember?
          5. Explain what Equality Itself is.
          6. What is the argument for the existence of Equality Itself (p. 112)?
          7. Why do we forget?
          8. Plato thinks that there is an interesting analogy between the soul and the Forms.
              How does he use this to argue for the immorality of the soul?
          9. What does Plato think ghosts are?
          10. What is the difference between opinion and knowledge?

Thursday, September 17

      Read: Plato, Phaedo, p. 124-134 (up to 95b).

      Notes: Today we get two objections to Plato‘s arguments for the immorality of the soul.
       As well as Socrates‘s reply to Simmias‘s objection. Socrates gives three different
       arguments for why the soul cannot be a harmony. Be careful to distinguish these three

      Questions:
          1. What is Simmias‘s objection?
          2. What is Cebes‘s objection?
          3. How did Socrates handle this criticism?
          4. What is Socrates‘s first argument (p. 130)?
          5. What is Socrates‘s second argument (p. 131-132)?
          6. What is Socrates‘s third argument (p. 133)?
                                                                        Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                         Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                   Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                           Fall 2009

           7. Which of these three arguments is the best? Explain.

Tuesday, September 22

      Read: Plato, Phaedo, p. 134-155.

      Notes: Here is Socrates‘s reply to Cebes. This passage is a bit harder because Socrates
       gives a long introduction which concerns his interest in another philosopher named
       Anaxagerous (who we don‘t have to worry too much about). When first hearing about
       Anaxagerous Socrates likes what he hears, but then when he reads his books Socrates is
       disappointed. Pay attention to why Socrates is disappointed. The most important part of
       this passage is where Socrates explains in much more detail how the Forms relate to
       concrete particular things.

       The end of the dialogue has three parts. First, another argument for the immorality of the
       soul. Second, Socrates‘s long description of what he believes the world to be like. Third,
       the famous death scene. The argument is the most important part and then the death
       scene. Don‘t worry too much about Socrates‘s reflections about the structure of the

      Questions:
          1. Why is Socrates disappointed with Anaxagerous?
          2. How do Forms relate to particulars?
          3. What is ―tallness in us‖ (p.141)? How does it relate to the Form Tallness Itself?
          4. How does the theory of participation seem to contradict the argument from
              opposites (p. 141-142)?
          5. What is Socrates‘s last argument for the immortality of the soul (p.144-145)?
          6. What does Socrates believe happens to people after they die (p. 151-2)? How is
              this speculation compare to the traditional Christian view?
          7. What is the significance of Socrates‘s last words?

Thursday, September 24

       **Plato Exam!**

                                                                          Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                           Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                     Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                             Fall 2009


Tuesday, September 29

      Read: Descartes, Meditations, p. 13 – 17.

      Questions:
          1. What is Descartes doing in this meditation?
          2. What does it mean to doubt something?
          3. Why is Descartes trying to doubt everything?
          4. What does Descartes think about dreaming (p. 14)?
          5. Does Descartes think that we are actually dreaming right now?
          6. What is the evil genius?
          7. What kind of beliefs does the evil genius call into doubt?
          8. Does Descartes think that he has proven that there really is an evil genius?
          9. How does the evil genius cast doubts on our beliefs?

Thursday, October 1

      Read: Descartes, Meditations, p. 17 – 20.

      Notes: In this Meditation Descartes attempts to answer the doubts from the first
       meditation and find something of which he is absolutely certain (something that it is
       impossible that he could be wrong about.)

      Questions:
          1. What does Descartes know with certainty?
          2. Why does he think he knows this with certainty?
          3. What am I?
          4. How does Descartes idea of the self relate to Plato‘s?
          5. One can use this argument to create and argument for the claim that the
              mind/soul and the brain (i.e., body) are two really distinct things. Try to find that
              argument. [Hint: are you certain whether your body exists? Can you be both
              certain and not certain of the existence of one thing?]

Tuesday, October 6

      Read: The Formal and Objective Reality Handout and Descartes, Meditations, p. 28 (top)
       – 31 (line 46)

                                                                          Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                           Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                     Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                             Fall 2009

      Notes: In these passages Descartes provides an interesting proof for the existence of
       God. Spend some time carefully studying the handout before you read Descartes‘s

      Questions:
          1. What is the difference between formal and objective reality?
          2. Does reality come in degrees (are some things more real than others)?
          3. What is the causal adequacy principle (CAP)?
          4. How does the CAP allow us to make inferences from effects to causes?
          5. Could we invent the idea of God? Why or why not?
          6. Use the CAP to provide an argument for the existence of God. Put this argument
              in standard format (numbering each of the premises, etc.)
          7. Is this argument persuasive? Defend your answer.

Thursday, October 8

      Read: Descartes, Meditations, p. 51(at line 78) – 53 (end of paragraph starting with line

      Notes: In this reading Descartes will provide two different arguments for the claim that
       the mind and the brain (i.e., body) are not the same thing, but are actually two really
       distinct things. (He will also provide an argument for the external world, which we will
       look at on Thursday.)

      Questions:
          1. What is the principle that Descartes identifies in the first proof?
          2. What is the first proof for the real distinction between the mind and body?
          3. Do you find this proof convincing? Why or why not?
          4. What is the second proof for the real distinction between the mind and body?
          5. Do you find this proof convincing? Why or why not?

Tuesday, October 13

      Read: Descartes, Meditations, p. 52

      Notes: On the last day on Descartes I want to focus on his argument for the existence of
       the external world. Descartes argues that once he has proven the existence of God, then
       he knows with certainty that his senses are accurate (for the most part) and that he is not
       being deceived.

      Questions:
                                                                       Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                        Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                  Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                          Fall 2009

           1. Why does Descartes believe that he is not being radically deceived by his senses,
              memory, etc?
           2. Provide the proof for the existence of the external world in standard format.

Thursday, October 15

       **Descartes Exam!**


Tuesday, October 20

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 87 – 101.

      Notes: We begin our look at contemporary metaphysics with the biggest question of all:
       why is there something rather than nothing? Why isn‘t there just nothing? We will begin
       by clarifying the different questions involved here. Then we will look at one of the most
       intriguing arguments for the existence of God: the ontological argument. The argument
       seems to have a flaw, however. Nevertheless, it seems as though the argument might be
       fixable. (Can you find a way to fix it?)

      Questions:
          1. What are the different questions considered?
          2. What is W?
          3. What is Necessitarianism?
          4. What is Godly Necessitarianism?
          5. What is a concept?
          6. What is the first argument for God‘s existence?
          7. What are the two meanings of ‗of‘?
          8. Why do Conee and Sider think that this first argument fails?
          9. What is an essential nature?
          10. Why do Conee and Sider think that this second argument fails?

Thursday, October 22

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 101 – 111.

                                                                         Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                          Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                    Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                            Fall 2009

      Notes: We end this section by looking at a few other possible explanations for the
       existence of the universe. Pay special attention to the anthropic explanation, tendentious
       explanation, and statistical explanation.

      Questions:
          1. Does necessitarianism require God?
          2. What does contingent mean?
          3. What is an anthropic explanation?
          4. What is a tendentious explanation?
          5. What is a statistical explanation?

Tuesday, October 27

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 62 – 70.

      Notes: This reading concerns two popular types of argument for the existence of God:
       causal arguments and design arguments. We have already seen one kind of causal
       argument in Descartes‘s Third Meditation (based on the Causal Adequacy Principle.)
       Now we look at a few more modern versions. Note: I am skipping the section 78-85
       because this presents another ontological argument for the existence of God.

      Questions:
          1. Is religion just a matter of opinion? [Remember Handout Two.]
          2. What is the first causal argument?
          3. What is the principle of sufficient reason (PSR)?
          4. What is ontological dependence / ontological independence?
          5. What is the second argument for the existence of God?
          6. Does this argument work? Why or why not?
          7. What is a MOHU?
          8. What is the difference between the two different design arguments?
          9. What explains God‘s existence?
          10. Does the fact that we occupy only a small part of the universe cast doubt on the
              existence of God?

Thursday, October 29

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 44-47.

      Notes: We begin our look at the philosophy of time with paradoxes related to ―the flow
       of time.‖

                                                                       Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                        Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                  Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                          Fall 2009

      Questions:
          1. What does it mean to say that time ―moves‖ or ―flows‖?
          2. Why is the idea of time moving so strange?
          3. What is hypertime?
          4. How is the idea of ―now‖ similar to the idea of ―here‖?

Tuesday, November 3

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 47-52.

      Notes: Here we examine the currently most popular theory of time: the space-time
       theory (also known as the B-theory). According to this theory, time does not flow or
       move at all.

      Questions:
          1. What is the space-time theory?
          2. According to this view, does George Washington exist? Do future things?
          3. What are temporal parts?
          4. How does time differ from space?
          5. What does ―now‖ mean on this view?

Thursday, November 5

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 52-61.

      Notes: Today we will examine critiques of the space-time theory.

      Questions:
          1. What does the space-time theory have in its favor?
          2. What is the ―Change Objection‖ to the space-time theory?
          3. Does Sider think that this objection is a good one?
          4. What is the second objection to the space-time theory?
          5. Can things more ―back and forth‖ in time?
          6. What is backward causation?
          7. What are some paradoxes related to backward causation?
          8. Are all time travel stories incoherent?

Tuesday, November 10

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 112-125.

                                                                        Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                         Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                   Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                           Fall 2009

      Notes: Our last week on metaphysics will be spent looking at the problem of free will
       and determinism. Today we begin by clarifying the problem and then looking at two
       contracting positions: Hard Determinism and Libertarianism.

      Questions:
          1. What is determinism?
          2. What is the relationship between free will and moral responsibility?
          3. What is hard determinism?
          4. What are the costs of hard determinism?
          5. What is libertarianism?
          6. What is agent causation?
          7. What is the problem of randomness?
          8. Is libertarianism anti-science?
          9. Can Quantum Mechanics help? Why or why not?

Thursday, November 12

      Read: Conee & Sider, Riddles of Existence, p. 125-133.

      Notes: We end our look at free will with a popular view known as Soft Determinism (or
       Compatibilism.) This view claims that we can be free and causally determined at the
       same time. This position seems to allow us to have out cake (science) and eat it too (by
       having free will.) Nevertheless, there are (as usual) significant problems which have yet
       to be solved.

      Questions:
          1. What is soft determinism?
          2. Does free mean uncaused?
          3. Can a free act be one caused by one‘s freely chosen beliefs and desires?
          4. Do any of his definitions of ‗a free act‘ succeed?
          5. What do you think the best soft determinist definition of ‗free act‘ provided in the
              book is?
          6. Give your own soft-determinist definition of ‗free act‘.

Tuesday, November 17

       **Metaphysics Exam!**

                                                                         Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                          Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                    Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                            Fall 2009


Thursday, November 19

      Read: Wolf, Political Philosophy, p. 1-5, p. 34-46

      Notes: We now being our look at political philosophy. Read the Introduction to the
       book in order to get an idea of what political philosophy is. We will then begin with one
       of the most important political philosophical problems: justifying the state. Is it ever
       okay for someone (or some group) to force you to obey its rules (at the threat of locking
       you in a cage for the rest of your life)? Under what conditions is this okay? Does the
       state actually meet these conditions? Are we under a moral obligation or obey the law?

      Questions:
          1. What is political philosophy?
          2. What does it mean to justify the state?
          3. What are universal political obligations?
          4. What is social contract theory?
          5. What are voluntaristic obligations?
          6. Have we voluntarily agreed to obey the state?
          7. What is tacit consent?
          8. Have we tacitly agreed to obey the state?
          9. What is hypothetical consent?

Tuesday, November 24 – No Class. Thanksgiving Break!

Thursday, November 26 – No Class. Thanksgiving Break!

Tuesday, December 1

      Read: Wolf, Political Philosophy, p. 62-77.

      Notes: We now begin with our second political question: who should rule? At first, this
       question might seem silly. You might think: ―the smartest, bravest, etc.‖ or something
       like that. But a little reflection show how difficult this question is. Don‘t we think that
       ―the people‖ should rule? Aren‘t we in all democrats (in the general sense) after all? But
       what is so great about democracy anyway? Do we really think that democracy is going to
       produce the best laws? We begin today with Plato‘s critique of democracy. Plato
       thought that democracy was a horrible idea. Was he right?

                                                                       Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                        Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                  Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                          Fall 2009

      Questions:
          1. What is Plato‘s analogy with the ship?
          2. Why doesn‘t Plato want ―the people‖ to rule?
          3. Who does Plato want to rule?
          4. Is Plato in favor of dictatorship?
          5. How can we determine the people‘s interests?
          6. What is the problem of mixed-motivation voting?
          7. What kind of motives should voters have?
          8. Is democracy intrinsically good or only instrumentally good? What is the

Thursday, December 3

      Read: Wolf, Political Philosophy, p. 77-93.

      Notes: One of the most influential theories of democracy was developed by the French
       philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). According to Rousseau, we need to
       distinguish between our individual wills and the ―general will.‖ However, figuring out
       exactly what this general will is supposed to be is tricky. Rousseau‘s theory has also
       been subject to some important criticism which has helped to develop a new theory of
       democracy called participatory democracy.

      Questions:
          1. What is the general will?
          2. What is the difference between the general will and our particular interests?
          3. How does Rousseau propose to avoid political parties and factions?
          4. What was Rousseau‘s view of women?
          5. What does Rousseau mean by freedom? How do we achieve freedom?
          6. What are the three contemporary criticisms of Rousseau‘s theory?
          7. What is participatory democracy? How is it a response to the problems with
              Rousseau‘s theory?

Tuesday, December 8

      Read: Wolf, Political Philosophy, p. 133-137, p. 143-152.

      Notes: Now we turn to one of the most controversial issues in any society: the
       distribution of property. Who should own what? Wealth in all countries is distributed in
       very unequal ways—is that morally okay? Some argue that it is immoral for rich kids to
       have so many more opportunities (such as, education, European vacations, important
       contacts in business and government) than poor kids. Aren‘t all people morally equal?

                                                                           Introduction to Philosophy
                                                                            Eastern Illinois University
                                                                                      Dr. Jason Waller
                                                                                              Fall 2009

       Are rich people somehow better than poor people? If not, then how can we defend the
       grossly unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity? We end the semester with these
       tricky questions. One term that might be a problem is utilitarian (on page 143). A
       utilitarian justification is just a justification which argues that doing x will produce more
       good (i.e., utility) than bad.

      Questions:
          1. Explain the income parade.
          2. What is a free market? Do any such markets exist?
          3. What are the good features of free markets?
          4. Why are markets generally considered to be better than planned economies?
          5. What are positive and negative externalities?
          6. What are three common criticisms of markets?

Thursday, December 10

      Read: Wolf, Political Philosophy, p. 152-176.

      Notes: The most widely discussed political philosopher of the last fifty years is the
       American philosopher John Rawls. In 1971 Rawls published his A Theory of Justice.
       This book is one of the most influential political philosophy books ever written. Every
       political philosopher writing after Rawls either accepts a lot of his work or spends a lot of
       time criticizing his theory. He can‘t be ignored. In the reading for today we examine in
       outline Rawls hugely influential theory of justice and some criticisms.

      Questions:
          1. What is a hypothetical contract?
          2. What is the original position?
          3. What is the veil of ignorance?
          4. What principles of justice would people in the original position choose?
          5. What is the difference principle?
          6. What is maximin?
          7. What is Rawls argument for the difference principle?
          8. What is Dworkin‘s objection on the basis of the hypothetical contract that Rawls
              employs? How does Rawls respond?
          9. What is Nozick‘s objection on the basis of patterns (the Wilt Chamberlain
          10. What is Nozick‘s argument against the moral legitimacy of taxation? Is taxation
              always immoral?

*Final Exam Week: 14 December – 18 December

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