Philosophy 1: Introduction to Philosophy

Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Fall, 2016

 

Contact Information

Instructor: Christopher Lay, Ph.D

Email: laych@piercecollege.edu and teach@christopherlay.com

Website: www.christopherlay.com/intro.html

Office Location: Pierce Village 8340 (moving to 910 in September)

 

Office Hours

A) Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:05AM to 12:35PM (no appointment necessary);

B) or by appointment if you can't meet during A).

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #3384

Lecture Meeting Times:  Wednesdays from 3:45 to 6:55PM

Meeting Location:  BEH 1310

 

Catalog Course Description

"Students analyze some of the fundamental issues of philosophy and humanity that include topics such as knowledge and reality, the foundations of truth and science, and the nature of human consciousness/self."

 

Prerequisite(s)

None

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

 

1) Students will have the ability to formulate some of the core questions of philosophy and understand various philosophical responses to them in their historical and present context. 

 

2) Students will have the ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical claims, arguments and theories using rigorous philosophical methods.

 

 

Required Texts

*

All materials will be found, for free, online. 

 

 

Recommended Texts

*

Relevant entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 

 

 

Course Grade and Assignments

Participation

10% of course grade

Quizzes

15% of course grade

Essays

75% of course grade

 

Grading Scale

A

100 – 90%

B

89 – 80%

C

79 – 70%

D

69 – 60%

F

59 – 0%

 

General Ground Rules:

Do what you can to be collegial and respectful–and don't be intentionally offensive. 

 

Attendance (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students are expected to be in class on time and to remain for the entire class period. Medical appointments, work, job interviews, child-care responsibilities, etc. should be arranged so as not to occur during class time. Please do not make requests for exceptions. Any student who has unexcused absences equaling one week's worth of class time prior to census date may be excluded. Students may drop the class online, before the last day to drop. Students should never rely on the instructor to exclude them. Do not call the college offices to report absences … ."

"By the last day to add the class, students are responsible to inform the instructor of any anticipated absences due to observance of major religious holidays so that alternative arrangements may be made. Failure to do so may result in an inability to make other arrangements or a lower grade." 

"Students who are registered in a class and miss the first meeting may lose their right to a place in the class, but the instructor may consider special circumstances. Instructors will generally only exclude students through the census date for non-attendance. It is the student's responsibility to drop classes in time to avoid fees and/or grades of 'W'."

 

Participation

You are expected to do the readings on schedule (i.e. before the class period indicated) and come to class prepared to discuss them.  Your participation will decide borderline grades, either up or down.  Talking about the substantive issues of the course in office hours and via email, submitting drafts of assignments, and providing evidence of having utilized Pierce College's tutoring services also counts as participation. 

 

Quizzes

Quizzes will be administered at the beginning of various course meetings.  The lowest four quiz grades will be dropped–so no make-up quizzes will be given. 

 

Essays

You will be given a prompt for each of the four essays, and approximately a week to complete it. The essays for this class must be philosophical.  Your essay must have an original thesis/argument and support for that thesis/argument.  Other, specific expectations for the essay will be spelled out in the essay prompts.  Also, you will be expected to correct errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, and spelling.  The lowest essay grade will be dropped. 

 

Drafts

You are encouraged (but not required) to submit rough drafts of assignments (except the final essay).  I will comment on your draft and offer advice and assistance where I can.  Rough drafts should not exceed half of the final draft length (e.g. if the final assignment is three pages the rough draft submitted for comments should not exceed one and a half pages).  I will not comment on drafts submitted too close to the due date (like the night before the assignment is due).  If I get swamped with drafts two days before the assignment is due I sometimes return comments two or three days later along with an extended due date so that you have time to take my comments into consideration. 

 

Late Paper Policy

If you have a credible excuse (e.g., doctor's note, jury summons, obituary notice, etc.) late take-home assignments will be accepted.  Extensions for take-home assignments will be given only when 1) a compelling reason is given and 2) permission is sought at least three days before the normal deadline.  Without a credible excuse, late assignments will be given a third of a letter grade penalty for each day the assignment is late for up to seven days, after which late assignments without a credible excess will not be accepted for anything more than half of the assignment's value. 

 

Turn-Around Times for Emails, Rough Drafts, and Final Drafts

I am usually able to respond to emails within 24-hours, but sometimes I cannot (e.g., it is the weekend, or it is the day before an assignment is due and everyone is emailing me with last-minute questions, etc.)  I usually return rough drafts with comments about two days after they have been submitted to me, but sometimes it takes longer because there is a sudden flood of rough drafts (e.g., when the due date is two days away).  I usually return final drafts (with the exception of the final assignment of the semester) two or three weeks (or one week during a shorter session) after they have been submitted to me (which is not always the same thing as the assignment's due date).  Taking that amount of time to grade final drafts allows me to give you all of the comments I give—I try and give many, many comments.  The final assignment of the semester will be returned upon request only. 

 

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students with physical, psychological or learning disabilities are offered a wide range of services including registration, special parking and counseling. These services are also available to students with a temporary disability such as injury or post-operative recuperation. All services and equipment are provided free of charge to any qualifying disabled student."

"Deaf and learning disabled students are offered additional services including special classes, tutoring and computer-assisted instruction. The Disabled Students Office is located in the Student Services Building, room 48175. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m." 

Phone: (818) 719-6430

Fax: (818) 710-4219

VP Number:(818) 436-0467

Email: special_services@piercecollege.edu

 

Three Attempts Policy

Familiarize yourself with the new statewide policy regarding how many times (generally 3) you may attempt a class before you are ‘locked out’ of further attempts in the LACCD.  See the Pierce College Schedule of Classes, the Counseling Center, or me for more info. 

 

Name and Gender Policy

The campus provides me with a roster that lists the name that it has on record for you.  But you may prefer a different name. In such cases, please email me or correct me in class and I’ll gladly refer to you however you wish as best I can.  The same applies with gender identity – if you identify with a particular pronoun, set of pronouns, or always by your proper name, please let me know and I’ll be sure to my part.

 

Current and Former Foster Students

Pierce College is making a special effort to support current and former foster youths at Pierce College. If you are a current or former foster youth you may qualify for other support services to help you achieve your educational goals.  Please contact our Guardian Scholars Program at (818) 710-3323 or send an email to guardianscholars@piercecollege.edu so you can get the support you are eligible for.

 

Reading and Assignment Schedule

(Subject to occasional change)

 

 

 

Week One

Course Overview

 

 Reading: Course Syllabus and Schedule

Week Two

Metaphysics of Virtue

 

Reading: Plato's Meno (from the beginning of the dialogue, where Meno asks: "Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor by practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?" until the spot where Socrates says: "I know, Meno, what you mean; but just see what a tiresome dispute you are introducing. You argue that a man cannot enquire either about that which he knows, or about that which he does not know; for if he knows, he has no need to enquire; and if not, he cannot; for he does not know the very subject about which he is to enquire.")

Reading Notes for Plato's Meno

Lecture Notes

 

Week Three

Epistemological Problem of Enquiry / Metaphysics of Teaching

 

Reading: Plato's Meno (from the spot where Socrates says: "I know, Meno, what you mean; but just see what a tiresome dispute you are introducing. You argue that a man cannot enquire either about that which he knows, or about that which he does not know; for if he knows, he has no need to enquire; and if not, he cannot; for he does not know the very subject about which he is to enquire" to the spot where Socrates asks: "Then, as we are agreed that a man should enquire about that which he does not know, shall you and I make an effort to enquire together into the nature of virtue?")

Reading Notes for Plato's Meno

Lecture Notes

 

 

Week Four

Virtue qua Knowledge / Understanding

 

Reading: Plato's Meno (from the spot where Socrates says: "I know, Meno, what you mean; but just see what a tiresome dispute you are introducing. You argue that a man cannot enquire either about that which he knows, or about that which he does not know; for if he knows, he has no need to enquire; and if not, he cannot; for he does not know the very subject about which he is to enquire" to the spot where Socrates asks: "Then, as we are agreed that a man should enquire about that which he does not know, shall you and I make an effort to enquire together into the nature of virtue?")

Reading: Plato's Meno (from the spot where Meno asks: " ... Whether in seeking to acquire virtue we should regard it as a thing to be taught, or as a gift of nature, or as coming to men in some other way?" though to the end of the dialogue.) 

Reading Notes for Plato's Meno

Lecture Notes

 

Week Five

Virtue qua Knowledge / Understanding

 

Reading: Plato's Meno (from the spot where Meno asks: " ... Whether in seeking to acquire virtue we should regard it as a thing to be taught, or as a gift of nature, or as coming to men in some other way?" though to the end of the dialogue.) 

Reading Notes for Plato's Meno

Lecture Notes

 

Wednesday, September 28

First Essay Due

 

Week Six

Epistemology, Knowledge, and Accounts  

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Lecture Notes

 

Week Seven

Epistemology, Knowledge, and Accounts 

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Lecture Notes

 

Week Eight

Epistemology, Knowledge, and Accounts 

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Lecture Notes

 

Wednesday, October 19

Second Essay Due

 

Week Nine

Parts, Sums, Wholes, & Understanding 

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's Theaetetus

Lecture Notes

 

Friday, October 28

Second Essay Due

 

Week Ten

Metaphysics of Self

 

Reading: Descartes' First, Second, & Sixth Meditations (excerpts)

Reading Notes for Descartes' Meditations (excerpts) 

Lecture Notes

 

Week Eleven

Metaphysics of Self

 

Reading: Churchland's Matter and Consciousness (excerpts)

Reading Notes for Churchland's Matter and Consciousness (excerpts)

 

Week Twelve

Metaphysics of Self

 

Reading: Churchland's Matter and Consciousness (excerpts)

Reading Notes for Churchland's Matter and Consciousness (excerpts)

 

Friday, November 18

 Sunday, November 20

 

 

Third Essay Due

Week Thirteen

Epistemology of Mind

 

Reading: Jackson's "What Mary Didn't Know" 

Reading Notes for Jackson's "What Mary Didn't Know"  

 

Week Fourteen

Metaphysics and Science of Mind

 

Reading: Jackson's "What Mary Didn't Know" 

Reading Notes for Jackson's "What Mary Didn't Know"  

Lecture Notes

 

Week Fifteen

Metaphysics and Epistemology

 

Review

Week Sixteen

Finals Week

Wednesday, December 14

Final Essay due via email (but I will be in the normal classroom from 4:30PM to 6:30PM)

 

Conduct on Campus for Students and Instructors (from http://info.piercecollege.edu/info/conduct/index.asp): 

"LACCD Board Rule 9803 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT"

"A student enrolling in one of the Los Angeles Community Colleges may rightfully expect that the faculty and administrators of the Colleges will maintain an environment in which there is freedom to learn. This requires that there be appropriate conditions and opportunities in the classroom and on the campus. As members of the college community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment, to engage in the sustained and independent search for truth, and to exercise their rights to free inquiry and free speech in a responsible, non-violent manner. In the furtherance of the students' interest in free inquiry and the search for truth, it is also important that students be able to hear the views of non-students and engage in the free exchange of ideas with non-students."

 

Academic Honesty (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"I . Violations of academic honesty and integrity occur when a student participates in any act in which he/she uses deception or fraud while performing an academic activity. Violations include, but are not limited to, the following:

"• Submitting for a grade the words, ideas, and/or written work (including laboratory notes and drawings) of another person without giving due credit to that person. This includes purchased papers or papers written by other students."

 

Student Grievances (from http://www.piercecollege.edu/offices/compliance/stdgrievance.asp): 

"The student grievance procedure is designed to provide a prompt and equitable means for resolving student grievances, including but not limited to the grading process. The grievance procedure may be initiated by a student or group of students who reasonably believe that they have been subject to unjust action or denied rights that adversely affect their status, rights, or privileges as a student. To initiate a student grievance, please contact the Office of Student Services at 818-710-6418."

"Informal Resolution"

"All parties involved in a potential grievance are encouraged to seek an informal remedy."

"The recommended steps for students to follow are:

"meeting directly with the faculty member(s) with whom the student has a problem"

"meeting with the department chair of the faculty member(s)"

"meeting with the department's Dean of Academic Affair" or

"meeting with the College Ombudsperson Ombudspersons are faculty members appointed by the Academic Senate to assist students in obtaining informal resolution of a grievance."