Introduction to Philosophy
This course examines some of the most fundamental philosophical questions through a careful reading of pivotal texts in Western philosophy, including works by Plato, Rene Descartes, David Hume, Thomas Reid, and G. E. Moore, as well as some contemporary scholars. Our main focus will be on questions in metaphysics and epistemology, such as: Are we born with anything in our minds, or are we completely "blank slates" at birth? What is the nature of the soul, and is there an afterlife? Does God exist? What are the fundamental entities in the world? What is the nature of knowledge exactly? What can we know, if anything, about ourselves and the world around us? Students will be encouraged to understand, articulate, and evaluate the arguments used by philosophers in response to these questions, and they will gain the tools to defend their own answers in thoughtful and systematic ways.