Summer Courses

Introduction to Philosophy

Summer 2014
Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
PHIL 001 911
Tuesday 6:30pm-9:30pm
Thursday 6:30pm-9:30pm


Primary Program: 
School of Arts and Sciences
Course Note: 
Also fulfills General Requirement in History & Tradition for Class of 2009 and prior. Freshman Seminar sections offered
Course Description: 

We will consider the following 6 "big" philosophical questions in this course:  1) What is the nature of a mind?  2) Does God exist?  3) What is the nature of a person?  4) Do humans possess free will?  5) Are there limits on human knowledge?  6) What is the basis of morality? These questions do not admit of easy answers and have engaged people for millennia without resolution.  So, our goal for the course is not to settle these questions once and for all (though it would be exciting if we could do that!).  Instead, our goal is the more modest one of determining how we might go about answering these questions for ourselves.  By understanding and analyzing answers people have proposed throughout history, we'll develop an ability to provide a rational argument in support of a position while also learning about many key figures from throughout the Western philosophical tradition. 

This is an ONLINE COURSE.  The course syllabus, directions, and materials will be posted to an online course website.  Students will be expected to access the documents at this course site and participate regularly in the online forum as well as interactive live discussions at the meeting times listed.  Technology requirements may be found at:  //  

The course listing presented here is subject to change. Please confirm all information on the the University of Pennsylvania Registrar's website or via Penn InTouch (PennKey required)