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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PH 101-1"
COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Philosophical Thinking "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Brunella Antomarini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS:
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
We all have opinions about what is true and false, right and wrong, what is just, divine, and beautiful, what the self, mind, and soul are, or what makes us free. But can we justify our opinions about such things? Have we given rational and open-minded consideration to criticisms and alternatives, or are our opinions perhaps based only on prejudices and assumptions? In this course you will learn to use philosophical thinking to test and improve your opinions and your ability to evaluate the claims of important philosophers. Through the study and discussion of philosophical texts, classic or contemporary, you will grapple with issues of fundamental human importance and develop your capacities for careful reading, clear writing and speaking, and logical argumentation.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

Part of the course will regard a general historical reconstruction of western philosophical movements and theories, with a special focus on some of the most influential currents (such as “idealism”, “materialism”, “rationalism”, “nihilism” and “existentialism”). Each session will be supported by the reading of some of the most representative thinkers in each historical frame. The course will focus on practical applications of philosophical thinking, in the main fields of ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, politics and science.  One or more films are envisaged, depending on time schedule.

 REFERENCE TEXTS:

Thomas Nagel, What does it all mean? A very short introduction to philosophy, 1987

G. Skirrbekk, History of Western Thought, Routledge 2001.

 

PERCEPTION

Plato

Aristotle

Locke

Kant

 

LOGICAL THINKING

Plato

Aristotle

Descartes

Vico

Locke

Kant

Nietzsche

 

CAUSALITY

Plato

Aristotle
Descartes

Locke

Kant

Nietzsche

 

FINALITY

Plato

Aristotle

Descartes

Kant

Nietzsche

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Aristotle

Galileo

Descartes

Kant

 

POLITICS

Plato

Aristotle

Machiavelli

Hobbes

Locke

Adam Smith

Kant

Marx

Arendt

 

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/

Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy https://is.muni.cz/el/1421/podzim2014/LJMgrB07/um/Cambridge_Dictionary_of_Philosophy.pdf

Cosmolearning. General Introductions to philosophy. http://www.cosmolearning.com/philosophy/

FILMS

Excerpts from

Modern Times by C.Chaplin

The Matrix by A. and L. Wachowsky

Enjoy Poverty, by Renzo Martens



The following areas will be examined through classical and modern philosophers’ views:

 LOGICAL THINKING

Plato

Aristotle

Descartes

Locke

Leibniz

Kant

 SPACE TIME CAUSALITY

Plato

Aristotle

Descartes

Locke

Kant

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Aristotle

Galileo

Descartes

Diderot – d’Alembert’s Dream

Kant

M. Donald

POLITICS

Plato

Aristotle

Machiavelli

Hobbes

Locke

Adam Smith

Kant

Marx

Arendt

Rifkin

PERCEPTION

Plato

Aristotle

Locke

Kant

LANGUAGE

Leibniz

Locke

Vico

M. Donald

 

 

 



 

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

By the end of the semester students will be able to master and use basic philosophical concepts.  They will also be capable of individuating the major fields of philosophical analysis, and of critically constructing their own perspective on these issues.

 

TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Final exam 40%
papers, attendance, participation in class 35%
- Mid-term exam  25%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for t
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Students should plan to regularly attend the class, since we will often broaden the topics contained in the texts to contemporary issues, and since this class is mainly intended to the rousing of students’ personal thoughts and ideas.

Please refer to the university catalog for the attendance and absence policy.

Academic honesty

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course.

The use of the computer is not allowed in class.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE





Introduction: what is philosophy

Nagel

Socrates, Plato and ancient idealism

Commenting on Plato’s texts

Aristotle and naturalism

Machiavelli and political theory

Reading Machiavelli

Modern Philosophies, Galileo and the birth of science

Descartes and rationalism

Commenting on Descartes’ text

Hobbes

Locke

Seminar

Film

Adam Smith

Vico and philosophy of language

Kant and science

Seminar

Reading Kant

Film

Marx

Arendt

Seminar

Wittgenstein and the contemporary linguistic turn

Kuhn

Merlin Donald

Review

Review

FINAL EXAMINATION