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Course Syllabus

Course: PHIL 1000

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Introduction to Philosophy

Semester Approved: Summer 2017
Five-Year Review Semester: Summer 2022
End Semester: Summer 2023

Catalog Description: This course is designed to help students better understand themselves and their relationship to the world by reading various points of view related to questions about morality, politics, religion, and approaches to truth.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Justification: This course helps students see the application of philosophic thought to their lives. It is a basic element in understanding Humanities as the expression of thoughts and values that define an individual and a culture. All colleges in the USHE system teach Introduction to Philosophy at the Freshman level. The course fulfills the HU GE requirement.The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  Students will read and engage with philosophical texts in the major areas of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. They will be able to demonstrate their understanding of philosophy and its fundamental arguments through exams, essays, class discussions, quizzes, group projects, and reflective journals.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Students read a variety of philosophical arguments, discuss their understanding of the reading material and offer criticism of these arguments. For example, students read Socrates's argument on the meaning of justice. In small groups they summarize the dialogue and criticize the definitions. The instructor attends each group and offers critiques of their reading comprehension.

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can speak and write effectively and respectfully as a member of the global community, and work effectively as a member of a team. Students write essay exams and out of class essays that demonstrate their ability to answer philosophic questions raised in the readings. Instructors respond to the clarity, informativeness, and persuasiveness with grades and suggestions.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students will demonstrate, in exams and/or essays, the ability to analyze philosophical arguments and then advance and articulate their own arguments in response.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Ask and explore a variety of philosophical and theoretical questions about human thought and experience.
Through the study of a representative selection of philosophical texts, students will be introduced to the major areas of philosophical study: metaphysics, epistemology, and moral philosophy. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask and explore philosophical questions through class discussions, quizzes, written assignments, and exams.  

Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy.
Through the Socratic method, students will be able to see the importance of questioning knowledge systems and ideologies. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask questions and challenge assumptions through class discussions, quizzes, written assignments, and exams. 

Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present.
Students will review the history of philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to the present. Students will also explore how non-Western cultures practice philosophical thinking. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the complexities of philosophy through class discussions, quizzes, written assignments, and exams.  

Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterrpreted) from a Humanities' perspective.
Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary philosophy texts. Reading strategies, journaling, discussion, and exams will allow students to demonstrate an ability to read critically in order to understand, explain, and apply philosophical texts.  

Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments.
Students will be to write an analysis of philosophical arguments that demonstrates their ability to construct an argument that relies on a strong thesis, adequate textual support, and critical thinking.  

Through lecture, class discussion, and student group presentations, this course covers the following topics: The purpose and method of philosophy, Human Nature, Reality, Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, Ethics, and Social Philosophy.

Key Performance Indicators:
Essay exams: 20-40%  

Short essays (students will write between 8-10 finished pages): 20-40%  

Reflective journal: 10-30%  

Reading with quizzes: 10-20%  

Group project: 10-30%  






Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Velasquez, Manuel. Philosophy: A Test with Readings. Current Edition.

Solomon, Robert. The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy. Current Edition.

Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy.

Pedagogy Statement:

Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20