Spring 2014
Class: PHL100 Problems of Philosophy
Classroom: Mahar 122
Class time: MWF 9:10 am - 10:05 am
Class final: TBA
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: CC212A
Office Hours: MF 1:45 -- 3:00 p.m. and by appointment
Email: craig.delancey@oswego.edu


Introduction

This class is an introduction to philosophy. We will explore a few of the questions that are central to philosophy. The goal is to become familiar with some of the concerns, techniques, and accomplishments of philosophy as a tradition and discipline.

These questions will be:
  1. Can we have certain knowledge?
  2. Can we prove there is a god?
  3. Is the mind a kind of body (probably mostly brain) activity?
  4. What is a person?
  5. Are you free?
  6. Does the universe, or do at least you, have a purpose?

Texts

There is one book that you are asked to purchase and which is required for this course:
Rene Descartes, Meditations
We will read also many other things, but these other texts will be made available on the web, as electronic texts, or as handouts. Please do not take this course if you are unwilling to read and grapple with difficult texts.

We are going to go see two plays, also. You will be asked to watch a movie or two in addition.

Assignments and exams

There will be assignments built around each of our themes that include answering questions about the readings; short papers; and other kinds of exercises. You can expect 1 or 2 short assignments per week. There will also be two exams.

If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete any of the assignments of this course, please contact the Disability Services Office.

Grading

The raw grade will be determined in roughly the following way:
Assignments: 60%
Class exams: 40% (20% each)
See my grading policy for a brief note on how I turn the raw grade into a final grade.

If you miss an exam and have an excused absence for the day you miss the exam, you may make it up, by special appointment with me, when you are able to come back to class. It is your responsibility to arrange any make-up exams as soon as you know you are going to miss the exam. Otherwise you may lose the opportunity to take the test, since I cannot give make-up exams after the class has gone over the answers.

Here is how you secure an excused absence: Only prior notification with credibly documented or easily verifiable reasons (e.g., medical visits to Mary Walker, documented participation in official sporting events, etc.) will result in excused absences. You must notify in writing, call, or email me prior to your absence from class. You must notify the Philosophy Dept. secretary, Jane Santore, before you are going to be absent, via email at santore@oswego.edu, or by phone at x2249. However, you must make sure she knows your name, the number of the course, the date, and your easily verifiable reason, along with a request to forward the information to me. It is better to give your information to me, except when you are unable to communicate with my phone or email for some reason.

Please hold onto all of your assignments and exams. Sometime before the end of the semester I recommend that you ask me to review the grades that I have recorded to make sure that I have not made any mistakes.


College Policy on Intellectual Integrity

Intellectual integrity on the part of all students is basic to individual growth and development through college course work. When academic dishonesty occurs, the teaching/learning climate is seriously undermined and student growth and development are impeded. For these reasons, any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and is therefore prohibited.

The full intellectual integrity policy can be found at www.oswego.edu/administration/registrar/policy_text.html#cpii


Office Hours

In addition to the listed office hours, I encourage you to make appointments. I am available quite a bit; the only problem is that I tend to have lots of irregular meetings so it is hard for me to promise a reoccuring time. That just means if you want to meet Wednesday or Tuesday, write me an email.

Please try to come to office hours with specific questions in mind. You can of course come with a general request for help, but it is always helpful if you spend a little time thinking about how I can best help you out.

Objectives


By the end of this class, you should understand and be able to explain:

Schedule

I will frequently update an online schedule of readings and assignments. It is your responsibility to check the www pages for the class at least every other day!