PHL100: Problems of Philosophy
Park 305, MWF 11:30 am - 12:25 pm
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: Piez Hall 225
Office Hours: MWF 10:00 -- 11:00 a.m., M 3:00-4:00, and by appointment
This class is an introduction to philosophy. We will take a
problem-oriented approach, studying some of the issues that have
been of special interest to philosophers. The goal is to become
familiar with some of the concerns, techniques, and accomplishments
of philosophy as a tradition and discipline.
We will touch on the topics in the book and several other topics.
You should also send me an email if there is some philosophical issue
that you would be interested in learning about or discussing, and I
will add it to the class.
We'll use one text for this class:
Sober, Core Questions in Philosophy
Lectures will sometimes diverge from the order of material in the
text, in order to provide you with different perspectives on what we
are learning. We will also have some additional readings
online, and view some movies in class.
Assignments and exams
There will be three exams and periodic random quizes on the readings.
The exams will be short answer, and will test your familiarity with the
material and with applying philosophy. The quizes will be at random
times, and will ask very basic questions about the readings.
If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your
ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the
Disability Services Office.
The raw grade will be determined in roughly the following way:
Random reading quizes: 30%
These numbers can change because if we discern that random quizes are
unnecessary their share can go down, and if they prove frequently necessary,
their share will go up.
Class exams: 40% (20% each)
Comprehensive final exam: 30%
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
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 email@example.com, 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
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
In addition to the listed office hours, I encourage you to make
appointments. I am available quite a bit. 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.
By the end of this class, you should know:
- What deductive and inductive arguments are;
- What valid and sound deductive arguments are;
- Be able to describe accurately several of the historical
attempts at a proof of the existence of God, with recognition
of some of the difficulties;
- Understand what a "philosopher's god" is;
- Be able to describe the problem of free will, and
libertarian and compatibilist "solutions";
- Understand dualism and physicalism in the philosophy of
mind, and example applications like the problem of
- Understand rationalism and empiricism;
- Know the "cogito ergo sum" argument;
- Understand what realism, antirealism, and relativism
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!