University of West Florida Spring 2013

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University of West Florida

Spring 2013
Introduction to Philosophy

Online Course

PHI 2010 (ref. no. 1660)

Instructor: Garrett Howard

Office: Bldg. 50, Rm. 231-A.

Office Hours:

Monday: 9-10 and 2:30 -3:30

Wednesday: 9-10 and 2:30 – 5:30

Email: Phone: 474-2066
Required readings: All required readings are available on our E Learning page. All reading materials are provided in a Pdf adobe acrobat format. There is no required text book for this course.

Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to Philosophy through an examination of Metaphysics, Epistemology, the philosophy of mind and Identity theory.
Course Format: This course is entirely via the internet. From the course home page you will access all links for: assignments, chat sessions, discussion boards; and links to additional course material content and resources. The instructional modules, discussion boards and Essay Exams are designed to allow students to devise a schedule and a pace of study that will fit their personal schedule within a weekly time frame.
Discussion boards: This feature allows students to interact and share thoughts, questions and ideas in regard to the assigned reading materials and essay assignments. The primary goal of the discussion boards is to assist the student in building a basic understanding of the philosophical questions, concepts, problems and arguments encountered in the assigned readings and lecture material. In turn, this will provide the student with the knowledge and tools needed to engage in the essay exams.
Essay Exams: Each of the essay exams are directly linked to the assigned readings, lecture material, and discussion boards.
Objectives/Student Learning outcomes:

In classroom discussions and essay exams students will:  

(1) Clearly identify and define the central theories, concepts and questions encountered in the field of Philosophy.

(2) Compare, contrast, and critically evaluate concepts and arguments,

(3) demonstrate the ability to derive cogent insights and conclusions,

(4)  Display an understanding of the material’s relevance in discussions on life, truth and existence.

Semester Schedule

Jan. 7- 11 Introduction to Online Instruction

Jan. 14 - 18 Introduction to Philosophy

Readings: Introduction to Philosophy by Robert Solomon (Pdf doc).

Introductory discussion board (no grade)

Jan. 22- 25 Epistemology and Skepticism


Descartes Pp. 49—64 (Robert Wolff pdf doc)

Discussion Board 1/Descartes: Jan. 22 – 25

Jan. 28 – Feb. 1 Epistemology and Skepticism


Descartes Pp. 190 – 201 (Robert Solomon pdf doc)

Discussion Board 1/Descartes: Jan. 29 – Feb. 1

Feb. 4 - 8 Epistemology and Skepticism


Hume and Empiricism (Robert Wolff, Pp. 68—76)

Kant’s Epistemology (Robert Wolff, Pp. 76—79

Discussion Board 1/Hume and Kant: Feb. 4 – Feb. 8

Feb. 11- 15 Metaphysics


What is Metaphysics? (Wolff, p.94—96)

Reality (Solomon, Pp. 43-45)

Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space and Time

Two Kinds of Metaphysics (Solomon, Pp. 65—78)

Discussion Board 2/Plato: Feb. 11 – 15

Feb. 18 - 22 Metaphysics


Two Kinds of Metaphysics (Solomon, Pp. 78—85)

Brian Greene, The Fabric of the cosmos: Quantum Leap

Discussion Board 2/Aristotle: Feb. 18 – 22

Exam I is assigned.

Feb. 25 – Mar. 1 Metaphysics


Hobbes’ Materialism (Wolff, P. 96—105)

Immanuel Kant (Wolff, Pp. 105—106)

Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or multiverse

Discussion Board 2/Hobbes and Kant: Feb. 25 – Mar. 1

Mar. 4 - 8 Philosophy of mind

Readings: The Mind and Body (Wolff, Pp. 106—117)

Discussion board 3/Wolff on Mind and Body: Mar. 4 – 8

Exam I is due

Mar. 11 – 15 Spring Vacation
Mar. 18 - 22 Philosophy of mind


The Problem of Dualism (Solomon, Pp. 343—348)

The Rejection of Dualism (Solomon, Pp. 348—362)

Discussion Board 3/the Problem of Dualism: Mar. 18 – Mar. 22

March 22 Withdrawal deadline from individual course or all courses for term; automatic grade

Of “W” (no individual course withdrawals after this date)
Mar. 25 – 29 Philosophy of mind


The Rejection of Dualism (Solomon, Pp. 362—372)

Discussion Board 3/the Rejection of Dualism: Mar. 25—29

April 1—5 Personal Identity


Robert Solomon, the Self from Descartes to Kant (P. 287)

Rene Descartes, from Meditation VI, (Solomon, Pp. 289)

Discussion board 4/Descartes and the Self: Apr. 1—5

Exam II is assigned.

Apr. 8 - 12 Personal Identity


John Locke, On Personal Identity (Solomon P. 289)

David Hume, on “There is no self” (Solomon P. 294)

Discussion board 4/Lock and Hume on the self: Apr. 8—12

Apr. 15 – 19 Personal Identity

Immanuel Kant, Against the Soul (Solomon, Pp. 299

Meredith Michaels, Personal Identity (Solomon, Pp. 301)

Discussion board 4/Kant and Michaels on Identity: Apr. 15 – 19

Exam II is due.

Apr. 22 - 26 Course Review

Apr. 29 – May 4 Final exam week.

Grades and Grading criteria:

Discussion Boards Points

Discussion board 1 120

Discussion board 2 120

Discussion board 3 120

Discussion board 4 120


Essay Exam 1 260

Essay Exam 2 260
Grade Scale:

A 95-100

A- 90-94

B+ 88-89

B 80-87

B- 78-79

C+ 76-77

C 70-75

C- 68-69

D+ 66-67

D 60-65

F 00-59

Grading Criteria for Discussion Boards:

Your discussion board grade is determined by the following:

(1)The Quantitative measure

The quantitative measure takes into account: (1) the total number of postings, (2) the total number of calendar dates/days in which the student participates in the discussion. (3) the number of calendar weeks in which the student participates in the discussion. (4) Also, the quantitative measure takes into account the student’s ability to create postings which allow for a reasonable time frame in which students and/or the instructor can respond. For example, postings made in the last 48 hours do not allow for a reasonable time frame in which classmates and/or the instructor can respond. So, although a student may create a high number of postings, if they are confined to the last 48 hours, the student will receive a poor grade with regard to this measure.

(2) The Qualitative measure

Before engaging in the discussion board, students are expected to read the assigned reading and lecture material. Some of the discussion boards may require responses to specific questions and/or topics. Some discussion boards will provide the student with the freedom to create topic threads, and post questions about the assigned readings. The minimum expectations for each discussion board are: (1) respond to the instructor’s set topic or question for the discussion board, (2) read the responses of other students, (3) read the responses of the instructor, (4) post three or more responses to a classmate, and engage in rational discourse.

Discussion Boards

Just remember, the discussion boards are a tool for enhancing the knowledge and understanding of the assigned reading and lecture materials. So, feel free to share your insights, and ask questions about concepts you may not understand.

All postings should:

  • Be respectful in tone and rational in content.

  • Conform to the standards of the English language. This means, it is important to check your posting for spelling and grammar.

  • Strive for clarity, coherence and consistency.

  • Avoid irrelevant digressions and red herrings.

  • Strive to focus on sharing insights.

Grading Criteria for Essay Exams:


(1) Unity of thought and Coherence of Expression.

(2) Sentence and paragraph variety, grammar and spelling.


(1) “Reporting” is a concise demonstration of your acquaintance with the material. (Minimum requirement for a “C”).

(2) “Analysis” is the ability to compare, contrast, or critically evaluate the material. (Minimum requirement for a “B”).

(3) “Synthesis” is a demonstration of your ability to adequately develop your thesis (or main idea), and to reach a sound conclusion. (Minimum requirement for an “A”).

EMAIL: I check my e-mail daily, Monday thru Friday, and will respond within 48 hours.

Important Course Information:

  1. Syllabus Agreement:

After reading the syllabus, In a word document copy and paste the following:
PHI 2010 Introduction to philosophy syllabus Agreement

I have read and agree to the terms in the course syllabus for PHI 2010: Introduction to Philosophy (ref # 1660) with Garrett Howard, spring semester, 2013.
Just below the agreement statement, you can type your full name as it appears on the class roster. Also, include your student ID number, and the date. Please submit the agreement document in the E Learning Drop box titled: Syllabus Agreement. Students that fail to submit a signed syllabus agreement by the end of drop and add week will be dropped from the class roster.

  1. General Studies Course:

PHI 2010 Introduction to Philosophy is designated as a General Studies course. The General Studies curriculum at the University of West Florida is designed to provide a cohesive program of study that promotes the development of a broadly educated person and provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in university studies. This course has been approved as meeting your requirement in the Humanities/Values and Expressions area. The major General Studies learning outcomes for this course are: Analysis/Evaluation and Ethical Reasoning.

  1. Choosing a major:

If you are interested in a major in Philosophy, you should contact the Chair, Dr. Sally Ferguson, at, or the Philosophy Department office at 474-2672. If you are undecided about you major you should contact your academic advisor or the Career Center at 850-474-2254."

  1. The Disability Resource Center:

Students with a documented disability who require specific examination or course related academic accommodations should contact the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) by email at or by phone at (850) 474-2387.

  1. Late Exams:

Late exams will only be allowed in cases of legitimate need, and authentication of excuse will be required (e.g., doctor's note.) Arrangements should be made in advance except in cases of emergency, and as soon as possible in the case of emergency. You will find that I am much more understanding of your problems if you attempt to make arrangements with me in advance, rather than waiting until after the fact.

  1. Plagiarism is an extremely serious issue to me. It strikes at the very heart of the intellectual enterprise in which we are mutually engaged, and undermines all of our collective efforts. As a result, I take all suspected cases of plagiarism seriously, and will punish them to the extent that the University of West Florida policies allow, which include failure for the assignment, failure for the course, and recommendation of further action by university administration. Briefly, plagiarism is the failure to accurately and openly provide citations for the ideas and words used in your written assignments. This includes lifting quotations without credit from books, magazines, and newspapers or other printed material as well as “borrowing” from the Internet. It also includes presenting ideas as your own when they have in fact been derived from another source. The University’s plagiarism policy can be found in the Student Handbook under “Expectations for Academic Conduct” (available online at

  1. Capstone Course Information

All Philosophy Majors must complete a “Capstone Course” project before graduation. If this course is to be designated as your Capstone Course, please speak with the instructor as soon as possible. By the end of second week of classes, speak to your instructor about your interest using that course for your Capstone Project. If the instructor accepts, fill out and submit the Capstone Declaration form in office declaring project and topic area(s). No designations for Capstone Course status will be accepted after the third week of class.

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