Introduction to Philosophy
Dr Stephen Watson
Note: please enter the subject heading ‘PHIL11-101’ in all email
This subject introduces the student to the fundamental concepts in several important areas of philosophy. The
presentation will attempt to convey the sense of philosophy as an ongoing debate rather than a set of doctrines.
Students will consider a number of important philosophical issues, such as:
· Do human beings have immaterial minds or souls?
· Does God exist?
· What is the nature of truth?
· How can we come to know truths about the world, or make moral claims?
· Are human beings free, or are our behaviours, beliefs, and decisions determined?
Lectures commence in Week 1 of semester. Lecture notes will be made available through the course homepage each week. They are not comprehensive enough to substitute for attendance at lectures.
Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Tutorials commence in the second
week of semester:
Tutorials commence in the second week of semester. Tutorials will typically consist of discussions of the material covered in that week’s lecture. For each tutorial there will be specific texts with which students will be expected to have made themselves familiar. These will usually be from the set text but others will be made available as handouts.
Discussion and debate are important aspects of philosophical inquiry. Tutorials are designed to give you the opportunity to discuss and work through lecture material in a more relaxed and personal environment. Tutorial Participation will be graded (10% of overall mark). This reflects the value placed on these important opportunities to pursue course material in greater depth, to see philosophy "being done" by dialogue with your tutors and fellow students, and to find out more about areas of the course that you find unclear or which seem interesting to you. Remember, tutorials are your chance to use teaching staff as your own resource and you are strongly advised to make use of the opportunity. Verbal skills are an important aspect of university education, and tutorial discussion provides a good opportunity for developing them.
There is no prescribed text for this course. All the necessary reading is linked online from the lecture schedule page.
A recommended text, which has been used in this course in previous semesters, is:
John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer, Introduction to Philosophy 4ed, (Oxford: OUP, 2007)
In addition to the expected continuing attendance of lectures and tutorials you will be required to complete the following assessment:
Tutorial Participation 10%
Three Essays (1500 words) 30% each (total 90%)
Extensions on due dates for essay assignments or the take-home exam are only permitted if you have a legitimate reason (e.g. illness, etc.). If you cannot submit an assignment by the due date, you should consult the course coordinator immediately concerning the possibility of an extension. You should not ask for an extension after the essay is due as it will not be given, except where you were physically incapable of making a phone call before the essay is due. Evidence of your illness etc. will be required. Conflicts with assessment for other courses, computer failures and work constraints are not sufficient grounds for being awarded an extension. Late papers will receive a one point grade reduction per day overdue (e.g., if your paper is worth a 5 and is one day late the grade drops to 5-).
All students should refer to the “Guide to study in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences” as well as the Bond University Handbook for policies regarding plagiarism and grades.
General Assessment Criteria and Policies
Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with School policy regarding assessment.