Introduction to Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Syllabus (M/W) (T/TH)

  2. Unit I

  3. Unit II

  4. Unit III



1. Introduction to Course

Required Reading: N/A

Supplementary Material—

2. Agrippa’s Trilemma

Required Reading: Harald Thorsrud, Ancient Greek Skepticism, Section 3

Supplementary Material—

3. The Advancement of Learning

Required Reading: Lorraine Daston, The Empire of Observation, 1600-1800

Supplementary Material—

4. Cogito

Required Reading: René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (Note: Read only Meditation I & II.)

Supplementary Material—

5. Empiricism v Rationalism

Required Reading: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Supplementary Material—

6. Aquinas and the Razor

Required Reading: Gordon Leff, The Fourteenth Century and the Decline of Scholasticism

Supplementary Material—

7. The Problem of Evil

Required Reading: Marilyn McCord Adams, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God

Supplementary Material—

Related Material—

8. Pascal’s Wager

Required Reading: Alan Hájek, Pascal’s Wager (Note: Focus primarily on sections 1, 4, & 5.)

Supplementary Material—

9. The Problem of Evil (Part II)

Required Reading: N/A

Supplementary Material—




1. Laplace’s Demon

Required Reading: A.J. Ayer, Freedom and Necessity

Link: Student Health Center Info and Link

Supplementary Material—

2. The Person and The Situation

Required Reading: Richard Nisbett and Timothy Wilson, Telling More Than We Can Know

Supplementary Material—

3. The Mind’s I

Required Reading: Plato, The Republic, Book II

  • Note: Read from 357a to 367e.

Supplementary Material—

4. Eyes in the Sky

Required Reading: Steven Cahn, God and Morality

Supplementary Material—

5. Virtues and Vices

Required Reading: Julia Annas, Virtue Ethics

  • Note: Read at least pages 1-14.

Supplementary Material—

6. Patterns of Culture

Required Reading: Gilbert Harman, Moral Relativism Explained

Supplementary Material—

7. The Kingdom of Ends

Required Readings:

Supplementary Material—

Appendix A: Kant’s Empirical Problems

8. The Trolley

Required Reading: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism

(Note: Read chapters I & II.)

Supplementary Material—


Required Reading: N/A

Supplementary Material— 



1. 2 + 2 = 4(?)

Required Reading: Mark Balaguer, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Platonism in Metaphysics Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4.1

Supplementary Material—

2. The Master

Required Reading: Plato, Book VIII of the Republic

Supplementary Material—

3. The Mind/Body Problem

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Some Backdrop: Dualism, Behaviorism, Functionalism, and Beyond

  • Note: This file includes the Introduction, Appendix, and Chapter 1 of Andy Clark’s book Mindware. The required reading is the Introduction and the Appendix. However, Chapter 1 may be of interest to some students.

Supplementary Material—

4. Universal Machines

Required Reading: Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Supplementary Material—

Related Material

5. The Chinese Room

Required Reading: John Searle, Minds, Brains and Programs

Supplementary Material—

6. The Turing Test

Required Reading: Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence

Supplementary Material—

7. Self-less

Required Reading: Mark Siderits, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction, Chapter 2

  • Note: This PDF includes chapters 2 and 3. Only chapter 2 is required reading, but some students may also have interest in chapter 3.

Supplementary Material—

8. The Labyrinth

Required Reading: William Edward Morris and Charlotte R. Brown, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on David Hume Sections 3, 4, and 5

Supplementary Material—

9. The Circular Ruins

Required Reading: Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins

Supplementary Material—