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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David M. Nixon
B CUSP 193
Bothell Campus

Introduction to Philosophy

Major philosophical questions relating to such matters as the existence of God, the foundations of knowledge, the nature of reality, and the nature of morality. Approach may be either historical or topical. Offered: A.

Class description

This course will focus primarily on questions of Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind: (1) Epistemology (What is knowledge? What is rationality? How much evidence does one need to be justified in believing what one does? Can one ever have 100% certainty? What is proof?) (2) Metaphysics (What is the nature of reality? What makes you the same person as you were yesterday even though you are undergoing constant change? Does Free Will exist?) (3) The Mind (What is the mind? How is it related to the body? Will computers ever be able to think and feel like humans do? What is a concept? What is a belief?)

Student learning goals

One of the main goals of the course is to help students develop and sharpen their own cognitive and analytic skills. Especially important to me is the student’s development as a clear thinker and an articulate communicator. I want students to become independent thinkers who take responsibility for their own intellectual growth. I want them to be able to uncover important assumptions in their own thinking and to be able to critically evaluate them. I want them to be able to understand different perspectives as well as their own, and to be fair-minded and judicious in evaluating those perspectives.

Students will learn to read and evaluate classic and contemporary philosophical texts and will develop the background and understanding to formulate their own answers to questions that have intrigued philosophers through the ages.

General method of instruction

group discussion, games, creative activities

Recommended preparation

Success in this course requires a willingness to read potentially difficult texts, and a willingness for active participation. If you tend to be the sort of student who sits in the back, learning by osmosis, this may not be the class for you.

Class assignments and grading

(1) Students keep a journal of notes for each of the assigned readings, which they bring into class with them every day. (2) In place of a standard term paper, students will be put into groups and will work on Creative Projects (writing plays, performing songs, writing stories, making drawings, sculptures, etc.)

* “In Class Stuff” (Participation, group work, in-class assignments, quizzes, etc): 20% * Philosophy Journal: 20% * Creative Project Presentations: 20% * Midterm Exam (essays, short answer, multiple choice): 20% * Final Exam (essays, short answer, multiple choice): 20%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by David M. Nixon
Date: 08/11/2007