Briercrest College

PHI100A & B


Joel L. From, PhD                                                               Office:                Room # 132

Fall 2011                                                                             Office Hours:      By Appointment

3 Credit Hours                                                                     Office Phone:     756-3203

E-mail:>                                              Home Phone:      756-2847






First Philosophy: Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy. Second Edition. Edited by Andrew Bailey with Robert M. Martin. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2011.  ISBN: 978-1-55111-971-7 (This text is used in both PHI 100 and PHI 101)


Class Notes: Each student is required to purchase a voucher for the Introduction to Philosophy I in-class notes at the bookstore. The notes will be distributed in class throughout the term.


Quick Reference Format Guide 2011-2012: Each student is required to have a copy of the current Briercrest College Format Guide.





A.  Cognitive Objectives


          1.       To develop competence in reading philosophically

          2.       To provide a foundation for understanding contemporary thought and society

          3.       To encourage reflexive awareness of one’s own thought and language


B.  Affective Objectives


          1.       To cause the student to feel the force of well-crafted arguments, especially when they differ from his or her own view

          2.       To help the student appreciate the beauty of new and penetrating insights

          3.       To initiate the student into the realm of fundamental ideas

          4.       To form the student towards philosophy as a way of life


C.      Skill Development Objectives


1.       To facilitate argument reconstruction, analysis, and composition

2.         To assist the student in detecting and appreciating sound reasoning

3.         To encourage reading with historical and conceptual understanding




Section Title

Required Readings




Unit 1.




Why Study Philosophy?

[In-class Handout: “How to Get to the Top”]


What is Philosophy?

"What is Philosophy,” [FP], 1-4




Unit 2.




Intro: Theories of Perception




Argument Summary: R. Descartes, "First and Second Meditations," [FP], 144-50; Also read [FP], 133-44; 150-72





John Locke

J. Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, [FP], 172-89


George Berkeley

G. Berkeley, "Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous,” [FP], 190-215


David Hume

D. Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding,” [FP], 289-310



I. Kant, “Critique of Pure Reason,” [FP], 215-32


Unit 3.




Induction, Confirmation, and Invention

Argument Summary: C. Hempel, “Scientific Inquiry: Invention and Test,” [FP], 326-330; Also read [FP], 324-26


Conjectures and Refutations

K. Popper, “Science: Conjectures and Refutations,” [FP], 331-55


Objectivity, Judgment, and Theory Choice

T. Kuhn, “Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice,” [FP], 386-403


Unit 4.




Form-Matter Dualism—Plato

 Plato, Republic, Book VI, 509a—Book VII, 518c*


Kant’s Critique of Metaphysics

[No Required Reading]



[No Required Reading]


Free Will and Determinism






Strict Determinism

Paul Ree, “The Illusion of Free Will,” [FP], 527-42



Argument Summary: C. A. Campbell, “Free Will Rules Out Determinism,” [FP], 545-56; Also read [FP], 542-44



Ayer, “Freedom and Necessity,” [FP], 556-63



* This reading can be found in Project Gutenberg’s e-book of Plato’s Republic. See: Begin your reading in Book VI at “Now take a line” and read through the beginning of Book VII until you reach “They undoubtedly say this, he replied.”



A.      Each student will read the Required Reading prior to class. Unannounced quizzes will be given at the beginning of class.   

          Value:        15%


B.      Each student will submit two Argument Summaries. (The relevant readings are indicated by underscoring and bolding in the Required Readings table.) Argument Summaries (750 to 1000 words) clearly show the logical structure or chain of reasoning which the author uses to support his thesis. Please do not add your editorial or evaluative comments. Please do not quote the author; use your own words. You must submit an argument summary of the Descartes reading; for your second summary, you may choose between the Hempel and Campbell readings. Summaries submitted after the beginning of class on their due date will not be accepted.

          Due:           Descartes—Sept. 22; Hempel—October 20; Campbell—Dec. 6

          Value:        15% (times 2) = 30%


C.      Each student will build a Portfolio of her/his essays submitted in this course. Please submit your portfolio with each written assignment. Please only paperclip your papers together—no duotangs or folders please. Include the original, marked-up copy of your previous papers with the portfolio. With the exception of the first summary, papers submitted without a portfolio will not be accepted.


D.      Each student will write a Midterm Exam on November 8, 2011 and a Final Exam (as scheduled by the Registrar). The Midterm is worth 25%, and the Final, 30% of the final grade.





Students are expected to be aware of the policies that govern course work at Briercrest College. Please refer to:




Students missing more than 2 full weeks, from the first day to the last day, of a particular class, will receive an automatic fail “F” (0%).


Final Exams:


Students are allowed 3 hours to write their final exams. Students must write their final exams as scheduled. ALL final exams are mandatory. Failure to write a final exam will result in an “F” (0%) for the course.


Late Assignments:


Though individual faculty members may disallow late assignments at their discretion, the following is a statement of policy concerning late assignments:


·         All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on the assigned day.


·         Unless otherwise stated, late assignments will be accepted for one week from the original due date with a penalty of 20% deducted from the assignment value. All late assignments are due at the beginning of class one week from the assigned date.


·         Assignments not submitted within one week of the original due date will not be accepted and will receive a "0".


Academic Honesty:


Please refer to the Academic Handbook available at: documents/college/college-academic-handbook.pdf.


          Learning Disabilities or Special Needs:


Students with disabilities who need  acommodations should discuss them with the course instructor after contacting the Academic Services office, either in person or by email at:




(Materials Used Directly in the Course)


Ayer, A. J. “Freedom and Necessity.” In First Philosophy, 556-63.


Bailey, Andrew. “What is Philosophy?” In First Philosophy, 1-4.


Berkeley, George. “Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.” Reprinted in First Philosophy, 190-215.


Campbell, C. A. "Free Will Rules Out Determinism." From Lecture IX, "Has the Self 'Free Will'?" On Selfhood and Godhood (1957). Reprinted in First Philosophy, 542-56.


Descartes, Rene. "First and Second Meditations." Reprinted in First Philosophy, 133-72.


The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Paul Edwards. 8 vols. New York: Macmillan/The Free Press, 1967.


First Philosophy: Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy. Second Edition. Edited by Andrew Bailey. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2011.


Hempel, Carl. “Scientific Inquiry: Invention and Test.” Reprinted in First Philosophy, 324-30.


Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Excerpted in First Philosophy, 289-310.


Hurka, Thomas. “How to Get to the Top—Study Philosophy.” Globe and Mail. 2 January 1990, A8.


Jones, W. T. A History of Western Philosophy, 2nd ed. 4 vols. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975.


Kant,Immanuel. “Critique of Pure Reason.” In First Philosophy, 215-32.


Kuhn, Thomas. “Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice.” Reprinted in First Philosophy, 386-403.


Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Excerpted in First Philosophy, 172-89.


Philosophy for a New Generation. A. K. Bierman and James Gould, eds. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan Pub. Co., 1981.


Philosophy: Paradox and Discovery. 4th ed. Thomas Shipka and Arthur Minton, eds. New York: McGraw-Hill Pub. Co., 1996.


Plato, Republic. Book VI, 509a—Book VII, 518c. Accessible at :


Popper, Karl. “Science: Conjectures and Refutations.” In First Philosophy, 331-55.


Ree, Paul. “The Illusion of Free Will.” In First Philosophy, 527-42.

[1]Course content, requirements, and examinations are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.