PHIL 101.001 – Introduction to Philosophy: Main Problems

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Instructor: Thomas Hofweber. This course meets MW 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in HM 100, with a recitation on Fridays.

Welcome to Philosophy 101. This course is an introduction to philosophy, it has no prerequisites and requires no prior knowledge of philosophy or anything else. You will be introduced to philosophical problems and reasoning through a selection of classic philosophical topics. We will not focus on what other philosophers have said about various problems, but rather discuss the problems themselves and hope to make progress on them through reading, thinking and discussion.

In this class we won’t learn what the solutions to these problems are, in part because there is no universal agreement on their solution among philosophers. Nonetheless, engaging with these problems should be of value even if we won’t solve the problems. You will be encouraged to question basic assumptions, assumptions so basic that you might not realize that you are making them. You will be challenged to think critically and reason constructively about fundamental questions. And what we will discuss might affect your outlook on some issues that can be of great importance to how you live your life, maybe not during this semester, but possibly later on. At worst you will hopefully at least encounter some fun problems, puzzles and brain teasers.