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Instructor: Rory Hanlon. This course meets MW 3:35 – 4:50 p.m. in MU 104.

This course serves as a general introduction to the field of philosophy. Accordingly, our central question will be what makes philosophical ideas, questions, arguments, or problems philosophical? What does it mean to think philosophically about some issue? What unique promises and obstacles does philosophy present? Most simply, what is philosophy? To reflect on these questions, we will examine central philosophical topics, both in historical and contemporary texts: e.g., the relationship between the mind and the body, the legitimacy of political authority, the nature of a meaningful life (and death), whether our beliefs can be held with certainty. We will also examine applications of these topics to contemporary problems: e.g., our duties to nonhuman animals, the possibility of artificial consciousness, the limits of natural science, and the effect of technology on our ethical and social lives.