PHIL 112.001 – Making Sense of Ourselves

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Instructor: Matthew Scarfone. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in BI 101.

This course examines philosophical defenses of, and challenges to, common sense. Probably we all believe that the external world exists, that other people are also conscious, that we have free will, that some things are morally right or wrong, and so on. These basic ideas of who and what we are, and what in life is valuable, help us make sense of ourselves and our place within the world. But there are philosophical challenges to all these ideas. In this course we will look at robust defenses of common sense, explore challenges to fundamental ideas of ourselves, and then examine what (if anything) does or should change in light of them. Along the way we will be guided by the following questions: Can philosophy overturn common sense? Can scepticical challenges alter how we should understand human beings, our lives, and our values? Or are certain ideas about ourselves immune to philosophical challenges?