Philosophy 100 (second term) - Introductory
Philosophy – 2011-12
Professor: William Sweet
Office: 707 Nicholson Tower
Telephone: 867-2341 / E-mail: email@example.com
Office Hours: M 9.15-11.15; Tu 11.15-1.15; Th 10.15-12.15; and by
Information on the course, on assignments and examinations, etc.,
will be periodically posted on the course web page: http://www.stfx.ca/people/wsweet/phil100-2011.htm
The objectives of this course are to provide students with an opportunity
to develop critical thinking and clear expression and to introduce them
to the history of philosophy and to some of the traditional problems of
I. Some basic philosophical terms and basic logic
II. Epistemology and Metaphysics, Part I
The problem of appearance and reality
The origin of knowledge in reason and argument (Descartes)
The nature of the (human) self, the relation of the mind and the body,
cause and effect, and the existence of god/God
2. Formal Logic / Basic deductive reasoning
III. Epistemology and Metaphysics, Part II
The origin of our knowledge in experience (Hume)
The nature of the (human) self, cause and effect, and the existence of
Argument and method
1. Hume: An Enquiry
Concerning Human Understanding
2. Inductive reasoning
IV. Additional readings and arguments to analyse
Anselm, Aquinas, Paley
The texts we shall use are:
• Rene DESCARTES (Discourse on Method and Meditations
on First Philosophy), 4th ed. (Hackett)
• David HUME (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding),
• and copied notes
Students should also have a good dictionary available.
Students might consult web pages on:
Philosophy Pages (from Garth Kemerling): http://www.philosophypages.com/
Method of the course and the role of the student:
The class will have a `lecture and discussion' format. The professor will
introduce a topic with a summary of the relevant arguments or a commentary
on a text. This will be followed by questions and discussion of the material
by the class as a whole (e.g., points of clarification or criticism and
of comparison; comments on the relations between or among different issues).
Students are expected to have prepared the readings
before class, to attend all of the classes and to participate in discussion.
In conformity with University regulations, students who have more than 3
unjustified absences in a term may be reported to their Dean.
It is essential in studying philosophy that students
be prepared to ask and answer questions in class.
St. Francis Xavier University values academic integrity.
All forms of academic dishonesty (including plagiarism) are unacceptable
and will be sanctioned. For the university policy on plagiarism, please visit
Email and Office Policy
I can respond to short messages through email, and I try to check e-mail
once a day. I do not, however, provide grades or answers about course content
by email. Students should make use of my office hours and ask questions
in class. Urgent requests (e.g., to meet) are best made by telephone. If
I am not in when you call, please call later or drop by.
Laptops and other technologies
I assume that laptops and other technologies are being employed only for
the purposes of note taking. If you need to surf the net, text, or engage
in other activities, please leave the classroom.
Midterm test (25%); 1 written assignment (late March) (25%); Final
Good participation and preparation of class notes can merit up to an additional
The final grade for the course will be an average of the 1st terms
(50%) and 2nd term (50%)