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Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy is the stepping stone to learning about all the greatest thinkers and their philosophical theories of our time. Questions are key, everything starts with a question, and from there students can build our own theories through debate and lecture and careful consideration.

Introduction to Philosophy covers everything from the classics such as Sophocles, Descartes, Plato, and Aquinas to the more modern takes on the subject such as Kierkegaard, Nietzche and Hume. The existence of God, existentialism, metaphysics, ethics, the relationship between the mind and the body, and free will versus determinism are some of the topics that are typically covered. Introduction to Philosophy classes are specifically designed to give a small taste of all the various topics one can be immersed in.

Critical thinking is crucial in this course. By interpreting texts and analyzing arguments thoroughly to pick up on the strong and weak points in any theory, a student will be well on his way to writing his own analysis and convincing argument. The goal of Introduction to Philosophy is not to answer the questions presented to the class, but to show how to ask and argue and to develop a point of view drawn from the conclusions of oneself and others. Learning how to properly write and format research papers, articles and argumentative responses are also an important aspect of the course that will be covered. Students can take note of how philosophers structure their arguments, as well as examine the core and depth of their theories and put it into practice themselves.

Some of the popular texts selected for this Introduction to Philosophy course include “Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings” by John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer and “Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy” by Douglass J. Soccio. Both contain many readings from a vast amount of philosophers that cover a wide range of topics suitable for the course. “Great Conversation: Historical Introduction to Philosophy” by Norman Melchert has the readings organized chronologically to help guide readers through the growth of philosophical ideas and the author provides his own commentary and take on the articles to provide more perspective for students. Another useful text for the course is “Classics of Western Philosophy” by Steven M. Cahn.

Introduction to Philosophy is a great course to reveal to students the workings of the world and open their minds to the different possibilities that exist. It is a good course to take to prevent students from becoming close-minded and ignorant without overwhelming them with information on one particular aspect of philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy allows students to sample a little bit of everything and decide from there where their interests lie.

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