Course Description

Catalog Course Description

``Introduction to the main problems of philosophy and its methods of inquiry, analysis, and criticism. Works of important philosophers are read. Three semester hours.'' Lander University Catalog


Lee Archie and John G. Archie, Reading for Philosophical Inquiry: An Open Source Reader. Version 0.21, GFDL, 2004, 415 pp. Free for any use or resale under terms of the GDFL license.

On the Web at

The last ``html'' link above gives convenient access chapter-by-chapter with pdf, html, and mp3 sound files. The first two links access the complete textbook. The mp3 files may be played on an iPodTM or MP3 Player. These sound file are computer-generated sound-files so they are of poor quality.

The GFDL and Creative Common licenses make this textbook freely available to anyone for any purpose for no charge. You may print it out for your own use or print it out to sell so long as you inform the buyer where the book is available without charge.

Supplementary Readings

Lee Archie and John G. Archie, Introduction to Ethical Studies: An Open Source Reader. Version 0.11 GFDL, 2004, 364 pp. Free for any use or resale under terms of the GDFL license.

Lee Archie and John G. Archie, Readings in the History of Æsthetics: An Open Source Reader, version 0.11, GFDL, 2006, pp. 475. Free for any use or resale under terms of the GDFL license.

Other course readings are online here:

Booknotes and tutorials supplementary readings are available here:

Purpose of the Course

The general purpose of this course is to introduce some of the main problems of philosophy such as those in the next section ``Objectives of the Course.''

Objectives of the Course

The general aims of this introductory survey of philosophy are to examine questions such as the following.

  1. What is philosophical thinking?
  2. Are ethical principles relative?
  3. Are all persons at heart egoistic?
  4. What are the philosophical arguments for God's existence?
  5. How can truth be established?
  6. Are there causal determinants of choice?
  7. Of what does reality exist?
  8. Are ethical and artistic judgments subjective?
  9. How does one go about to find purpose and meaning in life?
  10. How is philosophy related to other disciples?

Course Procedures

The methods used to obtain these ends are

  1. to learn classic arguments which illustrate basic philosophical principles,
  2. to read carefully and critically the text and several papers in philosophy,
  3. to write analytically about topics in philosophy,
  4. to study classic, influential, and abiding arguments concerning the structures of knowledge, belief, and value,
  5. to test your understanding by means of special examinations, and
  6. to question critically several interpretations of basic philosophical positions.

Specific Skills Achieved

Upon completion of this course, all students should be able to

  1. explain the difference between a priori and a posteriori arguments,
  2. to learn to identify arguments, to evaluate and counter them, and to construct good arguments,
  3. to obtain the ability to relate arguments to one another and to appreciate persistent, sustained thought on a topic,
  4. to obtain the ability to justify and defend personal views once they are clearly and completely stated and to develop a personal ideology,
  5. to recognize how all aspects of living can be rationally and causally interrelated,
  6. to recognize the difference between a factual question and a philosophic problem,
  7. to understand how concepts can be systematically clarified thought philosophical analysis,
  8. to explain the general purpose of philosophy as a method of inquiry,
  9. to identify the differences between faith and reason,
  10. to list major philosophy positions on free will,
  11. to identify and explain some common fallacies which occur in philosophical argumentation, and
  12. to apply usefully several methods of philosophical reasoning in everyday life and ordinary language.

In this course you will gain skill in asking interesting, productive, and insightful questions and will analyze philosophical essays to obtain facility in the clear, complete, and methodological statement of personal views. You will also learn effective methods of analysis and criticism in the evaluation of argumentative discourse.

Teaching Methods

We adopt specific techniques recommended by many educators, namely study, writing,review tests, and homework.

Lee Archie 2012-11-13