Philosophy 1000 - Introduction to Philosophy, Fall 2018
Instructor: Brian Talbot
Email: philosophy at bigfatgenius dot com
Office Location: Hellems 186.
Office Hours: T, Th 1:30-3:15. If you can't make those times, email me and we can make an appointment.
Homework: 20% of final grade
Quizzes: 15% of final grade
First paper: to be determined (see syllabus)
Final paper: to be determined
93% and up: A
90% to 92.9%: A-
87% to 89.9%: B+
83% to 86.9%: B
80 to 82.9% B-
Credit or a pass requires a 70% or above.
Use this spreadsheet to keep track of your grades and see how you are doing in the class. It includes instructions.
Attendance: You get three unexcused absences/latenesses. For every additional unexcused absence, your overall grade in the class decreases by 1/3 step (e.g. from A- to B+).
Lateness: No late homework will be accepted without a well documented good excuse. Similarly, there will be no make up quizzes or excused missed quizzes without a well documented good excuse.
Late papers will be accepted. A paper loses 3 percentage points for being late, and loses an additional 3 percentage points for each additional 24 hours it is late.
Reading or homework that is listed on a given day should be read or turned in on the day it is listed.
I will not accept late homework, emailed homework, or handwritten homework.
Tuesday, Aug 28
Thursday, Aug 30
Handout on conditionals and basic epistemic vocabulary
Tuesday, Sep 4
William Alston, Perceiving God
Homework on Alston
Handout on Alston
Thursday, Sep 6
Tuesday, Sep 11
Video on Asch conformity experiment
Linda Zagzebski, Self-trust and the diversity of religions
Homework on Zagzebski
Handout on Zagzebski
Thursday, Sep 13
Tuesday, Sep 18
Lara Buchak, When is faith rational?
Homework on Buchak
Thursday, Sep 20
Tuesday, Sep 25
Before you do the reading, go here, click "I wish to proceed" and take two of the tests on the list.
Miranda Fricker, Epistemic injustice; focus on pages 154-157, and 164 to the end of the paper.
Elizabeth Anderson, The social epistemology of morality (you must read at least pages 1-10 and 14; but I recommend reading everything)
Homework on Fricker and Anderson
Handout on Fricker and Anderson
Thursday, Sep 27
Tuesday, Oct 2
Laurie Paul, What you can't expect when you are expecting. You only have to read pages 1-12 (up to the section "Objections").
Homework on Paul
Handout on Paul, and on writing theses
Thursday, Oct 4
Friday, Oct 5
Thesis proposal assignment due by 8pm. Put this in the body of your email - not as an attachment - with the subject line 1000 PROPOSAL PAPER 1
Tuesday, Oct 9
Click here to make an appointment for office hours this week
Wrap up and review for first paper
Handout on making arguments
Handout reviewing authors' views
Thursday, Oct 11
Tuesday, Oct 16
Handout on counterexamples
Thursday, Oct 18
How to write this paper: writing mechanics
Friday, Oct 19
Send a draft of your paper to your partner. Email by 8pm, cc me with the subject line 1000 DRAFT PAPER 1
Sunday, Oct 21
Send your partner comments on their draft. Email by 8pm, cc me with the subject line 1000 COMMENTS PAPER 1
Tuesday, Oct 23
Handout on personal identity
Thursday, Oct 25
Eric Olson, Was I ever a fetus?
Homework on Olson
Handout on Olson
Friday, Oct 26
8pm Paper 1 due. Email it to me as an attachment, subject line 1000 PAPER 1 FINAL
Tuesday, Oct 30
Be aware: the reading discusses rape, torture, genocide, and their aftereffects on people.
Susan Brison - Trauma narratives
Homework on Brison
Thursday, Nov 1
Tuesday, Nov 6
For this week, there are five things to look at (1-5 below); do them in the order listed. A couple are for background, and the main stuff is a series of articles by Elizabeth Schechter summarizing ideas from her book.
1. Start with this video for context
2. Alien hand syndrome; read this news article for more context
3. Elizabeth Schechter, Self-consciousness and the split brain: The split-brain phenomenon
4. Elizabeth Schechter, Self-consciousness and the split brain: The duality claims
5. Elizabeth Schechter, Self-consciousness and the split brain: The capacity for self distinction
Homework on Schechter
Thursday, Nov 8
Tuesday, Nov 13
Deborah Tollefsen, Organizations as true believers
Homework on Tollefsen
Handout on Tollefsen
Thursday, Nov 15
Thesis proposal assignment due by 8pm. Put this in the body of your email - not as an attachment - with the subject line 1000 PROPOSAL PAPER 2
(Note: the link talks about choosing how the papers will be weighed. You already did that, so ignore that)
Fall break / Thanksgiving, Nov 19-23
Tuesday, Nov 27
Carolyn Jennings, I attend therefore I am
Handout on Jennings
Thursday, Nov 29
Tuesday, Dec 5
David Chalmers, Mind uploading: A philosophical analysis You are only required to read up to the "Where things stand section" (p11).
Homework on Chalmers
Handout on Chalmers
Thursday, Dec 6
Sat, Dec 8
Send a draft of your paper to your partner. Email by 8pm, cc me with the subject line 1000 DRAFT PAPER 2
Monday, Dec 10
Send your partner comments on their draft. Email by 8pm, cc me with the subject line 1000 COMMENTS PAPER 2
Extra office hours. Schedule appointments here.
Tuesday, Dec 11
Schedule office hour appointments here.
Wednesday, Dec 12
Extra office hours. Schedule appointments here.
Thursday, Dec 13
Friday, Dec 14
8pm, submit 2nd paper by email, with the subject line 1000 PAPER 2 FINAL
Flowchart on how to have an idea for a paper
First paper assignment
Second paper assignment
Grading standards for the papers
For part 2 of the second paper: you do not need to discuss every author we've covered. You only need to cover Paul, Olson, Brison, Schechter, Tollefsen, and Jennings. THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION however: if you are writing about justification (e.g. the justification of group beliefs) then you do NOT need to discuss Paul, but DO need to discuss Alston, Zagzebski, Fricker, and Anderson.
Review for second paper
An overview of some psychological research on happiness (with links to additional resources)
Brian Kim, Pragmatic encroachment in epistemology (this is an overview of different views and arguments that practical considerations can affect epistemic justification) (you may need to be on campus or use a proxy to view the article)
Catherine Elgin, Non-foundationalist epistemology (the paper argues that we should not just trust our experiences, but rather only trust them when we have a large body of evidence that all fits together)
Ruth Chang, How to make hard choices (video of a talk)
Video of confabulation
V.S. Ramachandran, Anosognosia in parietal lobe syndrome
Things that might be on quizzes
Justification and propositions: Relevant terms: "proposition," "epistemically justified belief," "epistemic justification." Be able to explain what these mean. Understand and be able to explain and illustrate the difference between a proposition and a belief (e.g. give an example of a proposition that is not believed). Be able to give your own examples (not discussed in class) of justified beliefs, belief that are not justified, beliefs that are justified and true, beliefs that are justified but false, beliefs that are not justified but are true, and beliefs that are not justified and are false. If I give you examples, be able to identify and explain which are and are not propositions, are or are not justified beliefs. Given examples of beliefs, be able to identify their propositional content.
Defeat: Relevant terms: "defeat," "defeater," "rebutting defeater," "undercutting defeater." Be able to explain what each of these mean. If I give you examples, be able to correctly identify which term(s) apply to them. Be able to give an example of a defeater that is both rebutting and undercutting. Be able to give an example of an undercutting defeater that is not a rebutting defeater. You should also be able to give examples of beliefs that are not justified whether or not there are defeaters (that is, beliefs that are not even prima facie justified).
Conditionals: Be able to identify what conclusions you can draw from conditionals and what conclusions you can't. Be able to show that a given conditional is false. If given a conditional and a potential counterexample, be able to explain whether the potential counterexample is a good counterexample or not and why.
Practical rationality: Key term: "practically rational." Be able to explain that term. Be able to give examples of actions that are, and are not, practically rational. Be able to explain and illustrate some differences between what is practically rational and what is epistemically justified. Be able to give your own examples in which believing x is practically rational but not epistemically justified, and in which a belief is justified epistemically but having that belief is not practically rational. If I give you examples of reasons to believe things, or reasons to act, be able to identify whether they are relevant to epistemic justification or practical rationality or both.
Epistemic injustice: Key terms: "credibility excess," "credibility deficit," "implicit bias." Be able to explain what each term means and give plausible examples of each.
Personal identity: Relevant terms: "qualitative identity" and "qualitative similarity," "quantitative identity" (or "numerical identity," which means the same thing), and "personal identity." Be able to explain what each of these means. Be able to give examples (not discussed in class) of each. Be able to give examples (not discussed in class) that show how these are different (e.g. things that are very qualitatively similar but are not quantitatively identical, cases of personal identity without much qualitative similarity, cases where there is numerical identity but not personal identity). If given examples of people talking or thinking about identity, be able to explain whether they are talking/thinking about quantitative or qualitative identity.
Mental states: Key terms "mental state," "intentional state." Be able to explain what each means. Be able to give examples of each (not discussed in class). Be able to give examples of mental states that are not intentional states. If given examples, be able to explain whether they are mental states or not, and whether they are intentional states or not.