PHILOSOPHY 1030-Introduction to Philosophy
(aka "CoPhilosophy," in Oliver's sections. We take a peripatetic* approach when we can, wear comfortable shoes.)
Fall 2019 Sections:
Dr. Phil Oliver, email@example.com - (615) 898-2050, 525-7865 (call this number only during office hours), 898-2907 (Philosophy Dept) NOTE: don't bother trying to contact me via D2L: we're not using it, mostly.
OFFICE HOURS (Fall '19): M-Th 4-5 and by appointment, James Union Building (JUB) 300. NOTE: On nice days office hours may be outside; on other days they may be at a designated alternative location; check my office door for details. FYI: I reply to email mainly during office hours, but not at all on weekends. Best way to insure a prompt reply to any query: call or come in during office hours or designated appointment time.
The purpose of our course is to introduce some of the leading topics and figures of (mostly western) philosophy, with both a thematic and historical approach, and to help students discover and articulate their own philosophical ideas in a collegial and cooperative spirit. Our classroom emphasis is on collaboration: we'll be conversing, listening, and “putting our heads together” in group research and discussion both in the classroom and, in the peripatetic* fashion, all around campus. See more on this at the course blogsite “CoPhilosophy": www.cophilosophy.blogspot.com.
Achieving our purpose will entail asking lots of questions and conversing about them, argumentatively but not disagreeably... supporting claims with reasons, listening thoughtfully and respectfully to one another, expressing our views amicably and hearing others’ views receptively. It is possible-- in a functional democracy it really is essential-- to share and contest differing views respectfully and in good faith. As a political culture we've not been doing such a good job of that lately. But why, after all, would you have come to college and enrolled in a philosophy course if you weren't prepared to entertain unfamiliar points of view?
Among the central, perennial preoccupations of philosophy in its pursuit of wisdom is the crucial importance of honesty and truthfulness about what's real. In our historical moment, with so much casual talk of "alternative facts" and so much documented daily dishonesty in the executive branch of our federal government, truth and reality seem under seige. Hence, the focus in our course (anchored by Fantasyland) - on how we got here.
- American Philosophy: A Love Storyby John Kaag (AP)
- A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton (LH)
- The Joys of Walking ed. Edwin Mitchell
- Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, a 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen (FL)
- The Stone philosophy blog (NYT)*
- Philosophy Bites iPhone app
- Philosophy Bites Back (PB)
- Philosophy: The Basics (P)
- Philosophy: The Classics by Nigel Warburton (book & podcast)
- Pragmatism: A New Name for an Old Way of Thinking by William James
- America the Philosophical by Carlin Romano
- American Philosophy: A Love Story(Kaag)
- At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others by Sarah Bakewell
- How to Live: Montaigne... (Bakewell)
- The Dream of Reason (Gottlieb)
- The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy (Gottlieb)
- Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter (Peter Singer)
- Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments: A Stone Reader
- The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically (Singer)
- Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
- A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros
- A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy by Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins, and its longer version A Short History of Philosophy
- The God Dialogues: APhilosophical Journey by Torin Alter & Robert J. Howell
- The Greeks: An Illustrated History by Diane Harris Cline
- Hiking With Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are by John Kaag (Sep'18)
- Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away by Rebecca Goldstein
- Popular Culture & PhilosophySeries (and see below)
- The Stone Reader (compilation from the NYT philosophy blog)
- Very Short Introductions (OUP)
- Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt
- When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought by Jim Holt
- The History of Western Philosophyby Bertrand Russell
- Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truthby some guys with difficult Greek names
*Pop culture and philosophy
M 26/T 27 - Introduce yourself in class and online (before next class) by replying to "Introductions" on our blogsite at http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/ & read classmates' introductions. Answer two questions (bearing in mind that this is an open site): Who are you? and Why are you here? (in school, in a philosophy class, in middle Tennessee... whatever you'd like to share.)
W 28/Th 29 - What's your definition of "philosophy"? Do you have a favorite philosopher? Can you summarize your current, personal philosophy of life? And: if you read Educated, post a comment on it. William James, Pragmatism lecture 1; WATCH: What's Philosophy for? School of Life (SoL); FL 1-2
Recommended: LISTEN: What is Philosophy? and Who's Your Favourite Philosopher? (PB Philosophy Bites). Also recommended, if you need help articulating your personal philosophy: Look on the This I Believe website for essays you like, and post links to them; and this; TIB II
T 3 - William James said ""The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself?" What do you think? Will humans go back to the moon, to Mars, and beyond? Should we? Is there a long-term future for human life on this planet? Will we ever learn to think of ourselves as one species, with a common fate? Or will humans forever antagonize themselves? Pale Blue Dot, &WATCH: Pale Blue Dot (Sagan) LISTEN: Why explorling space still matters (Tyson)
Also recommended: Read these old posts, & this one (and if any of you in Sections #12-13 wish to discuss the material from Tuesday, feel free)
M 9/T 10 - Stephen, "In Praise of Walking" (JW); FL 5-6; Native & indigenous philosophies, Native Pragmatism tba
W 11/Th 12 - Beerbohm, "Going Out for a Walk" (JW); FL 7-8; "The Monk and the Philosopher" & tba
M16/T 17 - Pre-Socratic philosophy, tba; Dickens, "Night Walks" (JW); FL 9-10
W 18/Th 19 - Democritus, Diogenes, and the Sophists; Trevelyan, "Walking" (JW); FL 11-12; identify midterm report topics
M 23/T 24 - Socrates and Plato, LH1; Atkinson, "A Note on Walking" (JW); FL 13-14
Also recommended: LISTEN M.M. McCabe on Socratic Method & Angie Hobbs on Plato on Erotic Love (PB); WATCH: Know Thyself; Diotima's Ladder: From Lust to Morality; Plato (SoL)
W 25/Th 26 - Aristotle, LH 2; Hazlitt, "On Going a Journey" (JW); FL 15-16. Midterm report presentations begin
Also recommended: WATCH: Aristotle on Flourishing: How to Live a Good Life? LISTEN: Aristotle & flourishing; How Do I Live a Good Life? (HIp); Terence Irwin on Aristotle's Ethics (PB).
M 30/T OCT 1 - Skepticism, LH 3; Dickens, "Tramps" (JW); FL 17-18. Exam
W 2/Th 3 - Epicureans and Stoics, LH 4-5; Gissing, "Walking Experiences" (JW); FL 19-20
Also recommended: WATCH Epicurus (SoL); Epicurus on Happiness; The Stoics (SoL); LISTEN Epicureanism (IOT); Epicurus the greatest philosopher? (IOT); Seneca & facing death (HI)
M 7/T 8 - Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Aquinas LH 6-8; Morley, "Sauntering" (JW); FL 21
Also recommended: WATCH Augustine (SoL); LISTEN Neuroscience & free will (HI); Boethius (LH); Consolation of Philosophy tba; LISTEN Religious freedom as constraint (HI); WATCH: Boethius & Philosophy; WATCH Aquinas & 1st Cause (HI) LISTEN Anthony Kenny on Aquinas' Ethics (PB)
W 9/Th 10- Machiavelli, Hobbes, LH 9-10; Belloc, "The Brienzer Grat" (JW) FL 22; Midterm report blog posts due
Also recommended: WATCH Hobbes on freedom & security (HI) LISTEN Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli's The Prince, Quentin Skinner on Hobbes on the State (PB); Hobbes & civil disobedience (HI)
W 16/Th 17 - Montaigne, Descartes, & Pascal, LH 11-12; Thoreau, "Walking" (JW); FL 23-24
Also recommended: (How to Live, ch1); LISTEN Sarah Bakewell on Michel de Montaigne (PB); A.C. Grayling on Descartes' Cogito (PB); WATCH Montaigne (SoL); Descartes (HI)
M 21/T 22- Spinoza, Locke, & Reid, LH 13-14; FL 25-26
Also recommended: LISTEN Susan James on Spinoza on the Passions (PB)
W 23/Th 24- Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume, & Rousseau, LH 15-18; FL 27-28
Also recommended: John Campbell on Berkeley's Puzzle (PB); Locke on personal identity (HI); WATCH The Is/Ought Problem. LISTEN Peter Millican on Hume's Significance, Melissa Lane on Rousseau on Civilization (PB); Hume & the philosophy of good taste (HI); Hume (IOT); Hume the greatest philosopher? (IOT)
M 28/T 29 - Kant, Bentham, Hegel, Schopenhauer LH 19-23; FL 29-30
Also rec: WATCH Kant's Axe (HI); LISTEN Adrian Moore on Kant's Metaphysics (PB); LISTEN Robert Stern on Hegel on Dialectic (PB)
W 30/Th 31 - FL 31-32; AP Prologue. Exam
M 4/T 5 - Mill, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Marx LH 24-27; FL 33-34; AP -38
Also rec: WATCH Mill's harm principle, Paley & the divine watchmaker (HI); LISTEN Richard Reeves on Mill's On Liberty (PB); WATCH Marx (SoL); Marx on alienation (HI); Humans, Apes, & Linnaeus; Evolution & Beauty (HI)
W 6/Th 7 - Peirce & James, Nietzsche, Freud LH 28-30; FL 35-36; AP -77; Thoreau, "Walking" (JW)
Also rec: LISTEN Angie Hobbs on beauty & goodness (HI); WATCH Nietzsche (SoL); LISTEN: Aaron Ridley on Nietzsche on Art and Truth (PB); Jung & the mind (HI)
M 11/T 12 - Russell, Ayer, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus LH 31-33; FL 37-39; AP -119; Final report presentations begin
W 13/Th 14 - Wittgenstein, Arendt, Popper & Kuhn, Foot & Thomson LH 34-37; FL 40-41; AP -149
M 18/T 19 - Rawls, Turing & Searle, Singer LH 38-40; FL 42-43; AP -178
W 20/Th 21 - FL 44-45; AP -208
M 25/T 26 - FL 46; AP -235
M 2 - tba
T 3/W 4 - Last class. Exam #3
F 26 - Final report blog post due
FAQ-How do you grade?"Well, I add up the grades for the essays, quizzes, the midterm and final. I average them out. Then I consult my stomach."
- An approved pre-17th century philosopher (midterm rpt)
- An approved post-17th century philosopher (final rpt)
- Eastern philosophy (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Taoism...)
- Pop culture & philosophy (see sidebar)
- Women in philosophy
- Soren Kierkegaard
- Henri Bergson
- Existentialism (Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus...)
- Charles Sanders Peirce
- John Rawls on justice
- Alan Turing vs. John Searle on Artificial Intelligence
- Peter Singer on altruism
- Book report/review of any recommended title (see above and sidebar)
- Stone essay(s) review/critique
- StoryCorps interview
- This I Believe essay
- transcribed imaginary dialogue between yourself and one or two classic philosophers
- For final report: further development of midterm report topic
- Your suggestion, w/approval
"When the last great scorer comes to mark against your name, it matters not if you won or lost, but how you played the game." Grantland Rice (Murfreesboro's most famous son)
The original peripatetics were Aristotle's students at the Lyceum, back in the day. Legend has it that they didn't sit indoors in orderly rows like students nowadays, but instead roamed the grounds in small groups, walking-and-talking philosophy. I like their style, apocryphal or not. It’s a model we’ll emulate when the weather is nice enough, outdoors.
Would you be interested in joining a peripatetic Study Abroad summer course that involves walking and talking in England? Let me know...
School of Life (SoL) videos
History of Ideas video animations
History of Ideas podcasts
In Our Time podcasts
JPO's blogs & podcasts (we're not using D2L): JPO blogs at CoPhilosophy, Up@dawn and Delight Springs, podcasts here and on Soundcloud (More day to dawn, at iTunes), and tweets @osopher. "You don't need to follow me..."
but if a blog or podcast link is included with the daily quiz you'll probably want to read or listen.
You are encouraged to take advantage of this free service.
Lottery scholarship statement,
from: Academic Affairs <Academic.Affairs@mtsu.edu>
Do you have a lottery scholarship? To retain the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 and 48 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter. A grade of C, D, F, FA, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility.
If you drop this class, withdraw, or if you stop attending this class you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship, and you will not be able to regain eligibility at a later time.
For additional Lottery rules, please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form (http://www.mtsu.edu/financial-aid/forms/LOTFEV.pdf) or contact your MT One Stop Enrollment Coordinator (http://www.mtsu.edu/one-stop/counselor.php).
Students who believe they have been harassed, discriminated against or been the victim of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking should contact a Title IX/Deputy Coordinator at 615-898-2185 or 615-898- 2750 for assistance or review MTSU’s Title IX website for resources. http://www.mtsu.edu/titleix/