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Wilfrid Laurier University
Rockney Jacobsen

PP 111 Week One notes The course syllabus is on mylearning space The required course book is Fall 2010 edition An Introduction to Theories of Knowledge and Reality Mark Breakdown: Midterm: 25% Final Exam: 30% Short essay 1: 15% Short essay 2: 20% Tutorials: 10% To email do not use mylearningspace email and do not ask for information you already have and use the course number in the subject line. Notes and slides will NOT be posted on mylearningspace. Essays can be made up if you have a legitimate excuse and/or doctor’s note but it must be delt with in a timely fashion. There will be no marks lost on missed tests with a doctor’s note but there will also be no rewrite. To succeed in this class: Understand the difference between registrants (people enrolled in the class), students (people who do the work) and Learners (people who want to learn about philosophy) Understand the relationship between Teaching, Studying and Learning. Learning is a result of studying not teaching. Decide if your goal is to learn philosophy or to get the credit. If your goal is to learn philosophy read the reading before class, bring your book, listen to the lecture while marking the book, reread the bok after class. The goal is to listen, think and understand. Course Topics: Theories of Knowledge – Epistemology Doubt and certainty Knowledge and belief Justification Perception and testimony Reason and faith Theories of Reality – Metaphysics Change and identity Personal transformation and identity The existence of God The nature of mind and body What is Philosophy? We must first understand what philosophy is NOT. It is not a religious doctrine In the practice of philosophy no idea is immune to critical scrutiny. We must be able to take the idea apart and put it back together again. In philosophy a good question is as good as a good answer. Philosophy is not the psychology or sociology of belief. Philosophers attempt to provide justification for beliefs, not explain them. Explanation Vs Justification Ex. I believe there is a hippo in the WLU bookstore. Explanation: I have taken a hallucinogenic drug. This does not prove truth or falsity which is why explination is irrelevant to philosophy. Justification: There are hippo tracks and piles of hippo dung leading directly to the bookstore. This is relevant to the truth and gives the listener a reason to share the belief. There are several answers to what philosophy is and why it is important. 1) Philosophy is the love (philos) of wisdom (Sophia)… but what is wisdom? 2) Philosophy is the attempt to solve the ‘big’ or ‘important’ questions… but what is important? 3) Philosophy is the attempt to aquire knowledge of ‘the nature (essence) of things’… but what are essences? Did Romeo actually love Julliet?
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