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
Final Exam: 30%
Short essay 1: 15%
Short essay 2: 20%
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
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
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.
Theories of Knowledge – Epistemology
Doubt and certainty
Knowledge and belief
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
Did Romeo actually love Julliet?