Philosophy II (2S)


“The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)

First and Second Semester Philosophy differ: Second Semester Philosophy is primarily discussion-based so the student should be prepared to participate in classroom discussions focused on various contemporary and historically rooted philosophical ideas and theories.

In this course, we examine such questions as: What is the meaning of life? The purpose of life? Who decides and how do we do so? What is the connection between my mind and body (and soul?)? What does it mean to be an “authentic” person? How do I know whether God exists? Can this be proven? What is the role of belief and faith in examining this issue? What is art? What is good art? What do I know and how can I know it? How does language frame our reality? In what way am I truly free to choose what I do? What factors influence my choices, i.e. advertising, nature & nurture, my DNA, etc.? What is “fairness”? How can we maintain a just and fair society? What does it mean to behave ethically? From a skills perspective, philosophy students should expect to develop the ability to decipher the logical structure of an argument and, in doing so, determine whether an argument is both valid and cogent as well as to understand various logical fallacies and pitfalls. In addition, students will hone their ability to write clearly and creatively, defending their own position on various abstract “big picture” issues in both written and spoken form. Lastly, students will learn to read closely and critically in order to decipher the position of a philosophical paper, how it is defended, and what their own position on that issue is (and why). No prerequisite – open to all juniors and seniors and to sophomores, if space is available.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors, and sophomores if space is available.