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Phil 1200 003

Fall, 2009: Philosophy 1200, section 003: Research & Writing


Instructor: Dr. J. Bradley (Office: A-3070. Email:; Office Tel.: 737-8336; Home Tel.: 738-2201).

Lecture Times: Tuesday, Thursday, 10.30-11.50 (Slot 18).

1. Ththe course will study two major aspects of philosophy: the theory of knowledge ('epistemology') and the theory of the nature of reality ('metaphysics').

2. In these areas, we will examine our concepts of doubt, certainty, experience, reasoning, belief, and their impact on the way we understand ourselves and the world around us.

3.As textbooks, we will use René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (1641); and David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature (1739). A book you will also find useful is A.J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge; also, A.D. Woozley, The Theory of Knowledge (both on reserve in the Library). Students are expected to consult the works on reserve for this course in the Library.


A total of FOUR essays, each to be handed in on the dates given below:

1.Tuesday, September 29 - Descartes on Doubt.

2.Tuesday, October 20 - Descartes on Certain Knowledge.

3.Tuesday, November 17 - Hume on Reasoning, Feeling, and Belief.

4.Thursday, December 3 - ‘Are matters of belief matters of reasoning?’

(Titles of the first three essays will be given in class)

Please note:

1. It is essential that the concepts and issues discussed IN CLASS be referred to and considered in the essays. SO ATTENDANCE IN CLASS IS A CONDITION OF THE GRADING OF EACH ESSAY AND OF THE AWARD OF A FINAL GRADE. Obviously, essays will also be expected to refer to and to show good knowledge of the set texts.

2. It is essential that the dates of submission be strictly adhered to. Late submissions will be penalized.

3. I expect a handwritten essay to be 6 to 9 sides in length. Writing should be double- spaced. (Typed essays are much preferred!). Essays should be handed in at class on the assigned date.

4. Each of the essays will be given an "approximate" mark within a few days of submission. ALL essays will be handed in at the end of term for the final course mark, which will take in to account improvements displayed in the essays as the course progresses. So

5. There is no examination. Course marks are based on the quality of the essays (which depends, in great part, on class attendance).

6. Please note that no essays will be accepted by email. Requests of any kind (e.g. extensions) should be made in person. This is a real, not a virtual or pseudo- university, so students are very welcome to discuss issues in person! Office Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, 12.00-2.00, but feel free to discuss philosophical issues with me at any convenient time.