PHIL1310 Introduction to Philosophy

Course Description

Meets Mn Transfer Curriculum Goal Area 6 - Humanities and Fine Arts. Introduction to Philosophy explores the questions that arise from standard philosophical attempts at understanding human nature and experience: Are we minds and bodies? Just bodies? Just minds? What difference might it make? What is it to lead a good human life? What does it mean to live in the modern period? Where do conceptions of identity come from? What is knowledge? What can we know, and how do we know it? What is a thing? Do things have essences? Is reality independent of our minds? Is there a God? While the discipline of philosophy does encompass specialized agendas and many complex technical issues, the sorts of questions we will address in this course are ones to which most of us have, at one time or another, formed some answers, however rudimentary. Students will be introduced to classical and contemporary philosophical treatises that offer answers to these fundamental questions, and will be challenged to develop analytic thinking skills to defend and articulate their own answers. In this course, neither fluency nor even passing acquaintance with the history and practice of philosophy is presupposed; curiosity, on the other hand, is.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the scope and variety of philosophical thought as expressed in historical texts, figures, movements and religions.
  • Explain these philosophical works as investigations into the nature of the world, the basis of human experience, and limits and capacities of human understanding.
  • Craft an informed, rationally supported personal reaction to these philosophical investigations.
  • Defend their own philosophical views concerning the nature of the world, human experience and human understanding.
  • Analyze philosophical views contrary to their own.
  • Distinguish between the sub-fields of Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Ethics.
  • Recognize the applicability of traditional philosophical texts to a diverse range of modern problems.
  • Differentiate between classical philosophical worldviews and worldviews of the modern philosophical period.


Please see eServices for section availability and current pre-req/test score requirements for this course.

3 credits: 3 lectures / presentations, 0 lab, 0 other