PHL 201 Introduction to Philosophy

PHL 201

Introduction to Philosophy

Dr. Jeff Johnson

Distance Delivery

PHL 201 is a course on philosophical reasoning.  We will be employing a technique for evaluating arguments called “Inference to the Best Explanation.”  The case studies we will be focusing on are the nature of evidence, scientific evidence, theological evidence, and the nature of thinking

Required Texts:

  • Inferring and Explaining by Jeffery L. Johnson
  • Several of my published articles and conference papers (provided within D2L)
  • Additional on-line sources (provided in D2L) 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Mastery of “inference to the best explanation”
  • Familiarity with scientific experimentation
  • Knowledge of Darwin’s theories of common descent and natural selection
  • Familiarity with the evidence for global warming
  • Familiarity with the cosmological argument
  • Familiarity with the teleological argument
  • Familiarity with the evidential value of mystical experiences
  • Familiarity with the problem of evil
  • Familiarity with the mind-body problem
  • Familiarity with the artificial intelligence debate
  • Familiarity with the cosmological argument
  • Familiarity with the biological accounts of religious belief
  • Familiarity with the biological accounts of moral thinking
  • Familiarity with the debate regarding inference to the best explanation

Means of Assessment and Grading

  • Midterm “take home” essay examination (33% of course grade)
  • Analytical paper (33% of course grade)
  • Final “take home” essay examination (33% of course grade)

TENTATIVE CALENDAR

Week One

  • Intro to class
  • Skepticism
  • Nature of knowledge
  • Arguments

Week Two

  • Inference to the best explanation
  • New data and experimentation
  • New data and experimentation
  • Semmelweis

Week Three

  • Background to Darwin
  • Common descent
  • Common descent
  • Common descent

Week Four

  • Statistical reasoning
  • Correlations to causes
  • Global warming
  • Global warming

Midterm Essay Exam (due 2/9/17)

Week Five

  • Three world views
  • Three world views
  • Cosmological argument
  • Cosmological argument

Week Six

  • Teleological argument
  • New teleological argument
  • Argument from language
  • Testimony

Week Seven

  • Mystical experience
  • Mystical experience
  • Problem of evil
  • Problem of evil

Analytical Paper (Begin writing 2/24/17)

Week Eight

  • Mind-body problem
  • Mind-body problem
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence 

Week Nine

Analytical Paper drafts due to peer review 3/10/17

Week Ten
  • Secular natural law
  • Secular natural law
  • Inference to the best explanation
  • Inference to the best explanation

Analytical Paper due 3/17/17

Final exam 3/22/17

Statistical reasoning

  • Correlations to causes
  • Global warming
  • Global warming

Midterm Essay Exam

Week Five

  • Three world views
  • Three world views
  • Cosmological argument
  • Cosmological argument

Week Six

  • Teleological argument
  • New teleological argument
  • Argument from language
  • Testimony

Week Seven

  • Mystical experience
  • Mystical experience
  • Problem of evil
  • Problem of evil

Analytical Paper 

Week Eight

  • Mind-body problem
  • Mind-body problem
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence 

Week Nine

Week Ten

  • Secular natural law
  • Secular natural law
  • Inference to the best explanation
  • Inference to the best explanation

Final exam