Why is there something other than nothing? Is the universe necessary, purposeful, a product of chance, eternally existent, or created? Does God exist? What does “God” mean? Is the soul mortal or immortal, or are we just bodies with brains? Is morality relative or absolute, or is there another possibility? What is knowledge? Philosophy poses and pursues answers to these kinds of questions in its relentless quest, the quest for knowledge about the most fundamental realities of our existence. As the philosopher Louis Pojman has written “The quest for truth is the contemplation or study of the most important questions in existence with the goal of promoting illumination and understanding, a vision of the whole. It uses reason, sense perception, the imagination, and intuitions in its activity of analyzing and constructing arguments and theories as possible answers to these perennial questions.”
This course is an introduction to the wondrous intellectual adventure that is philosophy. Students not only learn about philosophy, but also to philosophize, exploring in the writings of Plato and Aristotle such philosophical topics as epistemology, logic, the problem of evil, faith and reason, the mind and body relationship, and ethics. Through rigorous discussion and debate, students learn how to analyze and interpret their own personal experience in light of classic philosophical texts; how to recognize, assess, and construct philosophical arguments using logical rules and philosophical principles; and how to employ the tools of critical analysis and argumentative evaluation in their own thinking, speaking, and writing.