About PHIL 010 ZRC

Courses introducing philosophical argument and analysis in a variety of ways. Topics vary by offering; periodic offering at intervals that may exceed four years.


Credit not awarded for more than one PHIL course below 100 except PHIL 013; CDE students only even after level restrictions are removed; Degree students enroll in PHIL 010 C; Total combined enrollment = 60

Section Description

This course is an introduction to the problems of philosophy, centered on the theme of skepticism. We begin with a close reading of the Plato's "Apology," which purports to reproduce the speech Socrates gave at his trial. In defending himself, Socrates also defended his generally skeptical outlook—and philosophy itself. After a brief detour into logic, we move on to consider skeptical arguments in a number of areas. We start by considering some of the recent literature on the morality of abortion, which I will argue illustrates Socrates’s point that we don’t know much of what we claim to know. We go on to ask whether morality is even a realm of fact, something that could be known at all. We also consider whether religion could be the basis for morality and moral knowledge and go on to ask whether we have reason to believe in God in the first place. We conclude by considering arguments concerning the possibility of knowledge of the world around us, our own bodies, the laws of nature, and whether other people even exist.

Section Expectation

The course will be a mix of lecture and structured discussion, centered on careful readings of a small number of texts. Students will be expected to spend a good deal of time reading and rereading the material prior to each class and to attend class regularly. All materials will be made available on line at no charge. The pace will accelerate as the term continues and students become better acquainted with philosophical ways of thinking. The main point of the course is to help students learn to think and express themselves more clearly. We will have fun and work hard every day!


Grades are likely to be based on three examinations. (They are likely to be one-on-one oral exams via Teams.) For exams, I typically hand out two to four long essay questions in advance. If so, the only surprise is which question(s) I pick for you to answer, closed book. A student's grade can be affected negatively by unexcused absences (or, in very rare cases, disruption) and positively by helpful participation in class discussions. Requirements, method of instruction, and even content are subject to change.

Course Dates



Remote (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

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Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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