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Sample Syllabus 1

​PHL 100 Introduction to Philosophy

Course Description

This course aims to give you a broad picture of the history of Western thought: we will read texts by the original authors and learn to figure out what they’re trying to say. We will have small discussion groups on various days, to encourage each of you to talk about the readings in a comfortable environment. In addition, you will have the opportunity to put your thoughts on the material on paper, in the form of assigned papers. At the end of the quarter, I hope each of you will feel you have improved your reading comprehension and writing skills, and have learned to think more critically, but also with an open mind. So, to sum up:


Jostein Gaarder. Sophie’s World.
Plato. Symposium.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Discourse on the Inequality of Man.
Soren Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling.


Papers: You are required to write three 3-4 page papers (see the schedule for due dates). These are to be formal discussions of the topics we will discuss in class, with a minimum of personal opinion. Please include page numbers of the book(s) you use in parentheses so I know where you’re coming from (we’ll talk more about this in class). Your job is to be able to summarize and elaborate on the text with clarity. Any papers longer than 8 pages will not be read past that point. (The first two papers are worth 20% each; the final paper is worth 25%).

Rough Draft Days: On such days as indicated on the schedule, you will be required to bring in TWO (2) copies of your typed, double-spaced completed rough draft. You will exchange papers with at least 2 of your classmates and peer edit them. One of the copies will be turned in to me. TURNING IN A ROUGH DRAFT COUNTS AS PART OF THE FINAL GRADE FOR YOUR PAPER. MISSING CLASS IS UNACCEPTABLE EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A ROUGH DRAFT. Those without papers will be expected to show up and read while editing is going on. We will NOT spend the entire classtime on editing; there will be class discussion or a lecture as well. (5 points toward paper grades)

Thought Memos: Each week, you will turn in a 2 page informal reflection on the reading in Sophie’s World. These need to be TYPED because I’m horrible at deciphering handwriting! (5 pts. each; 20%)

Other Important Stuff

Class participation is based on attendance and group discussions. Several times during the quarter, I will break you up into small groups and give you some questions to discuss. (part of last 15%)
Attendance: More than one excused absence will result in your grade being lowered by ½ for each! Consistent tardiness=one absence. (part of last 15%)

Plagiarism: Quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s work or thoughts without citing them as a source is plagiarism. It is a major offense, one the university and myself take VERY seriously. ANY time you are referring in any way to ANYTHING that you did not come up with yourself, you MUST cite your source! If I suspect you of plagarism, you will be informed in writing, as will the University. You will also receive a 0 (not just an F, but NO POINTS) for the assignment. Seeing as you only have 3 papers, plagiarizing in any way would be about the dumbest thing you’ve ever done. And I will catch you, I’m very good.

Late papers: will lose ½ a grade for each day late. Final papers will NOT be accepted late.

Rewrites: You get one rewrite for the class, if you receive a C or lower on a paper. There will not be rewrites available for the final paper. Rewrites are due one week after the paper is returned. ​