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1 Proposal: number 110

110. PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Contact:Steven Hicks
Abstract:Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy, is described in Queens College’s
Undergraduate Bulletin as follows: “Basic problems such as knowledge, reality,
meaning, value, the nature of persons and their political and cultural
environment are introduced through selected readings of great philosophers.”
In line with this description, the instructor in a typical section of
Philosophy 101 assigns readings from both classical and modern philosophers
that convey a fair idea of important rival positions in epistemology and
metaphysics. As a rule some attention will also be given to issues in one or
more of ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, and
philosophy of religion. How much to include in Philosophy 101 is always
difficult to decide. Different instructors decide the matter differently, and
the same instructor may decide the matter differently from one semester to the
next. The aim shared by all is to encourage students to strive for consistent
and reasonable views of their own, mindful of the contrasting views of notable
philosophers, on such main problems of philosophy as the following from
epistemology and metaphysics:
Questions of epistemology (theories about human knowledge):
1. What distinguishes knowledge from opinion? How, if at all, is
knowledge obtainable?
2. Is there any knowledge which is so certain that no reasonable
person could doubt it?
3. Do the natural sciences give us knowledge? The social sciences?
4. Are there limits to what we can know? If so, how can we know what
they are?
5. What is truth? Is it relative?
Questions of metaphysics (theories as to the nature of reality):
1. Is it possible that the universe might not have existed? If so,
why does it exist?
2. What in the universe is fundamentally real? Matter? Mind? Both?
3. Are the things we perceive by means of our bodily senses (sight,
touch, and so on) really
just what they appear to be, or is there a difference between
appearance and reality?
4. Is there a cause for everything that happens, including every
human thought and action?
5. What is the nature of human selfhood or personality? Is this to
be understood in terms
of a distinction between mind and body?

These are issues typically canvassed in Philosophy 101. Attached is a sample
syllabus for the course which includes a description for Philosophy 101 as a
PLAS course.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
PHIL 101 2008-10-07 CV Submitted Dept
PHIL 101 2008-10-07 ET Submitted Dept
PHIL 101 2008-10-14 CV Approved GEAC
PHIL 101 2008-10-14 ET Approved GEAC
PHIL 101 2008-11-13 CV Approved UCC
PHIL 101 2008-11-13 ET Approved UCC
PHIL 101 2009-04-02 CV Approved Senate
PHIL 101 2009-04-02 ET Approved Senate