UWG Philosophy Program


PHIL 2100


Summer 2010 (Session III, June 7 – July 1)

MTWRF 3pm-5:15pm (Humanities 209)

Prerequisites: NONE

Web Site: http://www.westga.edu/~rlane/ethics

Instructor: Dr. Robert Lane

Office: TLC 2247

Office hours:

9:00-9:45am, 12:30-2:30pm  MTWRF

My office telephone: (678) 839-4745
Philosophy Program telephone: (678) 839-4744

Email: rlane “at” westga.edu*

*All email communication must be conducted from your official UWG email account. Students are obligated to check their UWG email accounts on a regular basis and to ensure that their mailboxes do not become full.


UWG Severe Weather Policy


COURSE DESCRIPTION: A survey of arguments and theories relevant to basic issues in the central areas of philosophy, including logic, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, epistemology and ethics.



LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of the semester, each student will be able to

·         Understand the distinctions among epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as comprising basic branches of the discipline;

·         Recognize how philosophical inquiry applies to ‘real-world’ circumstances and to individual reflection on the meaning of life;

·         Become conversant with the history of Western philosophy in particular, including such significant developments as idealism, rationalism, pragmatism, and existentialism;

·         Recognize and define different world views, adopting a reasonably viable one and justifying it in a philosophically informed way;

·         Demonstrate the ability to discuss in both oral and written discourse the philosophical issues explored in the course.

 These course-specific learning outcomes contribute to the departmental learning outcomes of the Philosophy Program by enabling students better to

·         discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy and selected major historical figures in philosophy

·         ask philosophical questions

·         incorporate philosophical positions in oral and written communications



METHODS OF INSTRUCTION: Class time will be roughly split between lecture and class discussion. You will have reading assignments that will be due by the beginning of each day’s class. In order to benefit fully from lectures and class discussions, it is a must that you do the reading when it is assigned.




·         Eliot Sober, Core Questions in Philosophy (5th ed., Pearson Higher Education, 2009) (required)

·         Online lecture notes. After most class meetings, I will post my own lecture notes for that day on the class web site. You should read and study these notes daily.



·         Two in-class examinations (30% each; 60% total). These tests will combine logic problems, definitions, short answer questions, and essay questions.

·         One comprehensive in-class final examination (30%). Test will consist of logic problems, definitions, short answer questions, and essay questions.

·         Quizzes on reading assignments and lecture material (10%). We will have at least 12 quizzes. Only the 10 quizzes on which you do best will count toward your grade (i.e., I will drop at least two quizzes). Questions will come both from daily reading assignments and from previous lecture material. These quizzes are intended to motivate you to keep up with assigned readings and to study the lecture notes on a regular basis.

·         GRADING SCALE:

100 – 90.1%  A        90.0 – 80.1%  B             80.0 – 70.1%  C             70.0 – 60.1%  D             60.0 - 0%   F




·         I will take attendance at the beginning of each class. You may miss two class meetings with no effect on your grade. Beginning with your third absence, you will lose five points from your final average for every class meeting you miss. This policy applies to the first day of class, even if you were not yet registered for the class. I will make exceptions for absences necessitated by UWG-sponsored events or by other circumstances that were absolutely outside your control. However, I will make these exceptions only if ALL of your absences can be accounted for in one of these ways (e.g., if you miss three classes and you have documented, acceptable reasons for missing only two classes, then your third absence will still count against you, no matter the reason for that absence, even if it is for a UWG-sponsored event). Documentation will be required in all cases in which I make an exception to this absence policy. Do not squander the two absences you are allowed: they are to be saved for when you must be absent, not to be burned through when you simply don’t feel like coming to class.

·         Students who miss six or more class meetings will receive a grade of “F.” In this case the reason for your absences is irrelevant, even if many of your absences are necessitated by participation in UWG-sponsored events. If participating in UWG-sponsored events will require that you miss six class meetings, you should drop this class immediately, before the end of the drop-add session. If you are unable to attend class for six days due to medical reasons, a family emergency, or any other reason, you should withdraw from class; if the withdrawal date has passed, you should apply for a hardship withdrawal from all of your classes.

·         An early departure or late arrival may be counted as an absence, depending on the circumstances. I will decide in each case whether an early departure or a late arrival counts as an absence. If you know before class that you will not be able to stay for the entire class session, please inform me of this before class and sit as close to the door as possible, so as to be minimally distracting when you leave.

·         Leaving the classroom while class is in session (e.g., to visit the restroom) is both disrespectful and distracting. Do not leave the room during class unless it is absolutely essential that you do so.

·         Do not study material from other classes while this class is in session. While you are in this class, I expect your attention to be focused on it rather than on your other courses.

·         Do not eat while class is in session (drinks are OK).

·         You must keep all cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices off during class; this implies that you may not send text messages during class. You may use a laptop computer to take notes during class, but I reserve the right to change this policy during the semester if your laptop use becomes distracting to me or to other students, or if you abuse this privilege by looking at material during class that has nothing to do with class.




·         UWG defines disruptive behavior as follows: “Disruptive student behavior is student behavior in a classroom or other learning environment (to include both on and off-campus locations and to include online learning environments, about which more detail is provided by the Office for Distance Education), which disrupts the educational process. Disruptive behavior for this purpose is determined by the instructor, but such determination will be based upon behavior that includes, but is not limited to, verbal or physical threats, repeated obscenities, unreasonable interference with class discussion, making/receiving personal phone calls, text messages or pages during class, excessive tardiness, leaving and entering class frequently in the absence of notice to instructor of illness or other extenuating circumstances, and persisting in disruptive personal conversations with other class members.” I will ask students who engage in any of these behaviors to leave the classroom.




·         If you know that you will need to miss class on a day on which a test is scheduled (for example, due to a UWG sponsored event), you must let me know about your absence as far in advance as possible so that we can schedule another day and time for you to take the test (or a make-up test). If you miss a test without receiving my explicit permission beforehand and making arrangements for a make-up test, you will be permitted to take a make-up test if and only if one of the following conditions applies: (a) Your absence was due to illness or injury serious enough to require professional medical care and which prevented you from contacting me before the test; or (b) Your absence was due to other extenuating circumstances beyond your control. I will determine on a case-by-case basis what constitutes "extenuating circumstances beyond your control." You may be required to provide documentation pertaining to your absence before you are allowed to take a make-up test. Make-up tests will usually be longer and potentially more difficult than the original test that you missed.

·         Extra-credit work will not be given under any circumstances. Work completed for other courses will not be accepted in this course.




·         "[E]ach student is responsible for everything which happens in class and is responsible for making specific arrangements with the instructor for the work missed, including that missed during illness or university-sponsored activities"

·         "[A]ny student who is unable to continue attendance in class should either drop the course, withdraw from the University, or make appropriate arrangements with the instructors"

·         "[A]ny student who must be absent for more than three successive days is required to notify the Student Development Center, Parker Hall, telephone 770-836-6428."

·         "Students who do not intend to remain in a course must drop the course before the end of the official drop/add period. Failure to drop a course during the drop/add period may result in grades of F in courses not attended."

·         Academic Honor. "At West Georgia, the student is expected to achieve and maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and excellence. Not only does academic honesty preserve the integrity of both the student and the institution, but it is also essential in gaining a true education. The West Georgia student, therefore, pledges not to lie, cheat or steal in the pursuit of his or her studies and is encouraged to report those who do." Students who commit plagiarism (using someone else’s words or ideas without attribution of credit) will receive an “F” for the entire course and may be reported to the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs for additional action.






THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE IS TENTATIVE AND MAY CHANGE AS THE SESSION PROGRESSES. THIS INCLUDES TEST DATES, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. If the class finds a specific topic especially interesting and/or difficult, then we may spend more than the allotted time on that topic. I will maintain an up-to-date version of the course schedule on the class web site. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to keep up with test dates, due dates, and reading assignments, either by checking the class web site or contacting me directly.


All readings are from Eliot Sober, Core Questions in Philosophy, 5th ed. All readings, as well as the previous day’s online lecture notes, are fair game for pop quizzes at the beginning of that day’s class.




reading due


7 M



Introduction to the course. Objectivity vs. Subjectivity.

8 T

pop quiz possible

ch.1; handout: Plato’s Apology

The Trial of Socrates; Plato’s Cave

9 W

pop quiz possible


Logic: Deductive Validity.

10 R

pop quiz possible


Logic: Induction and Abduction.

11 F

pop quiz possible

ch.5 & 6

Design Arguments. Evolution & Creationism.

14 M

pop quiz possible

ch.7 & ch.11

Can Science Explain Everything? The Argument from Evil.

15 T

Test #1

(first half of class)


Types of Knowledge [second half of class]

16 W

pop quiz possible

ch.12; Meditation I (all)


What is Knowledge?; Descartes’ Meditations

17 R

pop quiz possible

Meditations II (all) and III (pp.216-22 only);

ch.13 (pp.163-68 only)

Descartes’ Meditations

Last day to withdraw with grade of “W”

18 F

pop quiz possible

Meditation IV (all);


Descartes’ Meditations


21 M

pop quiz possible

Hume’s Enquiry (pp.246-53);

ch.15 & ch.17

Hume and the Problem of Induction.

22 T

Test #2

(first half of class)


Philosophy of Mind: The Mind-Body Problem & a Menu of Positions [second half of class]

23 W

pop quiz possible

Meditation VI (pp.235-45);

ch.19 & ch.20

Philosophy of Mind: Cartesian Dualism & Logical Behaviorism

24 R

pop quiz possible


Philosophy of Mind: the Identity Theory

25 F

pop quiz possible

ch.23 & ch.24

Philosophy of Mind: Functionalism & Eliminative Materialism;

Freedom, Determinism, Causality;


28 M

pop quiz possible

ch.25 & 26

Free Will: A Menu of Positions; Two Forms of Compatibilism

29 T

pop quiz possible


catch-up; review of the course; Q&A for final exam

30 W



Reading Day: classes do not meet

July 1

Test #3

(final exam; entire class period)




Last day to withdraw with grade of “W” is Thursday June 17.