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Philosophy 100 Syllabus Section 4

Instructor: Amy Payne, M.A. Phone (410) 455-2038 Email amypayne@umbc.edu

Office Location: Performing Arts and Humanities Room 461
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 PM-12:30 PM. Or by appointment.
Class meeting times and locations: Section 5: Engineering 022 10-11:15AM; Section 9: PAHB 107 1-2:15PM
Distribution Requirement Satisfied by this course: Arts and Humanities (AH)
Functional Competency Satisfied by this course: Critical Analysis and Reasoning
Course Overview
In this class we explore philosophy as a form of inquiry by reading and discussing some of the more influential writings and
figures of Western Philosophy. We begin with Platos Euthyphro to look at both the structure and content of philosophical
argument. Then through a detailed reading of part of Ren Descartes Meditations on a First Philosophy, we will explore
epistemology, metaphysics, and the role of thought experiments. We will next examine how the existence of God as defined
by some thinkers poses problems and leads us to evaluate concepts of good, evil, and freedom of the will. Finally, we will
explore how concepts of free will relate to moral obligations and some different ideas of what constitutes the good life.
Course Goals and Expectations:
Students will be introduced to some fundamental ideas of philosophy through reading, lecture, and discussion of the texts of
major philosophers.
Students will learn how to read and interpret philosophical texts to determine their main arguments and structure. This will
be evaluated via three exams and quizzes.
Through writing a philosophical paper, students will learn how to perform research, develop their own thesis, and provide
supporting arguments. One class is dedicated for personal writing preparation through discussions of paper topics with
other students. This will help students to improve their papers and learn the skills of informal disputation.
Required Texts:
Please obtain the following books: They are available in the UMBC Bookstore.
Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (second edition), by Plato.
Translated by G. M. A. Grube.Revised by John M. Cooper
Meditations on First Philosophy (third edition), by Ren Descartes.
Translated by Donald A. Cress.
The following texts will be made available online via Blackboard, consisting of selections of writings and full articles:
Omnipotence and Evil, J.L. Mackie
Of Liberty and Necessity, David Hume
Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant
Selections from An Introduction to Morals and Legislation by Jeremy Bentham

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Course Schedule
Class date


Scheduled Reading


Introduction Class

No reading scheduled.


Plato, Defining Piety

Euthyphro, Plato


Introduction to Epistemology

Descartes, Meditations on First

Philosophy: Meditation one.


Ontological and Cosmological Arguments for the

Existence of God

Anselm, Prosologion.
Descartes, Meditations on First
Philosophy: Second Meditation.


Exam Review and Exam 1

No reading scheduled.


Problem of Evil

Mackie, Omnipotence and



Free Will and Determinism

Hume, Of Liberty and

Necessity, sections 62-96.


Spring Break


Mind/Body Problem

Descartes, Meditations. Sixth



Exam Review and Exam 2

No reading scheduled.


In-Class Paper Topic Review



Bentham, selections.


Deontological Ethics and Paper Due

Kant, Grounding for the

Metaphysics of Morals, Chap. 1.


Review for Exam 3

No readings scheduled.


Exam 3

Please note that this schedule may change to reflect the pace of the class.
Exam Schedule



First Exam


Second Exam


Paper Due


Third Exam

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Grading Policy:
There will be three exams each worth 20% of the total grade. The paper is worth 25% and random quizzes will be worth a
total of 15%. The quizzes are to reward you for keeping up with your reading.
The exams will be short essay. The class meeting prior to the exam will be a review session and exam questions will be
given out at the end of the review session. I will give out three questions, two of which must be answered for the exam.
Any absence beyond three class periods will remove 10% from your grade. Attendance will be recorded at each class
Permission for late papers or make-up exams must be obtained in advance.
UMBC Statement of Values for Academic Integrity:
By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly
community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating,
fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong.
Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To
read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, or the Office of Undergraduate

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