Introduction to Philosophy Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PHIL-1301-002 Introduction to Philosophy


Course Description

A study of major issues in philosophy and/or the work of major philosophical figures in philosophy. Topics in philosophy may include theories of reality, theories of knowledge, theories of value and their practical applications.

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Department Expectations

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Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

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(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


  1. Blackburn, Simon, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd Edition Revised, Oxford University Press, 2008. Reference Only.
  2. Porter, Burton, Philosophy Through Film, 2nd Edition, Sloan Publishing, 2009. Required.


Your textbooks, a dictionary, pens or pencils, notebook paper or a notebook, and access to a computer to complete assignments and review class materials. Access to film rentals may also be necessary if you cannot attend on the days we view and discuss contemporary movies.

Student Performance


Online communication will be achieved between students and the professor by using AC Connect.  It is the student's responsibility to check for email messages and announcements regarding this class by clicking on AC Connect on the Amarillo College home page, and then clicking on the icon identifying this class.  You will be able to communicate with both your classmates and professor, check your syllabus, reviews for the examinations, and find your grades posted there.


Student Learning Outcomes are based on the required Core Curriculum Intellectual Competencies, Perspectives and Exemplary Educational Objectives as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Course Student Learning Outcomes:  CCIC 1,2,3,4,5 CCP 1,2,5,7,8 EEOSB 1,2,4,5,9,10,12

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. Read, analyze, and critique philosophical texts. 
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts, major arguments, problems and terminology in Philosophy. 
  3. Present logically persuasive arguments both orally and in writing. 
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking skills in evaluation and application of philosophical concepts to various aspects of life. 
  5. Evaluate the personal and social responsibilities of living in a diverse world.


Philosophy is an important part to the foundation of a liberal arts education. Courses in philosophy help to provide a deeper understanding of the concepts which have formed human cultures while at the same time helping to develop the students’ skills in critical analysis, their ability to write and interpret texts from all cultures, and to examine the ideas behind theoretical thinking


  1. Attendance.  Your presence in lecture classes is necessary in order to pass this course.  If you cannot be present due to jobs or other responsibilities, you should enroll in an online (Web) course if it is offered.  Examples of absences which may be excused are illness, official Amarillo College business, or personal emergencies.  Communication with the instructor is necessary if you cannot attend. It is your responsibility to contact the instructor by email on AC Connect. Unexcused absences may be made up by doing extra work as approved by your instructor.
  2. Reading.  A careful reading of all the assigned sections of the textbook and all informational sheets given to you in class or online. 
  3. Grading.  Your final grade will be comprised of weekly quizzes, class presentation, and the final examination.  See the class rubric on AC Connect.
  4. Out of Class Preparation.  
    1. Read textbook references before class.
    2. If a student scores below 70% on an exam or writing assignment, he or she will be required to attend tutoring per the instructor’s directions before being allowed to complete the next assigned work. Free tutoring is available at Ware Tutoring Center, located at Ware Student Commons 1st Floor, 806-371-5458.
  5. Participation.  Active participation in our classroom discussions is important. Any doctrinal point-of-view may be expressed if questioned or relevant, but you must speak respectfully to and of your fellow students and the instructor during all class discussions.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

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Expected Student Behavior


In order to not interrupt the class, students are asked to mute all cell phones prior to the beginning of each class session unless you have already explained why your cell phone is needed to your instructor.  Personal computers are allowed for taking notes and/or looking up materials that will contribute to our class discussion.  However, the improper use of cell phones and/or computers will not be tolerated.


Your instructor wants this class to be both interesting and fun, but any form of disruptive classroom behavior will not be tolerated.


All students are required to follow the AC Student Rights/Responsibilities Statement (On the internet, go to  and look under the “campus bookmarks”)

Grading Criteria

COURSE GRADE BREAKDOWN:                       COURSE GRADING SCALE:                 

Weekly Quizzes             70%                                       90-100               A

Discussion                     15%                                        80-89                B

Final Examination          15%                                        70-79                C      

                                     100%                                        60-69                D

                                                                               0-59                 F


Regular attendance and classroom participation. 



Week 1 

“Introduction to the Philosophers”

  1.  Introduction to philosophy. Read pgs. ix and 1, Burton Porter
  2. General outline for our study
  3. Getting acquainted with some of the great philosophers  
  4. 5 areas of philosophy: epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, and political philosophy.
  5. Movies to illustrate several philosophies
  6. Francis Ambrosio, “Philosophy of Religion”; DVDs of Great Courses series.
  7. YouTube: “What Great Philosophers Can Teach Us about Life,” by Alain de Botton; 1 hr. 20 min interview (6 philosophers covered)
  8. YouTube: “Epicurus and Happiness,” 24 minutes.
  9. YouTube: “Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; Global History Review,” 11:54 min
  10. Quiz #1


Week 2

“Introduction to Philosophers


  1. “What Great Philosophers Can Teach Us about Life,” Alain de Botton, cont. with Stoic philosophers: Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.
  2. “Marcus Aurelius—Best Lecture on Stoicism Ever!”, 42:00 min.
  3. “Pyrrho and the Skeptic Philosophers”, 19:42 min.
  4. “Intro. to Philosophy: Epistemology—Pyrrhoism,” 5:32 min.
  5. See the study guide for quiz #2.
  6.  Quiz #2


General Look at the Philosophers

  1. Pre-Socratic philosophers dealt more with matters of science and composition of things.
  2. Socratic philosophers dealt more with method than results, thoughts, and rational thinking.
  3. Post-Socratic philosophers are divided into three groups:

           a)  Stoicism: Seneca, Marcus Aurelius

           b) Epicurianism: Epicurus

           c) Skepticism: Rene Descartes and Pyrrho of Elis



Week 3 


  1. Read pgs. 3-76, Burton Porter
  2. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” pgs. 12-17
  3. YouTube: “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave,” (9:52 min.; 31 min.)
  4. YouTube: “Introduction to Epistemology,” 10:50 min.
  5. Movie synopsis: “The Truman Show,” pg. 51-55
  6. Watch “The Truman Show”
  7. YouTube: “The Hidden Meaning in The Truman Show,” 6:57 min.
  8. See study guide for quiz #3
  9. Quiz #3


Week 4 


  1. Porter, pgs. 77-138
  2. Film: “A Space Odyssey,” pgs. 109-119
  3. “2001—A Space Odyssey: Crash Film Criticism,” 13:38 min.
  4. “Introduction to Metaphysics,” 3:1 min.
  5. “Philosophy—Kant on Metaphysical Knowledge,” 10:08 min.
  6. See study guide for quiz #4
  7. Quiz #4


Week 5


  1. Porter, pg. 139-206
  2. “What is ethics?” 4.04 min.
  3. “Ethics,” 5.04 min.
  4. “Questions in philosophy,” 4.06 min.
  5. “Was it wrong to drop the atomic bomb on Japan?” 5.00 min.
  6. See movie: “Saving Private Ryan”
  • Synopsis, pgs. 194-202
  • “Saving Private Ryan—Clerk, Mom, General,” 7.46 min.
  • “D-Day Landing,” 20.29 min.
  • “US Army doesn’t fight for democracy anymore,” 9.06 min.
  • “Final Battle,” 9.47 min.
  • “Opening cemetery scene,” 3.51 min.
  • “Ending scene,” 3.39 min.

             7.  Film: “Twelve Angry Men,” pgs. 203-206

  • “Best movie scene,” 10.23 min.
  • “Movie review,” 12.24 min.

             8.  See study guide for quiz #5

             9.  Quiz #5      


Week 6 

“Philosophy of Religion”

  1. Porter, pgs. 207-263
  2. Film synopsis: “Contact,” pgs. 236-245
  3. YouTube: “Insight – God in the Dock (1980),” 28:31 min.
  4. Movie: “God on Trial,” (The Verdict, 10:07 min.)
  5. Read C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain; pgs. 227-235.
  6. “Religion vs. Philosophy,” 2:39 min.
  7. “Reason & Faith,” 8:38 min.
  8. See study guide for quiz #6
  9. Quiz #6 


Week 7 

“Political Philosophy”

  1. Porter, pgs. 265-336
  2. Movie synopsis: “Schindler’s List,” pgs. 316-325
  3. “The Problem with Democracy,” 6:40 min.
  4. “Why Socrates Hated Democracy,” 4:2 min.
  5. “Meritocracy,” 5:52 min.
  6. “Why Democracy Is Still the Best Form of Government,” 14:39 min.
  7. “What is the Best Form of Gov’t,” 6:40 min.
  8. “Plato’s Five Forms of Gov’t,” 16:06 min.
  9. “Political Theory—John Locke,” 9.13 min.
  10. “Political Theory—Thomas Hobbes,” 6.45 min.
  11. “Hobbes vs. Locke,” 16.32 min.
  12. Quiz #7


Week 8 


  1. “Video SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird Summary,” 7.24 min.
  2. “Review: To Kill a Mockingbird,” 9.24 min.
  3. Go Set a Watchman—sequel or first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird

Additional Information


In the college experience, students encounter diverse views and new subject matter, which expand their knowledge and perspective.  In all Humanities or Philosophy courses, we might observe, read and discuss some works with subject matter that could include (but not be limited to) death, violence, sexuality, race, potentially offensive language, and political or religious viewpoints different from your own.  If any sensitive subject matter is a concern for you, please arrange a meeting with the instructor.


If a student scores below 70% on an exam or writing assignment, he or she will be required to attend tutoring per the instructor’s directions before being allowed to complete the next assigned work. Free tutoring is available at Ware Tutoring Center, located at Ware Student Commons 1st Floor, 806-371-5458.

Syllabus Created on:

10/19/21 11:35 AM

Last Edited on:

05/04/23 9:49 PM