Introduction to Philosophy Syllabus for 2021-2022
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PHIL-1301-004 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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(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


1.  Porter, Burton, Philosophy Through Film, 2nd Edition, Sloan Publishing, 2009.

2. Optional:  Blackburn, Simon, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd Edition Revised, Oxford University Press, 2008.

3. Optional:  Most Recent Edition of The MLA Handbook


Your textbook, syllabus, and access to a computer to complete assignments and review class materials.  

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 at the top of 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, find required supplemental materials, assignments, and grades posted there.  Instructor response to student emails may take up to 24 hrs.

All exams will be taken online, through Blackboard.  Weekly assignnments will be submitted through Blackboard.  If you need assistance submitting assignments through Blackboard, view the Blackboard 101 Tutorial video in the "Start Here" folder or contact the Student Success Center.  All weekly assignments are due each Friday by 5pm..  A late penalty will be applied to all assignments submitted after this time (see below).

Late Assignments:  10 pts will be deducted from the grade for late assignments for each day they are late.  After three days, late assignments will receive a zero..  

OBJECTIVES AND GOALS: We will identify history’s leading paradigmatic philosophers and analyze their philosophies through assigned readings, lectures, and discussion of contemporary films.

POLICY CONCERNING SENSITIVE SUBJECT MATTER:  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.


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.

THE STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY: 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. 1.         Regular online participation in discussion boards and submissions of weekly assignments through Blackboard.

    2.         A careful reading of all the assigned sections of the textbooks (see the class outline on this syllabus to find your specific reading assignments).  Reading the assigned portions of the textbooks is necessary for the successful completion of this course. 

    3.         The successful completion of three online examinations.. See the course outline for the dates of these exams.

    4.       Completion of a Critical Thinking in Ethics Paper (4-5 page paper in Common Assessment)).  See Content for specific guidelines and due date.

    4.       Extra Credit is not available for 6-8 week courses.   

    5.       Students who receive a grade below 70 on writing assignments or exams will be referred for tutoring.  Tutoring must be completed before future assignments will be accepted for a grade.In addition, students must complete the Critical Thinking in Ethics assignment (4-5 page paper) in Common Assessment.:

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior


All matters of academic dishonesty including plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, and cheating will result in a failing grade for the assignment in question.  All violations will be reported to the proper college authorities for review. 


Personal computers or devices are necessary for participation in this class, but the improper use of any device will not be tolerated..


Your instructor wants this class to be both interesting and enjoyable, but any form of disruptive classroom behavior will not be tolerated.  Please use proper online etiquette when communicating with your classmates and your instructor.


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

                Weekly Assignments       20% (averaged)  
 First Examination           20%  90-100                 A
Second Examination      20% 80-89                   B
Final Examination          20% 60-69                   D
 Critical Thinking Paper   20% 0-59                     F


Regular attendance and classroom participation are required.  Students who do not participate in either of the first two classes will be administratively dropped from the course.  To receive credit for class participation, students must submit at least one assignment through Blackboard during the first week of class.



Part I: Introduction

Week #1        

Read Syllabus, Explore the "Start Here" folder in Content.  Open Week #1 folder for assignments, including discussion boards.  Assigned readings for each week are listed below.

 Read Porter, preface and Introduction

Topics:  What is Philosophy, and Who is a Philosopher?  The Branches of Philosophy.   Why Study Philosophy through Film?

Defining Moment (Assignment in Common Assessment).

Participate in Discussion #1 (Assignment in Discussion Board).

Part II: Eastern Philosophy                                                                                                              

Topics:  Confucius, Hindu Scripture and Philosophy--the Baghavad Gita, The Buddha’s Deer Park Sermon, and Groundhog Day 


Week #2

Porter, pp. 3-9, 11-17, 18-27, 28-41, 51-55.           

Read "Starting your Critical Thinking in Ethics Paper" in Content.

Confucius Quotes (Assignment)

The Truman Show Questions (assignment).

Participate in Discussion #2 (Assignment in Discussion Board).


Week #3

Exam #1 open in Blackboard-- Due Friday   

Porter pp. 77-88, 109-119, 125-133.

Topic:  Metaphysics--2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix.

2001: A Space Odyssey Questions (Assignment).

Participate in Discussion #3 (Assignment in Discussion Board).


Week #4

Porter, pp. 207-226,227-235, 236-245.

Topic:  The Philosophy of Religion (Aquinas, Anselm, Descartes), The Problem of Pain (C.S. Lewis), and Contact.

The Matrix Questions (Assignment).

Participate in Discussion #4 (Assignment in Discussion Board)

View Exam #2 Study Guide (Optional but recommended).


Week #5

Exam #2 opens in Blackboard.  This is a Timed Exam (90 minutes) Due Friday by 5pm.

Porter, pp. 139-150, 170-193.

Topic:  Intro to Ethics--ethical dilemmas.  Why study ethics?  Crash and On the Waterfront.

Contact Questions (Assignment).

Participate in Discussion #5 (Assignment in Discussion Board).


Week #6

Porter, pp. 151-169, 194-202.

Topic:  Ethics--Ways of Viewing Moral Behavior.  J.S. Mill (Utilitarianism) and Emmanuel Kant (Duty Ethic).  Saving Private Ryan, 

Virtue Ethics and Aristotle’s Golden Mean.

On the Waterfront Questions (Assignment)

Saving Private Ryan Questions (Assignment).

Participate in Discussion #6 (Assignment in Discussion Board).

Obtain signed drop form if you intend to drop.  Last Day to Drop Without a Failing Grade is May 3rd.

Review The Declaration of Independence.  United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (links in Weekly Folder).


Week #7

Finish, Proofread, and Submit your Critical Thinking in Ethics Paper (Common Assessment).  Due Friday at 5pm.

Porter, pp. 265-295, 296-316, 326-332.

Participate in Discussion #7 (Assignment in Discussion Board).

Topic:  Political Philosophy--The Individual and Society.  Born on the 4th of July, To Kill a Mockingbird.

View Final Exam Study Guide (optional but recommended).


Week #8

Reflection Paragraph--Ethics, Human Rights, and Political Philosophy (Assignment in Common Assessment).

Participate in Discussion #8 (Assignment in Discussion Board).

Final Exam Opens in Blackboard.  This is a timed (90 minute) exam due Thursday May 12th by 5pm.


Note:  Movie clips listed in this syllabus will be shown as time (or circumstances) allows.  It is possible that some will not be viewed in class due to time constraints or other issues.

Additional Information


            Last Day to Withdraw without a Failing Grade:     May 3rd, 2021

Syllabus Created on:

03/15/22 6:36 PM

Last Edited on:

03/15/22 6:40 PM