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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(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

On Campus 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 in class.  Weekly assignments 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 assignments are due at the beginning of the class period (7pm).  Assignments submitted after the beginning of the class period will be considered late.

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 inPhilosophy.
  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. Regular attendance and class participation.  Attendance will be recorded through Blackboard.  Absences may be excused if they are the result of illness, official Amarillo College business, or personal emergencies.It is your responsibility to talk with the instructor about this.
  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), and class notes. Reading the assigned portions of the textbooks before coming to class is necessary for the successful completion of this course.
  3. The successful completion of three examinations, including the final examination. See the course outline in the syllabus for the dates of these exams.
  4. In addition, students must complete the Critical Thinking in Ethics assignment (essay) in Common Assessment, and the Research Paper (Option 1 or Option 2).:
  5. No extra credit is available for this eight week course.
  6. Tutoring is required for students who score below 70% on an exam or writing assignment.  Student's will receive a tutoring referral form from the instructor and must attend tutoring before the next assigned work will be accepted for grading.

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
 Research Paper            20% 0-59                     F


Regular attendance and classroom participation are required.  Your instructor will explain attendance requirements and exceptions in the first class session (remote).  Students who do not "attend" either of the first two classes will be administratively dropped from the course.



Part I: Introduction

Jan 18  Class #1         

 Porter, preface and Introduction

Introduction/Course Policies and Requirements.  Review Research Paper Options.

Maximizing Your Course Syllabus, Textbook, Home Page, Lecture Notes, Films and Discussions

What is Philosophy, and Who is a Philosopher?                                                                                

The Branches of Philosophy.  Why Study Philosophy through Film?

Defining Moment Assignment (Common Assessment)


Part II: Eastern Philosophy                                                                                                              

Jan 20   Class #2

Defining Moment Paragraph(Common Assessment) Due

Confucius, Hindu Scripture and Philosophy, and The Buddha’s Deer Park Sermon      

“Bhagavad Gita” and “Deer Park Sermon”

Receive Confucius Quotes Assignment (Due next class).

View Groundhog Day.  

            Exam #1 in Blackboard-- (Due Jan 27).    


Part III: Western Philosophy

Jan 25  Class #3                      

Confucius Quotes Assignment Due

Porter, pp. 11-17, 51-55.

View and Discuss Groundhog Day.  Review Critical Thinking Assignment in Common Assessment.


Jan 27  Class #4

Exam #1 Due

Epistemology: Obtaining Reliable Knowledge—Plato’s Republic

View The Truman Show.

Porter, pp. 18-27

Porter, pp. 28-41


Feb. 1  Class #5 

Empiricism, Rationalism, The Allegory of Plato’s Cave

View and Discuss The Truman Show.

Porter pp. 77-88, 109-119


Feb. 3  Class #6

Metaphysics:  The Nature of Reality

The Truman Show questions due

Porter, pp. 125-133.

View and Discuss 2001, A Space Odyssey and The Matrix


Feb. 8 Class #7

The Matrix questions due.

Metaphysics.  The Philosophy of Religion.  Thomas Aquinas—Five Ways.

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

View Contact.


Feb. 10  Class #8

View and Discuss Contact.

The Philosophy of Religion.  C.S. Lewis.

Porter, pp. 227-235, 251-259.

View Exam #2 Study Guide (Optional but recommended--due next class period through Blackboard if you choose to complete it).


Feb. 15  Class #9

          Exam #2 Study Guide (Optional) Due @ 7pm through Blackboard.

          Exam #2 in Class


Feb. 17  Class #10

Contact questions due

Intro to Ethics--ethical dilemmas.  Why study ethics?

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

View and/or Discuss Crash, Vertical Limit, and On the Waterfront.


Feb. 22  Class #11 

On the Waterfront questions due

Ethics:  Ways of Viewing Moral Behavior.  Utilitarianism and Duty Ethic

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

View and Discuss Saving Private Ryan.


Feb. 24  Class #12 

Obtain signed drop form if you intend to drop.  Last Day to Drop Without a Failing Grade is Tuesday March 1, 2022.

Virtue Ethics and Aristotle’s Golden Mean

Read:  The Declaration of Independence.  United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Group Discussion on Ethics, Human Rights, and Pol. Philosophy--Paragraph Writing Assignment (Common Assessment) due class#15.


March 1  Class #13

No Class Tonight.   Saving Private Ryan Questions Due by 7pm.  Finish, Proofread, and Submit your Research Project.. Papers are due by 11:59pm tonight


March 3 Class #14

Critical Thinking in Ethics (Short Essay in Common Assessment) due.

Political Philosophy:  The Individual and Society

Porter, pp. 265-295.

Discuss Born on the 4th of July.


March 8  Class #15

Group Discussion Assignment (in Common Assessment) due.

John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and American Democracy  Basic Human Rights.  Aristotle.  Social Contract. 

Porter pg. 326-332.

View and Discuss To Kill a Mockingbird.

View Final Exam Study Guide (Optional--Due Class #16 @ 7pm through Blackboard).


March 10  Class #16

Final Exam in Class.  Optional Final Exam Study Guide Due.


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:     March 1, 2022

Syllabus Created on:

10/01/22 4:17 PM

Last Edited on:

10/01/22 4:17 PM