Phil 1115      Required and suggested readings...



Readings for Phil 1115    updated in February of 2010


Please check back for updated readings as we go along.  


Feb 3              Lec 17     Moral theory from the ancient Greeks to Kant

                                 * Lec 17 PowerPoint



Feb 10            Lec 18:  Moral theory from Bentham to Sartre:  What counts besides intention?

                          *Lec 18 PowerPoint    (Don't forget the Peter Singer / Stephen Colbert bit)                      

                          Jeremy Bentham: The History Guide

                          J.S. Mill: Utilitarianism   (SparkNotes)

                          TPM Philosopher of the month:  Peter Singer



                                          February 15 – 19  Study Week    Hmmm...



Feb 24              Lec 19:   Waking Life:  What does it all mean?

                            Waking Life:  IMDb

                            *Waking Life:  Philosophical films

                            Waking Life:  Wikipedia

                            Waking Life:  Movie transcript


March 3            Lec 20:   The nature of the Social contract:  How did we get here?

                                     * Lec 20 PowerPoint

                            TPM Philosopher of the month:  Thomas Hobbes

                            TPM Philosopher of the month:  John Locke

                            TPM Philosopher of the month:  Rousseau

                            TPM Philosopher of the month:  John Rawls


March 10          Lec 21:   Later answers to “What is Reality?”

                                   * Lec 21 PowerPoint

                                   *Lec 21 notes Part 1  What is reality?

                                    *Lec 21 notes Part 2  Later answers to 'what is reality'


 March 17          Lec 22:   The ‘Self’:  what and where can it be?

                                   * Lec 22 PowerPoint

                           * Lec 22 Readings

                           *Lec 22 notes   The Self


March 24          Lec 23:   Your decision:  whatever will we do?




March 31          Lec 24:    Transhumanism and What will the exam look like like

                          TPM online:  Philosophical Health Check update...

                                  Lec 24 PowerPoint   (Remember to check out some of the video links)








Everything below this line is from previous incarnations of PHIL 1115....still useful for the enthusiasts among you...

Anything marked  2k6  has been updated for this year.   


  1. Sept 11, 12   What is (and isn’t) philosophy?
    Lec 1 PowerPoint     2k6
    Banned Books and Censorship: Information and Resources
    Censored:  Books are Dangerous...they make you think...feel...wonder
    Philosophy  (from Wikipedia)

  2. Sept 18, 19   (xiii to 41) Joining the Great Conversation
    Lec 2 PowerPoint     2k6   
    Bertrand Russell: The Value of Philosophy
    Finding bits of the Great Conversation in the Library of Congress Classification system
    List of Book Lists  (compiled by Robert Teeter)
    Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    The Russell-Einstein Manifesto (against nuclear proliferation)  
    Learning to Read Philosophy   Brad Hadaway   Georgetown University

  3. Sept 25, 26   A bit of history: Part 1
    Lecture 3 PowerPoint     2k6
    On the differences between mythopoeic and philosophical thought  

    Early Greek Science ( Tufts University )

    Pre-Socratic Philosophers  (Overview)   Philosophy Pages 
    Pre-Socratics    with texts

    Heraclitus Fragments as interpreted by the World Pantheist Movement

    Heraclitus Discussion and Fragments

    Timeline of Western Philosophy

    Everything you need to know about the history of philosophy
    Plato   Philosophy Pages
    Plato: Science and Human Values   Rochester Institute of Technology
    Greek Philosophy:   Plato
    Works by Plato   MIT

    Aristotle:  The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Aristotle:  The Philosophy Pages
    Aristotle:   Science and Human Values    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Works by Aristotle   MIT
    Aristotle:   The Catholic Encyclopedia
    Greek Philosophy:   Hellenistic Philosophy
    The Hellenistic World    Philosophy Pages
    Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy
    Stoic Links

    Neo-Platonism  The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  4. Oct 2, 3         A bit of history: Part 2
    Lec 4 PowerPoint     2k6    
    What is the Enlightenment?: Immanuel Kant's Answer  
    Rene Descartes    The First Meditation
    The Renaissance    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    A longer, but more humourous, tour through the Renaissance
    Recommended:  More on Francis Bacon's Idols  (of the tribe, the cave, etc.)
    Rene Descartes    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Rene Descartes     The Philosophy Pages
    Rene Descartes     The Meditations   1641
    Karl Marx    The History Guide
    Marx and Engels   The Communist Manifesto  1848


  5. Oct 16, 17    (43 to 63)  The Meaning of Life
    Lec 5 PowerPoint    2k6
    Additional Ideas about the Meaning of Life (collected from various places)

  6. Oct 23, 24    (65 to 87) Whence God?
    Lec 6 PowerPoint      2k6  
    King James Bible 
    The Problem of Evil     Wikipedia
    Ontological Arguments  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Philosophy of Religion   A well-done amateur site
    Søren Kierkegaard (b.1813, d. 1855)
    Kierkegaard   (Philosophy Pages)
  7. Oct 30, 31       (87 to 105) Faith or reason?
    Lec 7 PowerPoint    2k6
  8. Nov 6, 7    Test 1   Sample Questions   2k6

  9. Nov 13, 14      (107 to 124) What is the nature of reality? ( Journal 1 due)
    Lec 9   2k6            
    Required Reading:      Book VII   The Republic    The Allegory of the Cave
    he Cave
    Why Call it Plato's Cave?
    Plato's Cave and the Matrix
    Out of Iraq and Plato's Cave (a modern dissident uses Plato's Cave to illustrate...

    Gorillas in our midst:  Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events

    vil Demons
  10. Nov 20, 21   Philosophy at the Movies    
    Required Reading:    How do I know I'm not a brain in a vat?
    Brains in Vats and the Evil Demon
    Rene Descartes     Meditation II

  11. Nov 27, 28    (124 to 143) Later answers to "What is reality?"
    Lec 11
    Spinoza   Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Spinoza Philosophy Pages   
    Leibniz    Wikipedia
    On the Monads of Leibniz   
    John Locke Philosophy Pages   
    John Locke Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    George Berkeley     Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy  
    David Hume      Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Immanuel Kant
    Immanuel Kant      Wikipedia   
  12. Dec 4, 5      Philosophy at the Movies


  13. Jan 8, 9      (145 to 181) How do we know what is "true"?
    Required:  Reading for Lecture 13 (to be printed for class)   2k6
    Lec 13
    Recommended:Plato's Metaphor of the Sun
    Plato's Divided Line         Wikipedia
    Recommended:Plato's Allegory of the Cave Wikipedia
    Plato's Epistemology in a Nutshell  Sophia Project Resources
    Tom Bridges Plato Lecture Notes
    Theatatus  by Plato
    Theory of Knowledge:   The Gettier Problem     Princeton University
    Edmund Gettier Paper:   Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?    
    Descartes:   The Meditations  John Veitch translation 1901
    John Locke:   An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

    George Berkeley:  A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

    David Hume      Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    What is Science?  Social Science Theory for Budding Theorists

  14. Jan 15, 16  (183 to 215) What is the 'self'?
    Lecture 14
    Lec 14 Self    Readings for class    2k6
    William James:  The Stream of Consciousness (1892)

  15. Jan 22, 23   (217 to 227) What is freedom?
    Lecture 15  

  16. Jan 29, 30   (227 to 241) Free Will or Determinism?     (Journal 2 due)
    Lecture 16  
    Reading for Lecture 16    (this is here from last year -- good quotations at the bottom)
    Free Will and Determinism  Jim Pryor's lecture (Princeton)
    Determinism    The Society of Natural Science
    Determinism      Wikipedia
    Fatalism    The Catholic Encyclopedia

    Elbow Room   Wikipedia
    Aristotle's Sea Battle   Philosopher's Zone  
    Historical introduction to Determinism and the Problem of Free Will   Wikiversity

  17. Feb 5, 6       (Test 2)
    Sample questions for test 2    2k6

  18. Feb 12, 13    (243 to 257) What is "the good life"?    
    Lecture 18 Power Point
    Required Reading:   Epictetus the Stoic    Sections 8 to 15


  19. Feb 26, 27   Philosophy at the Movies   Sling Blade handout

  20. Mar 5, 6    (258 to 275) Theories of morality       
    Lecture 20 Power Point      2k6
    Required:  Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

    Traditional Morality
    Kohlberg and Gilligan    

  21. Mar 12, 13    Philosophy at the Movies    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

  22. Mar 19, 20   (277 to 299) What is the nature of society?    (Journal 3 due) 
    Lec 22 Readings for class printout    2k6
    Lecture 22 PowerPoint
    Plato's Republic   The classic Jowett translation provided by MIT
    Aristotle Politics 
    Thomas Hobbes  Leviathan
    John Locke   The Second Treatise of Government
    Philosopher of the Month:  Rousseau   TPM
    J. S. Mill    On Liberty    also here
    John Rawls' theory   Justice as Fairness   
    The Enduring Significance of John Rawls by Martha Nussbaum
    Recommended   The Ring of Gyges   from Plato's The Republic

  23. Mar 26, 27    (301 to 323) Non-Western answers to some of these questions 
    Lecture 23

  24. April 2, 3    Catch up and review...
    Lecture 24   
    Sample final exam   

The blue links are pointers to articles and pages which are related (sometimes closely -- sometimes not so closely) to the philosophy we're studying or to the subjects which come up in discussion.   Many are offered as suggestions that will add to your understanding of difficult issues and ideas.  Take a look at them even if you don't have time to read them thoroughly.

Required readings are clearly marked by red text.  All the required readings should be done prior to the lecture for which they appear. 

The links marked "Powerpoint" include the quotations (particularly lengthy ones) and some of the other material shown in slides and overheads in each lecture.  They are provided here to support your notetaking and keep you from scribbling madly in class.  They do not outline the lecture in any way.  You may want to print these out for yourself prior to each lecture. 

The page numbers in parentheses refer to the Solomon textbook The Big Questions

Other required links point to web pages which support the lectures in some way.  Whatever is marked required, is fair game for class discussions, attendance questions and tests. 

Still others (such as that for lecture 13, for example) are specially prepared sets of short readings which should be printed out and brought to class on the appropriate day. 

This is a work in progress.  New links are added often.   In particular, check weekly for newly posted required reading.  


Below this line are items from last year.  I'm leaving it here for now for my information, but feel free to follow any links which look interesting.  Keep in mind, though, that last year's lectures were somewhat differently ordered.


I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru....
Truffaut's The Wild Child  (NYTimes movie review (1970))

The Wild Child Movie Review  Apolloguide  isolated, confined, wolf and wild children

Oliver Sacks'  "The River of Consciousness"

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate

Steven Pinker Page

The Meatrix

Everything you need to know about the history of philosophy

Zeno of Elea

Zeno's Coffeehouse

The Axial Period...

The Axial Period

Hanover Historical Texts Project

Presocratics  --  with texts (erraticimpact)

The Presocratics (Wikipedia)

Students shall not download.   Yeah, sure!

Turn On. Tune In. Download.

Heraclitus Fragments as interpreted by the World Pantheist Movement

Heraclitus Discussion and Fragments

Timeline of Western Philosophy

For other links to worthwhile reading, try some of my other pages:


The Unofficial Humanities Home Page

Connections to History and Philosophy

Connections to the Ancient World

The Underground Grammarian





Last Updated: April 1, 2010