General Philosophy I Syllabus

Overview: General Philosophy I is an introduction to many fundamental concepts and theories of philosophy. It is aimed at the novice, who has had little or no knowledge in philosophy prior to this course. Students taking this course are encouraged to think critically and to assume positions from different perspectives. It is hoped that the students are tolerant enough to assess and evaluate new ideas fairly and to learn from them. Topics covered in this course will include: (1) a little bit of logic, (2) some history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to Derrida, (3) concepts of God and the cosmological argument, (4) some ethics (the problem of evil, moral relativism, etc.), and (5) personal identity.

Professor: Prof. D
Aristotelian Professor of Theoretical Philosophy
University of No Where (aka University of Metaphysics)
The professor’s blog:

Course Requirements:

  • Reading: Students are required to read a wide range of selected materials available online from different sources and lectures to enhance their understanding of the topics covered in the course.
  • Class Discussion: Philosophy should not be passively learnt. It is highly advised that the students, after reading the materials thoroughly, either discuss the reading with the professor or ask questions relevant to it.
  • Three Essays: Students are not required to write these three essays though it is advised that they do so in order to apply what they have learnt throughout the course. The topics for the three essays will be determined much later during the course by the professor.
  • Individual Oral Presentation: The students should, but are not required to, choose a topic covered in the course and study it in detail with help from the professor. Then they will take a stance on an issue or problem within that topic and defend it. The viva voce will be assessed by the professor.
  • Midterm Exam and Final Exam: Again, it is not required that the students take the midterm and final exams, though if they are motivated and passionate about philosophy, they will take them. The midterm exam will cover roughly 50% of the entire syllabus and the final exam 100%.

Core Contents:

I. A Little Bit of Logic

  • Deduction
  • Induction
  • Fallacies

II. Some History of Philosophy

  • The Pre-Socratics
  • Socrates and Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Descartes
  • Spinoza
  • Kant
  • Hume
  • Nietzsche
  • Wittgenstein
  • Sartre
  • Derrida
  • History of Empiricism & Rationalism
  • History of Doubt (Philosophical Scepticism)
  • History of Philosophical Literature
  • History of Applied Philosophy

III. God

  • Arguments for God’s Existence
  • Religion & Science
  • Religion & Experience
  • Theism & Atheism
  • The Problem of Evil
  • Religious Language
  • New Ideas of God
  • Swinburne, ‘Why God Allows Evil’
  • Dostoevskian Concept of God
  • Postmodern View of Faith

IV. Ethics

  • Ethical scepticism
  • Moral Relativism
  • Normative Ethics
  • Religion and Ethics
  • Applied Ethics
  • Meta-ethics

V. Personal Identity

  • Know Thyself
  • Consciousness
  • Existence
  • Free Will & Determinism

Other Notes: Course materials are e-mailed regularly to the students. Notes on the reading can be found on the professor’s blog. To sign up for the course, simply fill in your name and e-mail address and post a comment. The course will start soon in the summer 2006.

Edit to add: I’ve been very busy with academic works. My apologies. I hope to start the course sometime in the near future.


60 Responses to “General Philosophy I Syllabus”

  1. maddog Says:

    comprehensive looking syllabus!
    I hope that you, unlike all other philosophers before you, will be able to ANSWER some of these imponderable questions that have stumped the greatest minds of all time!

  2. heaventree Says:

    Awaiting the logo with great anticipation.

    I notice you include Derrida in your lectures. I recommend the last chapter of Kimball’s Rape of the Masters for a hilarious review of the Meister: might make a great intro to the lecture.

    We also have a wordpress version now — Articles appear there first before migrating to blogger. (we have BIG troubles with blogger, but keep it because it works well with site-meter, which word press, alas, does not).

    As for mottos, i recommend something in Greek. The more osbtruse the better. 😉

  3. heaventree Says:

    PS regarding answers to questions, mad dog, we would like to refer you to the following post at the OTHER university:

  4. universityofnowhere Says:

    University of Heaven Tree? or University of Gawain? 😀

    What in Greek? As for Latin, UNOW’s chosen ‘ipsa scientia potestas est’. What do you think of this motto? 🙂

  5. heaventree Says:

    Let me go to bubble fish to find out what it means…

    To apply to host the next phil carnival (it is a great idea, it does wonders to your traffic) go to

  6. universityofnowhere Says:

    It means ‘knowledge itself is power’. 😉

  7. Quitejaded Says:

    I want to take it…

  8. Bob Marley Says:

    Hmm, an opportunity to attend a university in the summer… Sounds fun 😀

  9. Ryan Hinely Says:

    Under section III: God, you might include a chapter on gnosticism.

  10. emirsan Says:

    universityofnowhere Says:

    March 18th, 2006 at 4:37 am e

    It means ‘knowledge itself is power’.


    P.S. may i enroll in your general philosophy 1 class? and concurrently take philosophy of language or any class you offer in chomskyan “generative” and “universal” grammar?

  11. universityofnowhere Says:

    Hi Hinely,

    Your suggestion is much apprecited. I will try to include some gnosticism into one of my lectures on dualism (surely gnosticism gave birth to radical dualism and mediated dualism!)

  12. universityofnowhere Says:

    Hi emirsan,

    Why is knowing not enough? In what sense is it not enough?

    You could concurrently enroll in both General Philosophy I and Philosophy of Language. Just give me some time to devise a syllabus for Philosophy of Language course.

  13. laxman Says:

    just what i was looking for!!

  14. nikhil Says:

    i need it!

  15. runner03 Says:

    fantastic… can’t wait to get started

  16. Yasha Says:

    Such a great opportunity. =)

  17. vaiuuii Says:

    philosophy should not be an end in itself; life is.

  18. slant of light Says:

    wow. this looks very promising. eagerly anticipating first email…

  19. Julie Says:

    I like the course outline. Very interested.

  20. JohnMac Says:

    Sign me up! This is the kind of stuff that interests me. I thought we would have covered it in the IB Theory of Knowledge course, and we should have, but we didn’t. Except for the early half of the History.

  21. Im-Kay Says:

    Nothing like some philosophy to give you a serious headache in summer. Sign me up!

  22. Matt Says:

    I’d love to sign up. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the logical positivist movement, but not any real philosophy.

  23. Lina Says:

    Let’s philosophize! This summer is going to be awesome. Sign me up please.

  24. Lauren Says:

    Completely agree with JohnMac on the IB Theory of Knowledge class; this is what I thought we were going to learn (and probably should have). How do I sign up?

  25. AndrewMed Says:

    Sign me up. I can’t wait to start.

  26. Servente Says:

    Sign me up. 🙂

  27. Dave Says:

    Please sign me up

  28. methadonepretty Says:

    not to sound too repetitive, but sign me up! 🙂

  29. heaventree Says:

    Hey, IB, “knowledge is power” sounds utilitarian to me. We pursue knowledge not for power, but for the pleasure of pursuing it. over at the Gawain cafe, anyway.

  30. Loulay Says:

    I’d love to join, hope I’m not too late, don’t know when your summer starts. I’m in oz 🙂

  31. Dylan Lowe Says:

    Just send me the course as requested.

  32. Dylan Lowe Says:

    Send me the course.

  33. T. Gopinathan Says:

    A fascinating mix, God and Self included.

    I want to join.

  34. Nasser Says:

    hope it’ll answer the deeper questions

  35. Abby Says:

    Aye, is it too late to sign up? If not, send me the course. Please and thank you.

  36. Atsutane Hachirobei Says:

    this sounds interesting!!! count me in 2!

  37. Rohit Rai Says:

    Amazing looking course, Sign me up!

  38. abbyroad Says:


  39. murtaza Says:

    yaa i wanted something like this course ever since i read Sophie’s World but that was offered needed a lot of time which as a sole responsible of my business i dont how do i enroll?

  40. Gopinathan Says:

    Isn’t summer of 2006 yet started over there?

    When is the course going to begin?

  41. Gopinathan Says:

    Isn’t is summer of 2006 yet? When is the course going to start?

  42. Brendan Says:

    I want in, if it’s not too late!

  43. Georgia Says:

    I don’t see anything posted, so I guess the class hasn’t started yet. Can I join?

  44. Blunderov Says:

    A philosophile in need of a structured approach. My project is struggle. Hope I’m in time.*
    Best regards.

    *”He’s murdering the time! Off with his head!” ~ Red Queen

  45. suyen Says:

    sign me up ya’ll r off the chain!!!!!! 🙂 :^6

  46. dr sethi Says:

    hey please sign me up. I wanna learn more abt philosophy.

  47. Philosophist Says:

    Oh dear… Summer 2006… well the beginning of Summer is relative to one’s place on the globe. I request to join the course, because, hmm… the Professor did not specify precisely WHICH Summer 2006 he was referring to.

  48. dave rosen Says:

    Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.

    —Plato, Theaetetus, 155

    I definitely have a sense of wonder, and a love of wisdom. All I need now is a good philosopher to learn from. I do hope your online course starts soon.

  49. Flávio Santos Says:

    Interesting! I hope it starts soon!

  50. Dr Ahmad Imtanan Kashif Says:

    Please sign me up for the course

  51. Dwayne Says:

    Hi people! Great job! Please also visit my site:

  52. Salgado Says:

    Seems like this site its dead 😦 and the course will not be given to us, i hope to be wrong

  53. Vino Says:

    Please sign me up; i hope it’s not too late to join the course?

  54. Rose Says:

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  57. Lord Zealot Says:

    In the name and will of lord Mu (Blessed be his name) i declare all philosophy flawed and all philosphers ignorent

    Praise lord Mu ! (BBHN)

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  59. joel villamor Says:

    philosphy is an unrecorded westdom but tangeble only by expereince and tha is life itself…

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