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PHIL 1030 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PHIL 1030 - Introduction to Philosophy

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This is a general introductory course designed to familiarize the student with the basics of philosophical inquiry. In this course, we will discuss the big questions of life while looking at some of the answers the great philosophers of the Western tradition have devised. These discussions will take place in two formats, the Cohort and the General Discussion. Cohort Discussions are small group discussions that take place with minimal teacher interaction: it is here where students can interact with one another in a more informal way just as they might discuss important ideas in a coffee shop, a dormitory, or in the hallway between classes (except for grades). General Discussions are more formal full-class discussions as would occur in a formal land-based classroom setting. Private Discussions are between you and your teacher may take place through email.

Examples of the kinds of questions we will discuss are the following: What gives life meaning? How should one live a good life? How do we know what we think we know? Can we know anything? Is it possible logically to prove God's existence? Why should we obey authority? What is the most just way to distribute goods in a society? Is there a separation between the body and mind? In other words, we will be investigating the fundamental questions pertaining to reality, truth, freedom, the nature of humankind, the existence of God, and social/political theory 

Course Outcomes:

A. Demonstrate a basic understanding of philosophy.
B. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the various branches of philosophy.
C. Demonstrate a better sense of the questions/problems that have occupied famous philosophers during the last twenty-five centuries.
D. Demonstrate knowledge of the lives and basic ideas of famous philosophers.
E. Demonstrate an enhanced ability to think critically about these philosophical questions/problems.
F. Demonstrate an enhanced ability to think critically about various other philosophical issues.
G. Demonstrate an enhanced ability to articulate ideas about philosophical issues. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

Is Philosophy Possible?
Truth is Beauty; Beauty is Truth
Descartes' Rationalist Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge) Empiricist Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge)
Ontology (Theory of Being)
The Religious Existentialist Philosophy of Kierkegaard Nietzsche
Philosophy of Freedom
Ethical Theories
Critique of Ethical Theories
Political Philosophy (Abbreviated in Summer Sessions)

Political and Social Philosophy (Abbreviated in Summer Sessions) 

Specific Course Requirements:

The word processing requirement for the course is Microsoft Word with the ability to make (and keep track of) corrections. Specific software requirements for this course include Windows Media Player. Also: Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word, QuickTime, and MP3 Player).

Students might want to print the syllabus out so they have a convenient hard copy.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

The Republic of Plato (and Interpretive Essay by Allan Bloom), Basic Books, Originally published in 1968; any edition is fine. We will only be reading Chapter 7; you can find this book Used at Alibris, ISBN 0-465- 06934-7. Selections are also available online (use Google to find an online source for The Republic.)

The Phaedo by Plato, Students may read any version of this Platonic dialogue, and can find this book used at Alibris. This dialogue is also available within the course on a website. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:


Tests will be unsupervised, open-book tests. 

Grading Procedures:


Grading Scale:





Below 60--F 

Assignments and Projects:

SEE ASSIGNMENTS in "Contents" in D2L for detailed directions on Philosophy Project paper. General Help for Papers:

IT IS A REQUIREMENT THAT STUDENTS CONTACT the Smarthinking Tutor (Directions in the Course Content) and get at least three reviews of their rough draft papers! (These rough drafts are graded for timeliness but not content, so, be sure to take advantage of them! Your teacher is as interested in your process as your final results!)


Class Participation:


Students must communicate with other students AND with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course email as well as Professor Announcements frequently, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events IN BOTH the general and cohort discussions.
Please note that Discussions close at midnight on Saturday nights. It is a good idea--for the best grades-- to post early in the week (Sunday is best), so there is plenty of time to read discussions and make follow- up postings during the rest of the week. 

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on January 16, 2018