The course will provide an introduction to a range of key issues and debates in Philosophy. In particular, we will be looking at issues in epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and metaphysics (questions concerning the ultimate nature reality). We will be investigating questions such as: Is it ever possible to have certain knowledge about ourselves and the world around us? How does knowledge come about? Is the ultimate nature of reality something that we can have access to? What is the nature of that ultimate reality? Is it purely physical or must it really be something mental or spiritual? Is reason the defining characteristics or humans or are we really creatures of instinct and habit?
We will be exploring these question and others through an examination of the work of the Ancient Greek philosophers in the first half of the term. Here we will look at the some Pre-Socratic philosophers and especially Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. In the second half of the term we will explore the debates within the European Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th Centuries, looking at the contributions of Rene Descartes and David Hume in particular.
(This course was very introductory… it skips two weeks where a colleague would teach two classes on Aristotle.)