Phil 2010, Great Questions of Philosophy

Spring 2009
2:30-3:45 T Th, Aderhold 312, CRN 12880

Instructor: Tim O'Keefe
Office: 1105 34 Peachtree
Phone: (404) 413-6108
e-mail: tokeefe AT gsu DOT edu
Office Hours: 3:50-5:20 T Th, and by appointment (tentative)

Supplemental Instruction Leader: Cindy Phillips,
SIL session: 1:25-2:25 T Th Aderhold 203, SIL OH after class Tuesdays 1149 34 Peachtree

Course Description and Objectives:

This course will be a topical introduction to philosophy. We will explore issues in metaphysics (what exists? and what is its nature?), epistemology (what can we know? and how can we know it?), and ethics (what actions are moral or immoral? and what is the good life for a human being?). We will concentrate on developing the skills needed in order to understand the arguments offered by the philosophers we study, to evaluate those arguments, and to formulate cogent philosophical arguments of our own. After a brief introduction to what arguments are and how to evaluate them, we will examine the following questions:

Three exams 75%
Final paper 25%

The exams will consist mainly of essay questions I will give you before the exam, plus a few short answers.

We will be using WebCt to host a class bulletin board. There will be two forums on the class bulletin board. In the main forum, please post any questions you have about the reading assignment for that day, or about points from previous classes. I will look over it before class, and knowing what questions you have will help me prepare more effective lectures. The main forum will also be used for on-line discussion and evaluation of the readings. Please feel free to offer your own thoughts about the philosophers we're studying, and to respond to the posts of others. In the secondforum, I will post my own (rough) class notes. By the end of the semester, you should have posted at least ten messages on the class bulletin board. You can access the class bulletin board by going to and clicking on the link 'log on to my WebCt.'

Announcements, copies of this syllabus, links to the bulletin board, regularly updated reading assignments, and a trove of other information are available from the course web site, at

Important Dates (subject to change):

February 12: First exam
April 2: Second Exam
April 21: Final paper due
Tuesday April 28 2:45 p.m.: Final Exam

You are responsible for attending class regularly. If you know beforehand that you'll be unable to attend a class, let me know so that we can arrange for you to receive notes, discuss the material, or do anything else necessary so that you do not fall behind. If you miss a class without notification, you will still be responsible for knowing course content discussed in the class that day, learning about any announcements made in class, etc.

Return to the Great Questions of Philosophy web site.
Return to the course materials index.
Return to Tim O'Keefe's homepage.