In this course, you’ll learn how to think critically about abstract topics like the nature of God, morality, personal identity, and existence. In particular, you’ll evaluate arguments that attempt to answer the following questions:
1. Does God exist?
2. What should I do in my life, most generally?
3. What kind of thing am I?
4. What exists, most generally?
Unlike your grades in other courses, your grade in this course will not depend on whether you can provide the correct answers to these questions. Instead, it will mostly depend on your ability to provide and justify the answers that you take to be the most plausible in light of rigorous argumentation. This should not lead us to believe that there are no correct answers in philosophy more generally. Instead, it should lead us to believe that the correct answers are difficult to find and that disagreements are a natural consequence of this.
The first goal of this course is to introduce you to, and hopefully to incite your lifelong interest in, the practice of philosophy. The second goal of this course is to make certain intellectual tools available to you. These tools help us think more critically, independently, and fairly. The ultimate goal of this course, therefore, is not for you to learn that anything is true; it's for you to learn how to think with more clarity and confidence about any topic you might encounter whatsoever.
Copyright © 2023 Alex Rausch