Skip to Main Content


Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: PHIL 201
Course Title: Introduction to Western Philosophy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Exploration of problems and methods of philosophical inquiry, including such topics as belief systems, values and meaning; theories of nature, God and humankind; the nature of knowledge and its acquisition. G.E.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall and Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

From Plato to Derrida
By Baird, Forrest and Walter Kaufmann (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - Historical Approach Text
Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
By Bowie, Michaels, and Solomon (Wadsworth)
Category/Comments - Topical Approach Text
Course Objectives
  • To be familiar with the matter and method of western philosophy.
  • To understand fundamental questions in philosophy, some classic answers, and reasons for believing these answers.
    Measurable Learning Outcomes:
  • Read classic philosophical prose for critical understanding.
  • Describe the classic issues and problems in western philosophy.
  • Formalize sophisticated philosophical arguments.
  • Analyze and provide criticisms of sophisticated philosophical arguments.
  • Describe the method of western philosophy.
    Topical Outline:

    Historical Outline: • Mythos kai logos: Philosophy as adventure (ancient thought) • The Birth of reason (presocratics) • Socrates and Plato • Aristotle • Hellenism • Reason in the service of faith (Medieval philosophy from Augustine to William of Occam) • Revolution in science • The Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Locke) • David Hume • The limits of pure reason (Kant) • The last system (Hegel, Kierkegaard) • Philosophy changing the world (Feuerbach, Marx, Lenin) • Positivism and analytic philosophy • Wittgenstein • Nietzsche and Zarathustra • Existentialism • Phenomenology (Husserl to Heidegger) Topical Outline: • Existence of God • Mind and body • Thinking and knowing • Reality and illusion


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Mark Price Date: March 8, 2006
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

    Office of Academic Affairs