Brandeis University, Philosophy Department
Fall 2004
Brandeis University Web Stite

Philosophy 1A

Introduction to Philosophy

Professor Andreas Teuber
Prof. Teuber

FALL 2004

Course Description

  1. The course will cover a number of central topics in philosophy through the writings of contemporary and major Western philosophers as well as through the close study of several fundamental issues which have arisen in the course of the developmnent of the Western philosophical tradtion.
  2. Readings will be drawn from the writings of major philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, Kant, Mill, and Russell as well as prominent contemporary philosophers such as Peter Singer, Onora O'Neill, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, J. L. Mackie, Bernard Williams, Elizabeth Anscombe and Thomas Nagel.
  3. Topics will include arguments for the existence of God, the value of religious belief and faith, the problem of evil, the nature of human knowledge, causation and scientific explanation, perception and illusion, the nature of consciousness, minds, brains, and machines, personal identity and survival after death, freedom and determinism, morality and the good life, moral relativism, justice and the meaning of life, to name a few.
  4. The course is designed to be an introduction to Western philosophy and as such it is not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive. The classic materials are selected to provide a good base for understanding central debates within the field.
  5. The course is divided into four sections and each section is devoted to a key area within Western philosophy, in the areas, for example, of epistemology, general metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and ethics:





  6. In its aim and format the course is more an invitation to philosophy than an introduction. Introductions seek to map out a territory or lay the groundwork for more detailed study. There will be some of that here, but insofar as invitations beckon and introductions point, the course beckons students to the study of philosophy rather than points the way.

The course meets on Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:10 PM to 1:30 PM., in POLLACK AUDITORIUM next to the ROSE ART MUSEUM, See Campus Map.

In addition, you will have the option of meeting in smaller discussion sections each week. The section times will be posted. Sections will not be required, but will be avaialble for any- and everyone who wishes to seize the opportunity to explore in greater depth some of the matters to which we shall put our minds in this course.

The FINAL EXAM QUESTION from last Summer when I taught the class in a "trial run" of sorts at Harvard is still online. You may wish to take a peek at it since it will give you some idea of the type of questions philosophers ask in the area of applied ethics. The Final Paper for the next time Introduction to Philosophy is taught will be different, yet similar. A STUDY GUIDE for the FINAL was also created and can also still be found ONLINE.

So, too, many of the HANDOUTS and LECTURE NOTES are still ONLINE and you may wish to take a look at these, since they, too, will give you some idea of the sorts of things that the INTRO class shall tackle during the Fall.

Also on the HANDOUTS page you will find links to various PHILOSOPHY RESOURCES "out there" on the world-wide web as well as some discussion about THE VALUE OF PHILOSOPHY in the 21st century.

A section on PHILOSOPHY GOES TO THE MOVIES is also linked to the HANDOUTS page. where you will find essays on such films as THE MATRIX and TWELVE MONKEYS and BLADE RUNNER

So, too, you will find sections on PHILOSOPHICAL PUZZLES, AND JOKES ("Yes. philosophers CAN be funny!") and PHILOSOPHY SONGS, including such down-loadable original "hits" as "I've been looking for Substance" ( You Are My Everything) from the philosophy band, "THE MONADS."

Also on the HANDOUTS page are GUIDES TO READING AND WRITING PHILOSOPHY as well as a section with links to PHILOSOPHY TEXTS ONLINE where there is a link to a page with links to CLASSICS OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY that you may, just may, discover to be of some use.

Last Summer's Reading for the course, broken down day by day, is also still Online with links to biogaphies of prominent Western philosophers as well as philosophy texts that are available on the Web and through the Harvard and Brandeis Library Systems. Last summer's reading follows a trajectory that will be similar to the path we will take this Fall in the INTRO class, although the basic TEXT will be different from the one used in the Summer.

Syllabus Handouts and Lecture Notes
Section Times Class Discussion

Contact Info

The course is taught by ANDREAS TEUBER. You may wish to take a look at the SHORT BIOGRAPHY and the CV which are online to glean some idea of who the instructor is. During the Fall you can reach me as follows:

Office hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 3:10-4:30 PM
and by appointment. Office Phone: 1-781-736-2787
Email: <>

Feel free to drop in for any reason any time during my office hours. (If I'm already speaking with someone, let me know that you're waiting.) I am happy to talk about paper ideas, continue class discussion, and so on. If these hours are inconvenient, we can arrange to meet by appointment. Or you can email me. I read my email several times each day and usually respond right away.

The teaching fellows for the course are
Dan Breen - Email: <> and
Sarah Ledlie Loring - Email: <>



[PHIL 1A] [Syllabus] [Handouts] [Home] [Bio] [CV] [PHIL DEPT.] [E-MAIL]

Send comments to: Andreas Teuber
Last Modified: 08/26/04
Instructor's Toolkit
Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College