Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness
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Course Date: 30 September 2014 to 23 December 2014 (12 weeks)
This course will focus on big questions. You will learn how to ask them and how to answer them.
Caspar Hare has taught philosophy at MIT for ten years. He has written numerous articles on ethics, metaphysics and practical rationality, and two books. On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects (Princeton University Press 2009) is about the metaphysics of perspective. The Limits of Kindness (Oxford University Press 2013) is about normative ethics. He loves philosophy and hopes that you will too.
Ryan Doody is a PhD student in Philosophy & Linguistics at MIT. He has a degree in Mathematics and a degree in Philosophy from SUNY Brockport. He briefly studied at Oxford. He plays the banjo (poorly). He likes stand-up comedy and strong coffee. He is a moderate to strong swimmer.
This course has two goals. The first is to introduce you to the things that philosophers think about. We will look at some perennial philosophical problems: Is there a God? What is knowledge, and how do we get it? What is the place of our consciousness in the physical world? Do we have free will? How do we persist over time, as our bodily and psychological traits change? The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical reasoning and argumentative skills more generally. Along the way we will draw from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.