P hil 111 005 i ntroduction to p hilosophy
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P HIL. 111-005 : I NTRODUCTION to P HILOSOPHY. Philosophy. [email protected] Before the next class, send me an email with the following: Name Year in school Where you’re from Previous philosophy classes, if any Anything else I should know.

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P hil 111 005 i ntroduction to p hilosophy


P hil 111 005 i ntroduction to p hilosophy1


* * *

Instructor: Ben Theis

Office Hours: Thu. 4:00-6:00

E-mail: [email protected]

Course Web Site: http://www.unc.edu/~theis/phil32/

* * *


Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality.

(The study of how things really are)

Some metaphysical questions:

  • Do tables and chairs exist?

  • Does god exist? If so, what is he/she/it really like?

  • What is the nature of the self?

  • Do we have free will?


The study of the nature of knowledge.

Some epistemological questions:

  • What is knowledge?

  • Does anyone know anything at all?

  • What does it take for a belief to be justified?

Guiding question
Guiding Question

What can we know?

  • What is knowledge?

  • Can we know whether God exists?

  • Can we know what happens to us after we die?

Critical reading a partial list
Critical Reading (A Partial List)

  • Read S L O W L Y

  • Read more than once

  • Read aggressively

  • Write comments and questions in margins

  • Circle words that you don’t know and look them up

Critical reading continued
Critical Reading Continued

  • Identify the main ideas, supporting arguments, and supporting examples

  • Try to draw connections between one part of the text and another

  • Summarize the argument when you are done to see what you still don’t understand

  • Reflect about what the author is saying: Ask yourself if you agree with the author.  If you don’t, figure out why.


An argument is a set of sentences one of which (the conclusion) is taken to be supported by the remaining sentences (the premises).


Premise 1 Premise 2 Premise 3 …

----------------- Conclusion


I wear glasses.

I am a philosophy instructor.


Therefore, at least one philosophy instructor wears glasses.


I am the star player on Carolina’s basketball team.

Everyone on the Carolina’s basketball team is over 7 feet tall.


Therefore, I am over 7 feet tall.


If my battery is dead, then my car won’t start.

My car won’t start.


Therefore, my battery is dead.


An argument is valid if and only if it isimpossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.


An argument issound if and only if it is validandthe premises are all true.

Two ways for an argument to be bad
Two ways for an argument to be bad:

  • One or more of the premises could be false.

  • The premises could fail to support the conclusion. (There could be some gap in the reasoning.)