Course Summary

Introduction to Western Philosophy

Unit 1 - About Philosophy

What philosophy is; why we should study it; the main areas of philosophical study; the relationship between philosophy and religion and philosophy and science.

Unit 2 - In The Beginning

The beginnings of Western philosophy; some problems and questions of the ancient Greeks; the life and death of Socrates; the Sophists.

Unit 3 - Two Theories Of Knowledge

Plato's 'Forms', the Cave and levels of reality, idealism; the philosophical naturalism of Aristotle.

Unit 4 - Epistemology - What Is Knowledge

The two major approaches to knowledge: rationalism and empiricism; the views of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume.

Unit 5 - The Question Of Identity - Who Am I ?

Major theories in the 'mind-body' debate - materialism, behaviourism, idealism, dualism, science.

Unit 6 - Philosophy Of Religion

Nature of 'God'; arguments for the existence of God; arguments against the existence of God; the argument from religious experience; miracles; faith; Pascal's Wager.

Unit 7 - Ethics: What Is It To Live A Moral Life

What it is to live a moral life; facts and values; the language we use; free will and determinism; absolutism and relativism; some ethical theories.

Unit 8 - The Meaning Of Life

Some answers to questions about meaning and purpose; religious and atheistic existentialism.