David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Fall 2016 Phl 1012 Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL 1012-002/30414 Dr. David Hildebrand,

CU Denver, Fall 2016 

Tu/Th, 12:30PM-01:45 PM   

Room: Plaza M-108


One reason philosophy fascinates people is that investigates everyday life in ways that are deeper and more systematic than most other disciplines. Philosophy often changes the way you look at something, forever. This class introduces philosophy in three different sections. Section 1 is called "Philosophy and Life" and here we'll investigate what philosophers do by examining philosophy's ancient roots in Plato and Aristotle. A key concern will be the relation of philosophy to the living of a good (or ethical) life. Section 2 of the class will raise the question, "What is real?". Here, we'll examine questions about the nature of the world and what we can know about it by looking at Descartes and Berkeley. Finally, in Section 3 of the class, we'll investigate a subject that many people have opinions about but often don't investigate philosophically -- "What is art?" Here we'll look at puzzles about art as well as thinkers such as Clive Bell, Leo Tolstoy, and George Dickie.


Required Texts: 3 books and 1 website

Books: at Tivoli Station (Auraria campus bookstore):

The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato, GMA Grube, translator (Hackett )

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (Fourth Edition) by René Descartes, Translated by Donald A. Cress; Hackett: 1998 - 128 pp.

Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, by George Berkeley, Edited by: Dale Jacquette; Broadview Press, 2012; ISBN: 9781551119885; 1551119889


WEBSITE: Course CANVAS site: other required readings are posted here: https://ucdenver.instructure.com




Canvas/Website: There are two online sites related to this course. Familiarize yourself with them right away. Both will offer you access to information about the course such as study questions, announcements, grades, extra credit assignments. 

The first and most important one is our course Canvas site: https://ucdenver.instructure.com. On this page are LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS. Please make sure you enroll right at the beginning of the class.

The second site is my home page at http://davidhildebrand.org. Here there are a variety of general study tips and resources in philosophy.



 Interpretive skills: Students engage with texts to develop supported meaningful readings.  These activities are typical of “critical thinking.”

 Context awareness:  Students identify the cultural, historical, and intellectual influences on a text.

 Ethical thinking: Students recognize various ethical situations and ideas, and distinguish viable ethical positions from simple opinions or self-interest.  These activities are typical of “critical thinking.”

 Verbalization. Be able to summarize a philosophical position, without notes, using your own words. Be able to criticize a position this way.  These activities are typical of “critical thinking.”

 Conversation and Debate. Be able to discuss issues in a focused and informed way with others in the class. This will involve listening closely to their points, then responding in a way that moves the discussion ahead.  These activities are typical of “critical thinking.” 


Time Management and Expectations about Reading/Understanding Material

Time Per Week: Many of us have responsibilities that compete with this class. Though I am sympathetic, these will not excuse poor attendance or late work. Expect to spend approximately 5 hours per week on this course, out of class. If short term, non-emergency illnesses or other contingencies create problems with attending class or completing assignments in a timely manner, students must notify me before class time by leaving a message on my office telephone. I will discuss the matter with students during the next class meeting or schedule an appointment at that time if needed. I will only consider an extension if I receive notification prior to the class or deadline except in cases of documented emergency.


Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Your well-prepared participation is crucial for a successful class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading. 


Very important: please set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.


Philosophy needs to be re-read. Unlike some fiction, philosophy needs to be read slowly and deliberately. Don't rush through it -- think about issues as they are raised, going back and forth if necessary. And if you're burning out, take a break. You will find that a text can seem quite different the second time through. Thomas Kuhn, a noted philosopher, wrote


When reading the works of an important thinker, look first for the apparent absurdities in the text and ask yourself how a sensible person could have written them. When you find an answer, ...when these passages make sense, then you may find that more central passages, ones you previously thought you understood, have changed their meaning. (from The Essential Tension, p. xii.)


Nietzsche wrote, 

“In the midst of an age of 'work', that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to 'get everything done' at once, including every old or new book: -this art [philosophy] does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers.” (Dawn, Preface)

Course Requirements/Evaluation: 1000 total points can be accumulated for this course

 Participation 150 points (active, engaged, verbal and written inquiry; see below)

Short writings (6) 150 points (worth up to 25 each; 3 due by Oct. 18; rest due by Dec. 8) 

Exam 1  200 points (covering material up to first exam) on September 20.

 Exam 2  200 points (covering material after first exam) on November 17.

 Exam 3 (take-home)  300 points (covering entire semester) due December 13.


Attendance: Attendance is required. Two unexcused absences over the course of the semester are permitted without penalty. An excusable absence is a medical illness or emergency that is completely unavoidable. It is the student's responsibility to talk to me about excusable absences ASAP after the absence. Each additional absence will lower your final course grade, approximately 30 points per absence. (E.g., having a total three unexcused absences would lower a cumulative 900 point course average by 30 points to 870—effectively a reduction from an A- to a B+—and so forth.)


Participation (150 points): Active participation is part of the class grade. This means making oral contributions to the collective learning experience of the class as a whole: asking pertinent questions, answering questions correctly or, at least, provocatively, making insightful observations, presentation of your short papers in class, and your participation in any group work. Occasionally, there will be days I call “seminar days” that will be devoted to discussion, so there will be lots of opportunities on that day to participate. Shyness is not an excuse—oral participation is part of your evaluation. You can also demonstrate “active” participation in other ways: informed dialogue, presentation of your short papers in class, and your participation in any group work.

Short Writings (6 total; 3 by Oct. 18, rest by December 8) 150 points

The purpose of these assignments is to help you clarify your understanding of the readings and to help you think critically about the issues. You will be expected to present them in class. Follow these instructions carefully, please.

What to write on short/critical reaction papers:

Short papers should be: one-page, typewritten reactions or questions about some specific issue which you find compelling in the readings. Your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. (I.e., no book reports, please.) Rather, you must try to raise a question or discuss some original insight. You may use these papers to demonstrate your application of a concept/idea in the readings to an experience you have making or experiencing art, but the connection to the reading must be significant (and not a mere "jumping off" point. See my davidhildebrand.org website link called: "Writing short, critical papers" for further hints about how to write a good paper. 

The first paragraph should state in 1-2 sentences a summary of what the paper is about.

 • Only papers written on a reading or topic that will be discussed in the class immediately coming up are acceptable.

When to write short papers:

You must do 6 critical papers total 

You may not hand in more than one paper on the same date. 

THREE papers must be done by the course midpoint, October 18. Students who have not done 3 papers by this point will only be permitted to do 3 more papers and will get 0 for the ones not done.

You must come to class for a paper to be accepted.

Grading on short papers

Grade: This will be a "graded" assignment only in a loose sense; in other words it will be either S-satisfactory (full credit or 25 points) or U-unsatisfactory (half credit or 12.5 points). A zero (0) will be awarded if nothing (or next to nothing) is turned in on time.

TWO MAKE-UPS: If you get a Unsatisfactory on up to two papers, you may revise and resubmit them. Use the rubric below and the comments on the paper as a guide to what needs improvement or see me. If the revised version is satisfactory, the old grade will be dropped in favor of the revised paper's grade.


Grading Rubric for Short Papers


There are two grades: Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U). A Satisfactory paper will do this, at least:


Content/Ideas: The paper will raise and answer a question or offer a commentary on the reading. It must not be vague or confusing. It will likely include examples, though not necessarily.


Thesis/Argument: As mentioned below, the paper will offer an early, summary glimpse about the paper's topic and objectives.


Organization: Even though the paper is short, it should not ramble. It should have a beginning, middle, and end, and paragraphs should be in a clear sequence, leading one to another.


Grammar, Syntax, & Mechanics: Papers should not contain misspellings and grammar need not be perfect but it must not get in the way of the points being made. Papers which cannot be understood or are filled with spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors will not be passed.

Exams (700 points, total): 3 Exams.

Format is likely to be a mixture of short answers, multiple choice, and essay. Material on exams can include required readings and anything (lecture, film, assignment) done in class. no make-up exams will be given without extenuating circumstances and arrangements made prior to the exam. A zero will be given for any missed exam not arranged for in advance. "Extenuating circumstances" include severe medical problems; talk to me about which other circumstances would count as "excusable." 


Grade Dissemination and SCALE: Papers and exams will be returned in class. As much as possible, I will update grades on Canvas, but please keep track of your grades, too. Final grades will be available on Canvas through UCD Access as soon as they’re ready. SCALE: I use the plus/minus system. There are 1000 possible points for this class. An "A" for the course will be a body of work achieving at or above 930 points; an "A-" will be 900-929 points; a "B+" is 870-899 points, etc. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook. I have set out my standards of what a grade means on my FAQ section of my website.

Course Policies

Plagiarism/ Academic Dishonesty Plagiarism is a form of stealing. It occurs when an author uses the words or ideas of others as if they were the author’s own original thought. (It may include word-for-word copying, interspersing one’s own words with another’s, paraphrasing, inventing or counterfeiting sources, submitting another’s work as one’s own, neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.) Plagiarism is often unintentional. It can be avoided by always acknowledging one’s debt to others by citing the exact source of a quotation or paraphrase. Since plagiarism is such a serious violation of academic honesty, the penalty for it will be an automatic “F” for this course.
Academic dishonesty is the intentional disregard of course or university rules. This may include (but is not limited to) collaborating with others when rules forbid (such as on exams) or using sources/experts not permitted by an assignment. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Anyone caught violating the rules of an exam or an assignment can expect a failing grade for the assignment and possibly the course as well.


Access, Disability, Communication: UCD is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who want academic accommodations must register with Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 177 Arts Building, 303-556-3450, TTY 303-556-4766, FAX 303-556-2074. I will be happy to provide approved accommodations, once you provide me with a copy of DRS’s letter. [DRS requires students to provide current and adequate documentation of their disabilities. Once a student has registered with DRS, DRS will review the documentation and assess the student’s request for academic accommodations in light of the documentation. DRS will then provide the student with a letter indicating which academic accommodations have been approved.] Students called for military duty: If you are a student in the military with the potential of being called to military service and /or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact your school/college Associate Dean or Advising Office immediately.


Course Communication: In addition to announcements made and written handouts distributed in class, I may need to contact you between classes, which I'll do through individual and group email messages. One of the requirements for this course is that you maintain an email address, check it regularly for messages, be sure it is working, and let me know if you change your email address. You are responsible for any messages, including assignments and schedule changes, I send you via email. You also may contact me via email, in addition to seeing me during office hours or calling me.


Civility and Technology: Laptops are not permitted. Turn off beepers and cell phones during class. Text messaging, web surfing, and other electronic distractions may result in expulsion from class and will be counted as an "unexcused absence" from class. Students who are speaking deserve your attention and respect as much as I do. Listen to one another. Adherence to the Student Conduct Code is expected.

Contact Information and Office Hours

Phone : 303-556-8558

E-mail: david.hildebrand@ucdenver.edu Website: http://davidhildebrand.org

Office and Hours: Plaza M108  Hours TTh 11-12 or by appointment.


Purpose: I strongly encourage you to participate by dropping by during office hours. We can talk about the class readings and lectures, exams and papers, your progress, or just philosophy in general. Note: If you are a student with a disability, I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations. Before accommodations will be made, you may be required to provide documentation. Students with disabilities will be accommodated. Students with disabilities are required to register disabilities with the UCD Disability Services Office, and are responsible for requesting reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the term.


Please note: All course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Remember, course help is also available at my web address: http://DavidHildebrand.org



Tu. 8/23 First Day of Class

Th. 8/25 “Lavine Socrates to Sartre on Plato and Socrates.pdf” (ONLINE)


Tu. 8/30 Trial and Death: Euthyphro


Th. 9/1 Trial and Death: Euthyphro


Tu. 9/6 Trial and Death: Apology

Th. 9/8 Trial and Death: Apology


Tu. 9/13 Seminar Day

Th. 9/15 Aristotle “How Should a Man Live” (ONLINE)


Tu. 9/20 Aristotle and general review

Th. 9/22 Exam 1


Tu. 9/27 Reading: "Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus" (ONLINE)

Th. 9/29 Reading: “Sextus Empiricus” 337-348 (ONLINE)


Tu. 10/4 Reading: “Sextus Empiricus” 348-354 (ONLINE)

Th. 10/6 Reading: LISLE READING AUGUSTINE_Phl_1012.pdf (ONLINE)


Tu. 10/11 Seminar Day

Th. 10/13 Descartes, Meditations  Introduction and I


Tu. 10/18 Descartes, Meditations II

Th. 10/20 Descartes, review Meditations so far.


Tu. 10/25 Descartes, Meditations II, III

Th. 10/27 Descartes, Meditations III


Tu. 11/1 Berkeley, Dialogues: Chronology (37-39); Dedication, Preface, half of First Dialogue (47-65; stop at HYLAS, “Well, since it must be so, I am content to yield this point…”)

Th. 11/3 Berkeley, Dialogues: First Dialogue, continued (65-84; stop at HYLAS “You need say no more on this head.” )


Tu. 11/8 Berkeley, Dialogues: First Dialogue 84-100); Second Dialogue, entire. (101-122)

Th. 11/10 Berkeley, Dialogues: Third Dialogue (122-128); Review Dialogues One and Two.


Tu. 11/15 Seminar Day and Review

Th. 11/17 Exam 2


Tu. 11/22 & 24 Thanksgiving Break


Tu. 11/29 What is Art? Readings ONLINE: “The Nature of Art Wartenberg Introduction.PDF” and “Puzzles-What is Art-Battin.PDF”


Th. 12/1 What is Art? Form: ONLINE “Wartenberg-Bell.PDF”


Tu. 12/6 What is Art? Emotion: ONLINE ONLINE “Wartenberg-Tolstoy.PDF”

Th. 12/8 What is Art? Social construction: ONLINE “Wartenberg-Dickie.PDF” Review and Take Home Exam Given Out





This is a Core Course that fulfills a requirement in the Humanities. By the end of a general education course in the Humanities, students should be proficient in the following areas characteristic of critical thinking:

1. Textual analysis: Students analyze texts of a variety of types, distinguishing the various philosophical, historical, and/or literary elements. These activities are typical of “critical thinking.”


Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: (a) in-class discussion, (b) short writings, and (c) exams.

 Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: (a) in-class discussion, (b) short writings

 Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: (a) in-class discussion, (b) short writings

 Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: (a) in-class discussion, (b) short writings

 Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: in-class discussion and presentations

 Opportunities to show learning in this area will show up in: in-class discussion and occasional group projects.

Last updated Jan 09, 2017 07:05:AM