Problems of Philosophy


James Shaw

jrs164 [at]

Teaching Assistants:

Alessandra Buccella

alb319 [at]

Raja Rosenhagen

trr39 [at]

Josh Eisenthal (Writing TA)

joe22 [at]

Course Description

The goal of this course is to have you gain some familiarity with the methods and subject matter of philosophy by looking at a series of classic questions, including the following: Do we have free will? Do we have minds or souls that are distinct from our bodies? What makes us who we are? Should we fear death?

Graded work for the class consists in a series of two short papers, a midterm, a final exam, and recitation participation. Some readings for the class are drawn from the following books which you can obtain from the university bookstore. I've also given the links to Amazon in case you want to buy them online.

There are also some articles which you can find further down in this website. You'll need a password to get them, which can be found on the syllabus I handed out on the first day of class. Check out Blackboard to find the password if you are in the class and haven't yet got a password.



Articles and Other Readings

You will need a password for most of the documents in this list. If you didn't get a password on the first day of class, you can find one on Blackboard. If that fails, contact your TA. (The downloads sometimes take a while, so please be patient.)



You're responsible for knowing what plagiarism is. Any evidence of academic dishonesty will be relentlessly pursued. Confirmation of dishonesty results in an "F" for the course.


If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, you need to notify both your TA and the Disability Resources and Services no later than the 2nd week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 648-7890 (Voice or TTD) to schedule an appointment. The Office is located in 140 William Pitt Union.