PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy: Main Problems

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This course has two related objectives.

First, this course aims to acquaint you with some of the most prominent debates in the Western philosophical tradition. You will be asked to think carefully and critically about the merits of various prominent responses to the following three questions.

  • Do we have free will?
  • What is the relationship between the mind and the body?
  • How much can we really know?

By the end of the term, students will be well-positioned to develop and argue for their own answers to these questions.

Second, but perhaps more importantly, this course aims to equip you with a certain set of skills can be usefully applied in a variety of different domains outside of philosophy.  Both in your writing and through discussion with your peers on the forums, you will learn to communicate clearly and concisely, effectively reconstruct arguments for a position or view from a piece of text, critically evaluate arguments, construct persuasive arguments in defense of a position or view, and anticipate potential objections to a position or view.

This course has no prerequisites and is designed for students without prior exposure to philosophy.

Required Text:

  • Vaughn, Great Philosophical Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy (2011), ISBN 978-0195342604

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at with any questions or for more information.

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