Syllabus for Honors Introduction to Philosophy - Spring 2001


How To Reach Professor Korcz:
My office is in H. L. Griffin Hall, rm. 563. My office hours are MWF 11:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00, and TTh 1:45-2:30. We can also meet at other times by arrangement - just ask. My office phone no. is 482-6806. You can also contact me (or ask questions) by e-mail at

Required Texts:
1. Discourse On Method and Meditations On First Philosophy, Fourth Edition by Rene Descartes, translated by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 1998).

2. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, edited by Tom L. Beauchamp (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999).

3. Personal Identity edited by John Perry (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1975).

4. Course Pack

These should be available at the UL Lafayette Student Bookstore, except for the Course Pack which is available only from Compu-Copy at 1043 Johnston Street.

Assignments & Grading:
EXAMS: There will be  two exams during the semester (each worth roughly 20% of your course grade) a final exam (worth roughly 25% of your course grade). The exams will consist primarily of short answer and multiple choice questions. However, all make-up exams will be primarily long-essay. The exams will cover both lectures and assigned readings (material in lectures and assigned readings will not always overlap). All exams are closed book/closed note.

TERM PAPER: The paper must be done in successive drafts, the first draft being worth 10% of your course grade and the final draft being worth 25% of your course grade. The paper should be approximately 6-7 pages long, and will be described in more detail on a separate handout.

GRADING POLICIES: If you miss class, for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to get class notes from another student. Missed exams or other assignments can be made up only if an appropriate excuse, e.g., illness requiring medical attention, participation in certain official university events, etc., is provided. If you miss an assignment due date, you must notify me within one week of the due date in order to make up the assignment. An unexcused late assignment will be dropped 2/3 of a letter grade per day it is late. If you have a disability and require assistance with fulfilling class assignments, don't hesitate to notify the instructor and the Office for Services to Students with Disabilities at 482-5252. Finally, be sure you are familiar with all university policies described in the UL Lafayette Undergraduate Bulletin. All assignments for this class must be completed individually, and any instance of academic dishonesty on any assignment will be sufficient to fail the course.

Internet Resources:
I strongly recommend taking advantage of the following resources!
My Philosophy 151 Home Page contains links to an on-line syllabus (which contains numerous links to home pages of authors we'll be reading, readings available on-line, etc.) and other resources you will find helpful. The URL address is:
My How To Survive Your First Philosophy Course pages contain useful information about how to write papers, study for exams, read philosophy, take notes, do research in philosophy, etc. The URL address is:
My home page contains links to all my course home pages, extensive links pages on philosophy, general research, fun sites, and lots of other information. The URL address is:

Emergency Evacuation Procedures:
A map of this floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation route and the Designated Rescue Area. This is an area where emergency service personnel will go first to look for individuals who need assistance in exiting the building. Students who may need assistance should identify themselves to the teaching faculty.

Course Calendar & Planned Reading Assignments*

(CP) = Course Pack
(DM) = Discourse on Method & Meditations on First Philosophy
(ENQ) = Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
(ID) = Personal Identity

Topic 1: Philosophy and Logic
Jan. 11: (CP):  "What Is Philosophy?" by Keith Korcz. Also do the logic exercises in the CP.
MONDAY, JAN. 15: Martin Luther King Holiday - NO CLASSES

Topic 2: Descartes & The Theory of Knowledge
a. The Nature Of Epistemology and the Importance of Descartes - Week of Jan. 15
(CP): "Descartes' Life and Times" by John Cottingham; (DM): Editor's Preface (p. vii-ix), Discourse: Parts 1-4 (p. 1-23).
b. Descartes' Foundation Of Knowledge - Week of Jan. 22
DM: Preface, Synopsis, Meditations 1-2 (p. 51-70).
c. Building on the Foundation Of Knowledge - Week of Jan. 29
DM: Meditations 3-6 (p. 70-105).
d. Fallibilism in Contemporary Epistemology - Week of Feb. 5
(CP): "How to be a Fallibilist" by Stewart Cohen

Topic 3: Hume and Empiricism
a. The Life and Times of David Hume - Feb. 13
(ENQ): Editor's Introduction; (CP): Letter to Benjamin Franklin.


b. Hume's Psychology - Feb. 15 and Feb. 22
(ENQ): Sections II and III; (CP): "Hume"

FEB. 26-28 - Mardi Gras Holiday - NO CLASSES!

c. Hume's Skepticism - Week of April 5
(ENQ): Sections IV and V
d. Hume on Causation - Week of April 12
(ENQ): Sections VI and VII
e. Hume on Free Will - March 1 and March 6
(ENQ): Section VIII
f. Animals and Empiricism - March 8
(ENQ): Section IX
g. Empiricism and Religion - Week of March 12
(ENQ): Sections X and XI


h. Skepticism - March 22
(ENQ): Section XII
I. Empiricism in the 20th Century - Week of March 26
(CP): "The Rejection of Metaphysics" by A. J. Ayer and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" by W. V. Quine  [you can also read a nice obituary of Quine, who died Dec. 25, 2000, from the New York Times] [An extensive bibliography of Quine's works can be found here.]


Topic 4: Personal Identity
a. Introduction/The Memory Criterion - Week of April 1, April 10
(ID): "The Problem of Personal Identity" by John Perry, pages 3-15 only; "Of Identity and Diversity" by John Locke; "Of Identity" and "Of Mr. Locke's Account of Our Personal Identity" by Thomas Reid.

APRIL 12-16 - Easter Holiday - NO CLASSES - HAPPY BUNNY DAY!

b. Personal Identity and Survival - Weeks of April 16 and 23
(ID): "The Self and the Future" by Bernard Williams; "Personal Identity" by Derek Parfit. (CP): "The Split Brain Revisited" by Michael Gazzaniga. (ID): "Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness" by Thomas Nagel.


Tuesday, May 1: Study Day - No Classes

*NOTE: Topics, readings, course procedures and due dates for assignments are tentative and subject to change.