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Philosophy 102:Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry
Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. What is the purpose of this course?
  2. What kinds of things are studied?
  3. Is Introduction to Logic a prerequisite for this course? Does this course fulfill any University requirements?  I've been trying to register for this course since my freshmen year.  Why don't you offer more sections of Introduction to Philosophy? 
  4. My advisor says this course does not fulfill the logical and analytical thought General Elective Requirement.  Why not? It's a philosophy course.
  5. Why don't you allow make-up for missed quizzes? Why don't I get credit if I leave class early on the day of a quiz ?
  6. If I have an A average, can I exempt the final exam?
  7. Where do you post grades? Do you e-mail grades? How can I find out what I made in the course ?
  8. What can I do for extra credit in this course?

1. What is the purpose of this course?

The specific purposes of Introduction to Philosophic Inquiry are:

[1] to learn to identify arguments, to evaluate and counter them, and to construct good arguments,
[2] to obtain the ability to relate arguments to one another and to appreciate persistent, sustained thought on a topic,
[3] to analyze philosophical essays and obtain facility in the clear, complete, and methodical statement of personal views,
[4] to obtain the ability to justify and defend personal views once they are clearly and completely stated and to develop a personal ideology,
[5] to gain skill in asking interesting, productive, and insightful questions,
[6] to recognize how all aspects of living are rationally and causally interrelated,
[7] to recognize the difference between a thoughtful question and a philosophic problem,
[8] to study classic, influential, and abiding arguments concerning the structures of knowledge, belief, and value,
[9] to understand how concepts can be systematically clarified through philosophical analysis, and
[10] to apply usefully the several methods of philosophical reasoning in everyday life and ordinary language.

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2. What kinds of things are studied?

The general purpose of Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry is to introduce some of the main problems of philosophy, including

w Are ethical principles relative?
w Are all persons really at heart egoistic?
w What are the best proofs for God’s existence?
w How can truth be established?
w Are there causal determinants of choice?
w Of what does reality exist?
w Are ethical and artistic judgments subjective?
w Is there a purpose and meaning to life?

In this Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry you will learn how to inquire into complex problems and begin to formulate your own philosophy. You will learn effective methods of inquiry, analysis, and criticism.

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3. Is Introduction to Philosophy a prerequisite?  Does this course fulfill any University requirements? I've been trying to register for this course since my freshmen year.  Why don't you offer more sections of Logic?

Philosophy 102: Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry has no prerequisite.  This course complements Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic but you need not have taken that course to do well in the Introduction to Logic course. They are entirely independent courses.

Philosophy 102: Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry meets the Humanities General Elective Requirement for many majors.

Several schools and divisions of the University have recently required Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry to fulfill course requirements.  The curriculum change resulted in a large number of students needing this course for graduation.   With the addition of a new faculty member, Dr. John Moore, the backlog has been substantially reduced.  We are now offering at least seven sections of Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry each year.  

By the Spring semester of 2004, current projections indicate freshman and sophomores should be able register for the class without difficulty.

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4. My advisor says this course does not fulfill the logical and analytical General Elective Requirement.  Why not?  It's a philosophy course?

Philosophy 102: Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry does not meet the logical and analytical thought requirement, although it does meet the humanities elective requirement for many majors.

This logic course is sometimes confused with Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic, which does meet the logical and analytical thought elective requirement for many majors.


My philosophy courses have an average of 15 quizzes and tests for an average of 110 students each semester. In other words, there are about 1,870 papers to be graded.  If the normal excused absence rate is 8%, then 150 make-up quizzes and tests would have to be scheduled during the semester.  Assuming each make-up takes 1/2 hour to proctor (not counting the time to prepare a different test or quiz), almost two-weeks work would be needed just to proctor make-up quizzes.  For these reasons, extra quizzes are given, and a minimum of two quizzes can be safely dropped with other quiz grades substituted.

The purpose of  quizzes is to help the student learn the subjects in advance of the tests in order to reduce anxiety, cramming, and poor grades.  Unfortunately in the past, some students have come to take the quiz and then leave before the end of class.  I find students leaving in the middle of a class disruptive to the learning environment of the class as a whole and distracting to me personally; for this reason, no credit for that day's quiz is given to any student leaving class early.

Students who do not read the syllabus or this FAQ sometimes believe this policy to be unfair. The only consolation I can offer is for extra quizzes to be offered during the semester which may be substituted for a missed or no credit quiz.

In sum, without the extra quizzes and the drop policy, it is impractical to offer so many graded assignments.  Most students understand the pedagogic reasons for the quizzes and, and in light of that, enthusiastically support the policy.  See the syllabus for more policy information.

Unfortunately, the History and Philosophy Department does not have space available for offering make-up tests and quizzes. No tests or quizzes can be made-up in this course, even though students have good reasons for missing class.  Thus, tests cannot be made-up for any reason.  There is no comprehensive final exam.

The confidentiality of student grades is a serious concern.  Legal considerations involving the privacy rights of individuals prevent the posting of grades.  Other than waiting for your grade report from Lander, there are several other methods to obtain your grades at the end of the semester. For personal and legal reasons, I do not post grades, I do not report grades over the telephone, and I do not ordinarily send grades in e-mail. 

(1) Prior to the end of the semester, submit a self-addressed-stamped envelope to the instructor.  Your final test grade, course average, and grade for the course will be mailed to you at the completion of the semester's grading.

(3) Visit the instructor's office no sooner than 48 hours after the final exam.   Office hours during the week of final exams will be posted.  Please note:  Normal office hours during the week of final exams are not observed since final exams are not  scheduled at the same time as the regular class period.

(4) With your assigned username and password, you may access your grades online as soon as final grades and averages are posted on the homepage for this site.

You can log on to Lander's Bearcat Web, with your Lander student identification number and password. You can find our your grades in all courses before you receive your final official grade report in the mail at your home address.


Extra credit is not offered in this class for two main reasons. First, extra or ``replacement'' work is less important than the required work, and second,  extra credit is not an adequate substitute for learning basic ideas of the Eastern philosophy. In my opinion, the offering of extra credit often conflicts with the legal and ethical requirements of equal opportunity since all persons should have the right to the same class policies.

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