This course is an introduction to philosophy. One of the questions you should be able to give an answer to, by the end of the semester, is "what is philosophy?"

A very boring answer to that question is that philosophy is an academic discipline of the humanities. Philosophy's branches and specializations differ from country to country and culture to culture. In this class, we will be focusing mostly on philosophy as it is researched and taught in the United States and Canada, but we will look further afield as well. In the United States and Canada, philosophical research generally divides into four categories:
1. History of Philosophy
2. Metaphysics and Epistemology
3. Logic, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Math
4. Value Theory

Over the course of the semester, we will read classic and contemporary articles from each of these main fields. In any survey course, the professor has to decide between breadth and depth. I have selected articles with breadth in mind. That is, the articles we read should provide you with familiarity with the reach and extent of what philosophy covers and should also familiarize you with what philosophy does.

On the last page of this syllabus is a sample list of questions that philosophers ask and offer answers to. Over the course of this semester, we will engage with many but not all of these questions. We may not, and probably will not, be able to resolve many issues, but we should at least gain a greater understanding of the issues, which should serve as beginnings to possible resolutions.