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UC Davis Department of Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy

Philosophy Department

1240 Social Sciences and Humanities
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: (530) 752-0607

Fax: (530) 752-8964

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This is the home page of G. J. Mattey’s Philosophy 1, Introduction to Philosophy, for Winter Quarter, 2015.

The Course

This offering of Philosophy 1 is intended to give the student a sampling of some of the greatest works written in the history of Western philosophy. Readings will be taken from the original source materials. The first third of the course will be devoted to “ethics,” which concerns what is good or bad, right or wrong. The last two-thirds of the course will cover the related areas of “metaphysics” and “epistemology,” the studies of reality and knowledge, respectively.

General Catalog Course Description

Problems of philosophy through major writings from various periods. Problems are drawn from political, aesthetic, religious, metaphysical, and epistemological concerns of philosophy.

The Topics

In ethics, we consider questions such as: Is there any objective basis for calling persons or actions good or bad? If so, what exactly is it that makes a person or an action good or bad? In the area of metaphysics, we will study such questions as: what things are real, and what things are mere inventions of the human mind? What kinds of things are the things that are real? In the area of epistemology, we will ask: how far does human knowledge extend? How do we know what we think we know?