Lamar State College - Port Arthur

House Bill 2504

Fall 2014 Course Syllabus

PHIL-1301-50 - Intro Philosophy

Faculty Information
SemesterFall 2014
InstructorBertin, Darren Christopher
Phone(409) 984-6244
Developmental Education
Chair:Barbara Huval
Phone:(409) 984-6330
Hours:Tues/Thurs. 9:30-10:30 or by appt.
Building:Performing Arts & Theatre Center (PAC)
MyLamarPA Be sure to check your campus E-mail and Course Homepage using MyLamarPA campus web portal ( When you’ve logged in, click the email icon in the upper right-hand corner to check email, or click on the “My Courses” tab to get to your Course Homepage. Click the link to your course and review the information presented. It is important that you check your email and Course Homepage regularly. You can also access your grades, transcripts, and determine who your academic advisor is by using MyLamarPA.
Course Information
Course Number91056
Course Description A study of major issues in philosophy and/or the work of major philosophical figures in philosophy. Topics in philosophy may include theories of reality, theories of knowledge, theories of value, and their practical applications.
Course Prerequisites None.
Required Textbooks Christian, James. "Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering" (11th Ed.; Wadsworth), 2012.
Attendance Policy 95% of the exams will come from the lectures. Whether you come to class or not is your business. I’m not a babysitter, and I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money responsibly. If you want to waste your money by paying for a class and not coming, that’s your business. Just know that if you choose not to attend class, you will not pass. Guaranteed. If, however, you choose to spend your money wisely and attend class, as well as pay attention in class, you should do just fine.
Course Grading Scale  90 - 100 = A     80 - 89 = B     70 - 79 = C     60 - 69 = D     Below 59 = F
Determination of Final Grade Your grade will be determined by the cumulative scores of a midterm, a final, one five (5) page paper, and class participation, each making up 25% of your total grade. The midterm will be cumulative of the first half of the class, the final cumulative of the second half of the class (e.g. from the midterm to the final). The paper will be on a topic of your choosing so long as it is applicable to your degree plan or on a topic we have raised in here that you find worthy of exploration. However, we will discuss topics for your paper in more detail as we work our way through the semester. If you miss the mid-term exam, you will have to see me within the next three (3) days to schedule a make-up. Otherwise, you will have to take the mid-term on the same time and date as the final.
Final Exam Date December 9, 2014 - 6:30 PM
Major Assignments a.        Introduction: What is Philosophy?

1.         Assignment

a)         Goodman handout (Ch. 1: “Words, Works, Worlds”) from “Ways of Worldmaking”

b)         Christian, pp. 22-55.


b.        Epistemology: The Study of Knowledge

1)         Assignment

a)         Descartes handout

b)         Locke handout

c)         Wittgenstein handout

d)         Christian, pp. 163-191; 503-520

c.        Philosophy of Mind

1)         Assignment

a)         Searle handout (Brain in the Vat)

b)         Chinese Room argument

c)         Christian, pp. 192-204


d.        Philosophy of Religion

1)         Assignment

a)         Handout on the three (3) arguments for the existence of God

b) Christian, pp. 606-620

e.        Philosophy of Language

1)         Assignment

a)         Christian, pp. 205-220; 271-290

f.        Ethics

1)         Assignment

a)         Mill handout

b)         Kant handout

c)         Aristotle handout

d)         Christian, pp. 374-399

Calendar of Lecture Topics and Major Assignment Due Dates
General Education/Core Curriculum Student Learning Outcomes
Communication skills:Students will demonstrate effective written, oral and visual communication.

Critical Thinking Skills:Students will engage in creative and/or innovative thinking, and/or inquiry, analysis, evaluation, synthesis of information, organizing concepts and constructing solutions.

Empirical and Quantitative Skills:Students will demonstrate applications of scientific and mathematical concepts.

Teamwork:Students will demonstrate the ability to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal and consider different points of view.

Social Responsibility:Students will demonstrate intercultural competency and civic knowledge by engaging effectively in local, regional, national and/or global communities.

Personal Responsibility:Students will demonstrate the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making.

Program Student Learning Outcomes PSLO ALPHA: Reading skills - Demonstrates comprehension of content-area reading material.

Identifies all main ideas, supporting details, and vocabulary in reading material; demonstrates a full understanding of the reading.

PSLO 1: Critical Thinking Skills – Uses creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.

Creatively identifies problem, argument, or issue (to determine extent of information needed); differentiates the facts from opinions as relates to situation; constructs possible solutions or prediction or consequences; uses logical, sound reasoning to justify conclusion.

PSLO 2: Communication Skills – Demonstrates effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and/or visual communication.

Expresses a strong thesis; organizes information with effective transitions & sequencing of ideas; uses substantial, logical & specific development of ideas; details are relevant, original, credible and correctly documented when appropriate to show an effective development and interpretation of ideas; and presents ideas in appropriate mode of expression for the task.

PSLO 5: Social Responsibility Skills - Expresses intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.

Identifies cultural characteristics (including beliefs, values, perspectives and/or practices); demonstrates knowledge of civic responsibility; provides evidence of experience in civic- engagement activities; and describes what she/ he has learned as it relates to a reinforced and clarified sense of civic identity in local, regional, national, or global communities; and shows awareness of one’s own culture in relation to others.

PSLO 6: Personal Responsibility Skills – Integrates choices, actions and consequences in ethical decision-making.

Recognizes ethical issues when presented in a complex, multilayered (gray) context; recognizes cross- relationships among the issues; discusses in detail/ analyzes core beliefs; the discussion has greater depth and clarity showing the independent application of ethical perspectives/ concepts to an ethical question accurately; and is able to consider full implications of the application.
Course Student Learning Outcomes By the end of the course students will be able to:

1. identify the differences, nature and function of the four sources of knowledge;(PSLO Alpha, 1, 2) Measured by: pre-test/post-test, embedded test questions, essays and discussion (in class and/or online).

2. identify the differences, nature and function of the four ways of thought;(PSLO Alpha, 1, 2, 5) Measured by: pre-test/post-test, embedded test questions, essays and discussion (in class and/or online).

3. understand the differences and applications of the four major subjects of philosophy and how they have affected our modern technological society today;(PSLO 1, 2, 5, 6) Measured by: embedded test questions, essays, film analysis and discussion (in class and/or online).

4. be able to employ critical thinking to analyze written and spoken ideas about science, politics, religion and the humanities;(PSLO 1, 2, 5, 6) Measured by: embedded test questions, essays, film analysis and discussion (in class and/or online).

5. be able to clearly articulate their own philosophical ideas about science, politics, religion and the humanities;(PSLO 1, 2, 5, 6) Measured by: embedded test questions, essays and discussion (in class and/or online).

6. be able to relate what they have learned in the class to other subjects they will take in college and to their chosen profession or trade. (PSLO 1, 2, 5, 6) Measured by: embedded test questions, essays and discussion (in class and/or online).

Academic Honesty Academic honesty is expected from all students, and dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated. Please consult the LSC-PA policies (Section IX, subsection A, in the Faculty Handbook) for consequences of academic dishonesty.
Facility Policies
  • No food or tobacco products are allowed in the classroom.

  • Only students enrolled in the course are allowed in the classroom, except by special instructor permission.

  • Electronic devices (including but not restricted to cell phones, MP3 players, and laptop computers) shall not be used during examinations unless specifically allowed by the instructor.

  • Use of electronic devices during normal class hours distracts other students, disrupts the class, and wastes valuable time. Instructors have an obligation to reduce such disruptions.

  • Turn your cellphones to vibrate when you enter the classroom.

    You are free to bring your laptop, netbook, pad, or other device to take notes. However, I expect your smartphone to be either off or silenced during class. Any disturbance from any electronic device and I will have the right to exclude those items for the rest of the semester.

    You’ve heard it said to “never discuss religion and politics with your friends if you want to continue to be friends with them.” Well, we’re going to do that throughout the semester. We will be discussing and studying many issues, some of them sensitive and strike at the core of your own personal beliefs as well as the core of your fellow students’ beliefs, which may be different than your own. NO DERISION, MOCKERY OR DISRESPECT OF ANY OTHER PERSON’S BELIEFS WILL BE TOLERATED. The first hint of disrespect or derision will put you in my wheelhouse. And you best believe you don’t want to be there. I’ve handled murderers, I can handle you.
Additional Information It helps if you come to class ready and prepared. Believe me.

When you read the assignments, do not expect to understand everything. As a matter of fact, you may not understand anything you read right at first. That’s okay and to be expected; welcome to the club. However, do not get bogged down and attempt to reread the assignments over and over until you understand it. Just plow through it without stopping all the way to the end, and we’ll discuss what you read and make sense of it in class. Do not get discouraged and above all do not give up. Life is sometimes about just getting through the challenge and doing the best you can with what you have, and that’s all I’m asking you to do.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD QUESTION. This is philosophy: the only bad questions are the ones that don’t get asked. So if you have a question, ask it. I don’t care how silly or foolish you think it is. I’ve heard them all, and I’ve yet to be asked a question that I would call silly. I will do my best to address it in a way that you come up with the answer yourself.

Important Information
ADA Considerations The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Special Populations Coordinator, Room 231, in the Madison Monroe Building. The phone number is (409) 984-6241.
Copyright Violations Some material in this course may be copyrighted. They may be used only for instructional purposes this semester, by students enrolled in this course. These materials are being used fairly and legally. No one may distribute or share these copyrighted materials in any medium or format with anyone outside this class, including publishing essays with copyrighted material, uploading copyrighted material to Facebook or YouTube, or painting or performing copyrighted material for public display.

Copyright violation is not the same thing as plagiarism. Plagiarism is intellectual dishonesty. Offenses of plagiarism result in lower grades or failing scores, and professors and the college strictly enforce plagiarism rules. There is never any acceptable use of plagiarism. Copyright violation is a legal offense, punishable by large fines and penalties.

Copyrighted material can be used if permission from the material’s creator is obtained, or if its use meets the standards of fair use in an educational setting. For example, a student can quote a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a report without violating copyright but still be guilty of plagiarism if the quotation is not properly documented.

If you are in doubt about what material can be freely used, ask your professor or contact the Dean of Library Services, at (409) 984-6216.
Assessment Statement Assessment is a process by which LSCPA can help you learn better and gauge the level of progress you have made to attain knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values. It also helps your professors understand how to improve teaching and testing methods in your classes, and it helps each department understand and improve degree and certificate programs.

Periodically LSC-PA will collect assessment data for research and reporting purposes, including statistical data and sometimes copies of your work. Be assured that all material the college uses for assessment purposes will be kept confidential. To ensure anonymity, your name will be removed from any material we use for assessment purposes, including video-recorded performances, speeches, and projects.

If you object to allowing LSC-PA to use your material for assessment purposes, submit a letter stating so to your professor by the 12th class day. You will still be required to participate in whatever assessments are being done; we just won’t use your data.

What’s the difference between assessment and grades? The grades you get on papers, projects, speeches, and assignments are specific types of focused assessment. LSC-PA’s assessment efforts include class grades, surveys, standardized tests, and other tools.
Privacy Notice Federal privacy laws apply to college students. This means that college employees, including instructors, cannot divulge information to third parties, including parents and legal guardians of students. Even if the students are minors, information about their college work cannot be shared with anyone except in very limited circumstances.

Anyone requesting information about a student should be referred to the Registrar. Instructors will be notified in writing by that Office about what information may be released and to whom.

Please remember that releasing private information about a student, however innocuous it may seem, can be a violation of federal law, with very serious consequences.

Circumstances under which information may be released:

An adult student may submit, to the Registrar, a handwritten, signed note granting permission for release of information. The note must specify what information may be divulged, and it must specify the name of the person to whom the information may be given.

A parent or guardian may be given access to information about a student by providing a copy of a filed tax return that shows that the student was listed as a dependent of that parent or guardian. The tax return must be for last complete tax year. Again, this documentation must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

A parent or guardian may be given access to information about a student if the student logs on to and sends an email to the Registrar granting permission. The email must specify what information may be given and the name of the person to whom it may be given.

Co-enrollment students are protected by the same privacy laws as adult students.

The Registrar’s office is located in the Student Center room 303B, and can be reached at (409) 984-6165.

College-Level Perspectives This course helps add to the students’ overall collegiate experience in the following ways:

  • Establishing broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which s/he lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.

  • Stimulating a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.

  • Developing a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.

  • Developing personal values for ethical behavior.

  • Developing the ability to make aesthetic judgments.

  • Using logical reasoning in problem solving.

  • Integrating knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Degree Plan Evaluation A Degree Plan Evaluation will help you determine which classes you need to complete your program.

  1. Sign in to your account.

  2. Click on the “My Services” tab.

  3. Click on the “Student” tab.

  4. Click on Student Records.

  5. Click on Degree Evaluation.

  6. Select the term you are planning on registering for (i.e. Summer I, Summer II, Fall, or Spring)

  7. Verify that the Curriculum Information (your MAJOR) is correct

  8. Click on “Generate New Evaluation” at the bottom of the screen.

  9. Click the radio button next to Program

  10. Click on the Generate Request button.

All of the classes that you have taken that apply to your declared major will be listed on the right. If you have a class that still needs to be completed, a “NO” will be listed on the right next to the required class.

HB 2504 This syllabus is part of LSC-PA’s efforts to comply with Texas House Bill 2504.

Lamar State College - Port Arthur


Lamar State College - Port Arthur, a member of The Texas State University System, is an open-access, comprehensive public two-year college offering quality and affordable instruction leading to associate degrees and a variety of certificates. The College embraces the premise that education is an ongoing process that enhances career potential, broadens intellectual horizons, and enriches life.

Core Values

  • Shared commitment by faculty, staff and administration to a mission characterized by student learning, diversity, and community involvement

  • General education/core curriculum that develops the values and concepts that allow the student to make a meaningful contribution in the workplace or community

  • Academic and technical programs designed to fulfill our commitment to accommodate students with diverse goals and backgrounds, using a variety of delivery methods, on and off campus

  • Technical education programs that provide for the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and behavior necessary for initial and continued employment

  • Student achievement characterized by attainment of individual goals and measured by successful accomplishments and completion of curriculum

  • Co-curricular opportunities that develop social, financial and civic acuity


Lamar State College - Port Arthur operates in the belief that all individuals should be:

  • treated with dignity and respect;

  • afforded equal opportunity to acquire a complete educational experience;

  • given an opportunity to discover and develop their special aptitudes and insights; and,

  • provided an opportunity to equip themselves for a fulfilling life and responsible citizenship in a world characterized by change.

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