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Philosophy Dept | Library Philosophy Guide

PHIL 2101 Introduction to the Problems of Philosophy (Shottenkirk): Home

Course Information

Philosophy 2101
Dr. Dena Shottenkirk

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  1. Students will gain a basic understanding of the broad discipline of  philosophy.
  2. Students will develop their ability to write and verbally communicate their ideas; in general, they will be able to formulate an argument in support of or in opposition to a claim, and specifically, they will be able to formulate an argument in relation to key philosophical questions with regard to the issues examined in the course.

Knowledge, Reality, and Values. Eds. Jamie Lindsay and Dena Shottenkirk (Cognella Press, 2010).

This is an OER course and NO TEXT is required. The readings are posted on this website.
On Monday and Wednesdays, I will lecture on the material that is listed for that day in the syllabus. Students should have read the material before they come to class.

In order to prevent distractions both to yourself and to others around you, there are no phones or computers in class. Note-taking must be done the old-fashioned way with paper and pen.


  1. Each student is assigned on Blackboard to be part of a group of four/five students. This is found in the “Groups” heading. 
  2. On Blackboard in the Discussion section: Every Wednesday I will post two prompts on blackboard. These will correspond to the following week’s readings. a) There will be one prompt per reading. b) Each student must respond to each prompt with a minimum of 200 words. Those entries must be completed by Friday of the following week. For example, prompts regarding Plato’s The Meno (which is on the schedule for Sept. 6) would be posted on W Aug 30 and then we would discuss the readings on the following Wednesday Sept. 6. And you would have your Blackboard posts due on Friday Sept. 8. That gives you a few days to think about the posts before the lecture and then a few days after the lecture to write the posts. c) Each student must also provide a thoughtful response to at least two other group members (e.g., it cannot be “I agree with Mike”). Those are also due on Wednesday of every week.


  1. Paper #1:        Write a 5-page paper (Times New Roman, 12 font, 1” margins top, bottom, sides) that is critical analysis of any two readings to date, which means any readings up to and including the readings before Sept. 22; (this paper is an exegesis only – do not include your viewpoint).
  2. Paper #2:         Write a 5-page paper (Times New Roman, 12 font, 1” margins top, bottom, sides) that is critical analysis of any of single reading up to and including Nov. 15, although not of course on the topic you covered in your first paper. It should be exegesis only for the first 3 – 31/2 pages; the rest of the paper is your viewpoint. 

Submit assignments through blackboard. They are due on the date of the syllabus. Any late papers will be given a demotion of two-third grade for each day it is late e.g. An A paper turns into a B+ paper. 

You may rewrite the papers. The rewrite grade is the final one.

The final exam is T/F and is not graded on a curve.