Skip to main content
Introduction to Philosophy

A picture of Napa Valley (November 2011)~ Dr. Paul R. Shockley

"The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made." ~ John Dewey. 

“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in  his  way to  be a lover of myths  and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.”  ~  Søren Kierkegaard

“The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.” ~  Søren Kierkegaard

"Character may be manfiested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Simone de Beauvoir, the companion of Jean Paul Sartre, growing old, finished the third volume of her memoirs, Force of Circumstance, with a review of the life she had so passionately affirmed:  “Yet I loathe the thought of annihilating myself quite as much now as I ever did. I think with sadness of all the books I’ve read, all the places I’ve seen, all the knowledge I’ve amassed and that will be no more. All the music, all the paintings, all the culture, so many places: and suddenly nothing…. If it had at least enriched the earth; if it had given birth to…what? A hill? A rocket? But no. Nothing will have taken place, I can still see the hedge of hazel trees flurried by the wind and the promises with which I fed my beating heart while I stood gazing at the gold-mine at my feet: a whole life to live.  The promises have all been kept.  And yet, turning an incredulous gaze towards that young and credulous girl, I realize with stupor how much I was gypped.”  (p693, From Hans Küng, Does God Exist?)

Lecture 1a: What is Philosophy?

 It is in powerpoint.

Lecture 1b: What is a worldview?
It is in powerpoint.
Lecture 2: Presocratic Philosophy
Here is a summary chart on Presocratic Philosophy.  You will need to know the major figures and ideas for the exam.

This chart perhaps requires 11 x 18 paper if printed.
Lecture 3: Chart on Plato's Metaphysics & Epistemology
 You will need to know this chart for exam.
Supplement: Aristotle's Universals and 4 Causes:
 Here is a summary of Aristotle's theory of universals and four causes.  It is in PDF.  You will need to know this material for your exam.
Lecture 3c: Stoicism
 This chart is in PDF. 
Lecture 3d: Epicureanism
 This chart is in PDF. In sharp contrast to Aristotelian metaphysics (purposeful action) is the materialistic view of Epicurus who argued that the universe contains nothing but variously shaped atoms moving through an empty space. 
Lecture 4: Introduction to Epistemology SFA

Introduction to Epistemology Lecture Notes. 

Lecture 5: Intuition, Rationalism, Empiricism, and Rene Descartes
Refer to class notes regarding the nature of intuition, rationalism, and empiricism in preparation of exam.  Here is a helpful chart summarizing my Rene Descartes' famous work.  Be sure to know my summary points from Meditations 1 and 2 as seen in this chart in preparation of exam.

This chart perhaps requires 11 x 18 paper if printed.

Lecture 6: Kant's Theory of Reality and Knowledge
 Here is a helpful chart to prepare for the final exam.  Refer to class notes regarding the nature of noumena and phenomena.
Lecture 7: Rationalism, Empiricism, and John Dewey's Starting Point
Here are some helpful summary notes from my lecture on John Dewey's conception of reality and knowledge.  Notice the comparisons made between rationalism, empiricism, and Dewey's ideas. Know this handout for exam.
Supplement: The Analytic Fallacy
 Here is a supplement to some of my major criticisms of ideas which focus on one area to the neglect of all other areas (reductionism).  Dewey contends that that the analytic fallacy is the most pervasive fallacy in philosophy.  I would recommend knowing this handout for bonus on first exam.  Moreover, I may ask you on exam what is the analytic fallacy.  The best overview of Dewey's concept of the analytic fallacy is from Gregory Pappas' comprehensive treatment on John Dewey's ethics.
Lecture 8: 4 Major Theories of Perception
You will need to know these four major theories of perception as it relates to epistemology and metaphysics for the final exam. It is in PDF powerpoint.  It is in color. So be careful if you intend to print them up.
Supplement to Virtue Ethics: Socrates
 This chart offers a summary of Socrates' contribution to virtue ethics
Lecture 20: Problem of Evil
It is in powerpoint.
Lecture 21: Plato's Republic
 Know this chart for final exam (political philosophy).
Lecture 22b: Introduction to Philosophical Aesthetics
This is a more complete overview of my lecture on philosophical aesthetics.  It is in powerpoint. Along with lecture 22a, know for final exam (SFA students).
Lecture 23: Plato's Aesthetics
 Know for final exam.
Lecture 24: Plato's Aesthetics
 Here is a supplement to help you as you prepare for your final exam.  This information will prove helpful for final exam but will not necessarily be tested from it.  It is in powerpoint.
Lecture 25: Objective/Subjective Beauty
 Know this information for final exam. It is in powerpoint.
Lecture 26: John Dewey and Aesthetic Experience
 Understand what is meant by non-aesthetic and aesthetic experience according to Dewey (final exam).
Lecture 27: Can Beauty Point us to God?
 Here is a more complete presentation from my lecture showing the relationship between philosophy of religion and aesthetics.  The evidences for objective beauty will be most helpful to know for final exam.
Required Reading: Aesthetic Universals by Denis Dutton
 Greetings. This is required reading for both Introduction to Philosophy classes. This is also required for Wednesday class in view of not having class on 11/16/2011. 
Required Reading on Political Philosophy
 Please read the article, "Political Philosophy" found at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy website (IEP). The article is by Alexander Moseley.  This is also required for all philosophy students. 
supplement # 7: Natural Moral Law & Decision-Making

Handout on natural moral law and decision-making. 

Introduction: Welcome to Existentialism

Here is an introduction to existentialism, both theistic and atheistic. 

SFASU: Philosophy Study Review

Philosophy study guide for exams in this course. 

Lecture 22a: Introduction to Philosophical Aesthetics
This is the first lecture in philosophical aesthetics for SFA Students.
Supplement # 18: Questions for Personal Philosophical Assessment

Questions for personal reflection for students of philosophy. 

Site Mailing List 
"We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us." ~ Marshall McLuhan

Site Powered By
    RBK Designs
    Online web site design