Classic Thinkers (PHIL*1000) | College of Arts

Classic Thinkers (PHIL*1000)

Code and section: PHIL*1000*01

Term: Fall 2018

Instructor: Peter Eardley


An introduction to philosophy through readings from the classical and contemporary periods. The aim of the course is to give students a sense that the major issues and questions within philosophy, although initially raised by thinkers of the past, are in fact perennial and therefore still relevant to us today.  We will accordingly examine a range of traditional topics, from a variety of historical periods, associated with such branches of philosophy as epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, metaphysics and ethics. Thinkers studied will include Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes and Kant. Questions to be addressed will include: Am I free to choose between right and wrong, or are all of my actions determined by antecedent causes? Does God exist and, if so, why does he or she permit evil to occur? Will I survive the death of my body? How can I be certain that I know anything? And why should I be moral if it pays me not to be?

Course outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.