Archives for the month of: January, 2016

Week 5 (2/15 and 2/17): Who am I?  What makes me me?

Monday: NO CLASS due to Presidents’ Day

Wednesday: Perspectives on identity, the self, the mind, and consciousness.

Please read before Wednesday: Chapters 2 and 4 of Blackburn, Think.  Chapter 2 is about the mind, chapter 4 is about the self.  Please also read  Ludwig Wittgenstein, “The Diary and The Beetle in the Box” and Jorge Luis Borges, “Borges and I”.
Handed out in class: excerpt from The Questions of King Milinda.


Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge and truth.

MONDAY (2/8): Some philosophical perspectives on knowing and doubt.

Please read before Monday:

Knowing (Chapter 1 of Blackburn, Think)

Excerpts from Descartes’ First Meditation and excerpts from Berkeley, The Principles of Human Knowledge


WEDNESDAY (2/10): Epistemic justice and injustice

Miranda Fricker Precis paper on Epistemic Injustice ; excerpts from Boaventura de Sousa Santos et al, Another Knowledge is Possible

OPTIONAL: If you like, you may listen to an interview with Miranda Fricker, discussing her work on epistemic injustice: (about 15 minutes–you can download it as an MP3)

This will be distributed in class on Monday February 1: Moral dilemmas handout.  No need to read this one in advance of Monday, but you may if you want to.
Please read BEFORE WEDNESDAY’S CLASS: Kwame Anthony Appiah, “What will future generations condemn us for?”

On Monday we will also watch this video, Michael Sandel, “The Lost Art of Democratic Debate.”

Welcome!  This is the website for Introduction to Philosophy (PHL 101) as taught by Monica Poole at Bunker Hill Community College in Spring 2016.  As you can see, there are already some earlier posts on this blog.  They are from earlier semesters of the course.  You are welcome to look through them, but remember that they do not apply to our course.

Yesterday, I handed out the syllabus, and a one-page handout titled “What is philosophy and what is it for?”  If you click on those links (“syllabus”, “What is philosophy…”) you will find those documents.

On Monday, we’ll do introductions–we’ll sit in a circle and you will introduce yourselves to each other.  We might do something else, something small, but there is nothing you will need to do in advance for that.

On Wednesday, we will have a discussion.  In order to prepare for this discussion, you will need to read these three speeches. If you click on each author’s name, below, you will get an online version of the relevant handout.


James Baldwin, “In Search of A Majority”, adapted from a speech delivered at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, 1960.


Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education,” delivered at Douglass College (part of Rutgers University) in New Jersey, 1977.


David Foster Wallace, “This is Water,” delivered at Kenyon College in Ohio, 2005.