Phil 87 Freshman Seminar: What Does It All Mean? 9 Philosophical Dilemmas

Room: H&SS 7077 Prof. Eric Watkins
Times: Fri 9:00-11:00/11:00-1:00 Office: H&SS 8018
Term: Fall Quarter 2006 Office tel: 822-0082
Office Hours: by appointment E-mail:

I. Reading Assignments (subject to adjustment):

9-22 Introduction
9-29 A. Death
Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Ch. 9 Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 1
  B. The Meaning of Life
Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Ch. 10 Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 2
10-6 A. Moral Luck
Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 3
  B. Right and Wrong
Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Ch. 7 Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 5
10-13 A. The Nature of the Mind
Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Ch. 4 Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 11 & 12
10-20 or 27 A. Knowledge and Skepticism
Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Chs. 2 & 3
  B. The Origin and Resolution of Dilemmas
Nagel, Mortal Questions, Ch. 14
11-10 Paper Due

II. Texts:

Nagel, Thomas. Mortal Questions, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

III. Requirements:

One Presentation (30%)

One Paper (30%)

Class Participation (40%)

Presentations: Everyone must do (at least) one 15 minute presentation (in a group of 2 or 3).

Paper: The paper should be short (2-3 pages) and treat how you think that a particular issue that was presented in the readings and discussed in class, should be pursued further. It can be on the topic that you present in class.

Class Participation: Class discussion is essential.