Ways of Knowing Syllabus

PHIL 2200 “Ways of Knowing”
Online course for Kennesaw State University

Instructor: Paul Boshears, PhD
Contact: Please use our D2L email client

Course Description

Through both philosophical and critical examination students will be responsible for learning about the different ways of knowing and thinking in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences including ethical and religious perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on the nature and purpose of philosophical inquiry as applied to selected issues within philosophy and the broader implications of these methods and questions for other disciplines and in everyday contexts.

In this class you will learn about the different ways that people from a variety of cultures and historical contexts have responded to perennial problems and how those responses have sculpted our contemporary situation.

Learning Objectives

PHIL 2200 satisfies one of Kennesaw State University’s general education program requirements. It addresses the CRITICAL THINKING general education learning outcome(s). The learning outcome states: Students will evaluate and synthesize information to support ideas and perspectives.

For more information about KSU’s General Education program requirements and associated learning outcomes, please visit the University’s course catalog.

“What Will I Get From This Class?”

Learning Outcome 1
Through the close study of a selection of philosophers and thinkers, you will be able to identify and evaluate some of the processes and critical debates that have sculpted human history.

Learning Outcome 2
With this knowledge you will be able to situate your thinking—and the thinking of others—in a philosophically-informed context.

Learning Outcome 3
As you complete this course you will demonstrate your critical thinking acumen by completing multi-modal writing activities such as in-class writings and discussions, generating a critical evaluation of a thinker discussed in class, and creating and revising a personal philosophy essay.

Learning Outcome 4
You will be assessed on your ability to effectively communicate your identification, analysis, and evaluations of arguments and truth-claims.

Learning Outcome 5
It is my expectation that through this process you will discover and address personal biases by presenting convincing reasons and support for the conclusions you’ve drawn from class-related activities.

Required Texts and Materials

Allen, Danielle S. Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)

Plato, Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, Second Edition (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2002)

Ivanhoe, Philip J. and Bryan Van Norden, eds. Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Second Edition (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001)

Additional required readings will be made available to you through D2L.

***Students will need a computer that has a functioning web camera as well as microphone in order to complete the assignments required in this course.***

Situating this Class

The mission of the Department of History & Philosophy is to to provide the highest quality in teaching such that students gain deepened understandings of their own culture, as well as the cultures and world views of others. Through the execution of this mission students are expected to embrace the importance of life-long learning, possess enhanced written and oral communication skills, and be prepared to serve as able advocates for the betterment of society.

I have designed this class to satisfy the Critical Thinking dimensions of Kennesaw State University’s General Education Program requirements. The University expects that this course create the opportunity for students to:

  1. Articulate a position on an issue and support it by evaluating evidence relevant to the position, considering opposing positions or evidence, and evaluating the implications and/or consequences of this issue.
    And
  2. Evaluate and synthesize information to support ideas and perspectives.

From this description we understand that our time together in this class will be spent documenting the work of critical thinking and communicating.

My role in this class is to provide an environment in which each of you can articulate your thinking through text-based media. In order for this environment to cohere among us, I task myself with observing and inducing discussions between us.

Reading and Writing Are Difficult

It is my great privilege to work with you here because I was once a student, like you, here at Kennesaw State.

I won’t pretend to state that I know your struggles, because I’ve yet to hear you talk about your struggles and aspirations (although I will spend this semester with you learning these from you).

My experience has shown me that writing and reading are difficult tasks.

Often it is really, really difficult for me to find the appropriate terms or phrases to effectively communicate what I intend. I have—very frequently—denigrated myself for the pace at which I read certain texts, especially philosophy texts.

I expect that it will be just as difficult for you as well, it may be even more difficult for you.

And that’s okay.

This class is designed to hone your reading, writing, and thinking habits.

In this class we are going to read challenging texts and we are going to find ourselves thinking differently about ourselves and how our works are situated in the world.

I will be assessing both the clarity of the arguments you put forward and the evidence you provide to support those arguments in your writing.

Click here to learn about how you will be assessed in this course.

Click here for the policies governing this course.

Click here for the course schedule.