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Introduction to Philosophy

by University of New Orleans

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Course Description

This course is a survey of the early history of Western Philosophy, beginning with the ancient Greeks.  The focus of the course is not on any one particular philosopher or school of thought.  Rather, we will be examining various ways of thinking, comparing and contrasting the claims of different thinkers (about the nature of the world generally, and the nature of mentality in particular), and trying to discern what it is about certain thinkers that makes them “philosophers” - that is, when a person's thoughts or writings are considered to be genuinely "philosophical".  To that end, we will begin with an discussion of the distinction between narrative (mythology) and argumentation (philosophy), examine the pre-Socratic philosophers (From Thales through The Sophists), the inquiry of Socrates, the rational theory of Plato, the empirical turn of Aristotle, and finish with three approaches to achieving happiness: hedonism, stoicism, and skepticism.
Introduction to Philosophy
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