Proposed:  Intro to Epistemology and Metaphysics

Course Description

This course introduces students to two important branches of philosophy—epistemology, the study of the nature of knowledge) and, metaphysics (the study of the nature of reality)—as well as the basic principles of good argumentation and critical analysis. Students will have the opportunity to explore a number of central philosophical questions, including: the difference between knowledge and opinion; the role of evidence in fixing beliefs; cognitive biases and other impediments to critical thought; the nature of consciousness; the relationship between mind and body; and, the possibility of free will; and, the existence of a god.

This course will have two recurring themes. First, we will regularly consider the relationship between these two branches of philosophy, and how our understanding in one may shape our conclusions in the other. Second, we will pay close attention to how these seemingly abstract questions are grounded in practical considerations.

Course Texts

  1. Crumley, Jack S. Introducing Philosophy: Knowledge & Reality. (Broadview, 2016)
  2. Various readings on electronic reserve.

Course Requirements

Requirement Description Weight Date
Reflections Weekly reflections on the week’s topic. 10% Weekly
Midterm One midterm examination on the material from weeks one to six (inclusive). 20% Week 06
Major Assignment One cumulative assignment that emphasizes the material after week six. 30% End of term
Final Examination One sit-down final examination. 30% See Registrar
Participation Assessed on the quality and quantity of participation in seminar. 10% Ongoing

Tentative Course Schedule

Week Topic Readings
1 “Why study philosophy?” E: James, W. “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life”
2 “Skepticism” C: Chapter 1.
3 “Knowledge” C: Chapter 2.
4 “Theories of Justification” C: Chapter 3.
6 Midterm Midterm
7 “Perception” C: Chapter 4.
8 “Mind and Body” C: Chapter 8.
9 “Who am I?” C: Chapter 9.
10 “What is free?” C: Chapter 10.
12 “Is there a god?” C: Chapter 11.


C Crumley, Jack S. Introducing Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality.
E Available on electronic reserve.