PHIL 127
Meaning and Value Spring 2025 (also offered Fall 2024)
Division II Writing Skills

Class Details

What gives an individual life meaning? Pleasure? Success in fulfilling desires? Flourishing in ways distinctive to a rational agent or a human being (including, for example, developing rational capacities and self-mastery, succeeding in worthwhile projects, cultivating relationships, living morally, developing spiritually)? Can we be mistaken about how well our lives are going, or about what has value? What are the main sources of uncertainty here? Does the fact that our lives will end threaten their meaning? How can science contribute to our understanding of these issues? We’ll examine these and related questions through historical and contemporary readings. This course aims to teach skills required for good philosophical thinking, including those involved in reading texts closely, reconstructing and evaluating arguments, articulating ideas clearly in discussion, and crafting well-structured and carefully-reasoned papers.
The Class: Format: tutorial; Students will meet in trios for this tutorial. We will meet on a fixed weekly schedule agreed to by the instructor and participants.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3517
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Four lead tutorial papers (5-6 pages in length), seven critiques (2 pages in length), and one rewrite.
Prerequisites: First-years and sophomores only.
Enrollment Preferences: First-years and sophomores, and students who need to fulfill their 100-level requirement for the philosophy major. This tutorial is an appropriate first course in PHIL.
Unit Notes: This tutorial meets the 100-level PHIL major requirement.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Each student will write a lead tutorial paper (5-6 pages in length) or a peer critique (2 pages) in alternating weeks. The instructor will provide timely comments on writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.

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