Philosophy & the Humanities Commons

PHL 103: Intro To Philosophy

Introduction to philosophical reflection and study of some central philosophical questions in the Western and non-western intellectual traditions, including questions of ethics, human knowledge, and metaphysics. The course focuses on the relationship between philosophical conceptions of human flourishing and practical wisdom. Prerequisites: None

This course will be taught by many different instructors who will be responsible for selecting topics that will address the course objectives. Inevitably, the topics will vary from section to section. Given the course objectives, every course will cover the following topics: Philosophical positions that relate to the Catholic intellectual tradition, philosophical conceptions of human flourishing, the use of philosophical conceptions of human flourishing to analyze human problems, perspectives from non-western cultures, social injustice and institutional structures, theoretical tools, and contemporary issues and global dimensions.

Methods of instruction may include: lecture, instruction on close, critical reading of assigned material (e.g., written responses to reading guides, guided classroom discussion, oral presentations), co-curricular experiences (e.g., guest speakers), and written assignments including essays that require students to produce clear and logical papers.

First Year Immersion Experience

A method of instruction unique to Humanities Commons courses is participation in the First Year Immersion experience, which is available to all students in PHL 103. Tickets and transportation to the Schuster Center for a performance of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance symphony, opera or ballet are provided and the event is incorporated into curriculum across the four Humanities Commons courses. Events have included:

  • 2014: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Symphony
  • 2015: Dead Man Walking, Opera
  • 2016: Romeo and Juliet, Ballet

The First Year Immersion experience is further supported by the programming of the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages Rites.Rights.Writes. initiative, the Alumni Chair in Humanities programming and ArtsLIVE initiatives.

Learning Goals & Outcomes

Humanities Commons Student Learning Goals

PHL 103 is a first-year Humanities Commons course within the Common Academic Program. As such, its student learning outcomes are designed to support the six student learning goals of the Humanities Commons. 

By completing the courses within the Humanities Commons, students will:

  • Read primary texts closely and critically (including self-critically);
  • Analyze, in writing, a variety of texts contributing to larger historical conversations, debates, and traditions and as resources for understanding and appreciating the complexities of human identity, dignity, and experience;
  • Develop an understanding of their place in community, country, and world in relationship to multiple others, with particular attention to differences – such as class, gender, and race – upon which social inequalities are constructed and maintained;
  • Engage central concepts of Catholic intellectual tradition as they contribute to humanistic inquiry and reflection in the relevant academic discipline (English, History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies);
  • Examine the question of what it means to be human from a disciplinary perspective, and in the process make connections among disciplines and develop an appreciation for the ways in which learning is a process of integrating knowledge
  • Understand and practice academic honesty as foundational to the making and sharing of knowledge in a community of learners that is both local and global.
PHL 103 Student Learning Outcomes

The course focuses on the relationship between philosophical conceptions of human flourishing and practical wisdom. On completion of this course, students will:

  1. be able to analyze, in writing, philosophical texts and positions that have shaped the development of the Catholic intellectual tradition in the past or that can function to extend and challenge it today.
  2. understand the philosophical conceptions of human flourishing and will be able, at a basic level, to use this knowledge to analyze real human problems and to thoughtfully construct possible solutions.
  3. be able to demonstrate effective use of perspectives from non-western cultures to advance understanding of philosophical issues.
  4. be able to analyze and evaluate philosophically forms of social injustice and the institutional structures that sustain them, and acquire theoretical tools useful in addressing them.
  5. employ the philosophical positions and arguments they have learned to analyze and evaluate an important contemporary issue, including its global dimensions.

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