Philosophy is concerned with genuine and fundamental questions that are universal to humankind. What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of reality? What is good and evil? Does God exist? What can we know with certainty? In this course, we will take an historical approach to these and other basic problems in philosophy. We will examine how great minds tackled big philosophical questions, and how some of the answers they gave can help us understand human nature and various periods of civilization, past and present.
We will participate in the great philosophical debate that has shaped the world in which we live. We will study the theories of great thinkers, and how they criticised and built upon the theories of those that came before them. The course begins with ancient Greek philosophers’ influence on framing key philosophical problems in metaphysics (the study of reality), epistemology (the study of knowledge) and ethics (the study of good and evil). We will then examine Medieval philosophers’ investigation into the relationship between faith and reason, and their attempt to prove God’s existence. Next, we focus on the philosophical, political, and ethical ideas of Renaissance and Late Modern thinkers. Finally, we will turn our attention to the Existentialists and their critique of traditional morality, rationalism and freedom.