Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PHL 201
Course Title:
Being and Knowing
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces philosophical questions and approaches associated with metaphysics (being) and epistemology (knowing) via the works of important figures in the history of philosophy. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students completing this course should be able to:

  • Recognize and evaluate the philosophical assumptions embedded in one€™s own ideas and the ideas that permeate our culture in order to critically assess the truth and validity of arguments from diverse sources.
  • Identify and reflect on philosophical arguments from the history of philosophy in order to effectively communicate with others that might have divergent points of view.
  • Recognize and reflect on the interconnectedness and the historical development of philosophical ideas in order to be conscious of the role  philosophical ideas play in one€™s own culture and the cultures of others.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies will include some of the following:

·       Essays in the form of in-class exams, short papers, or term papers.

·       Student presentations.

·       Class and small group discussions.

·       Portfolios.

·       Service learning projects.

·       Attendance.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The course will focus on the following topics and issues with

a primary focus on the Western philosophical tradition:

·       Metaphysics.

·       Epistemology.

·       What is a philosophical question?

·       How have some historically significant philosophers (including, but not limited to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibnitz, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Russell, Wittgenstein) responded to philosophical questions?

·       Epistemological and metaphysical issues that are raised in other areas of philosophy (e. g., ethics, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, philosophy of science, etc.)

            Competencies and Skills: Students will learn to:

·       Comprehend philosophical writings.

·       Paraphrase, illustrate, and explain ideas contained in philosophical writings.

·       Critique and challenge philosophical ideas.

·       Write philosophically coherent arguments.