Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

PHILOS 1E03 Problems Of Philos

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Richard Arthur


Office: University Hall 305

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23470


Office Hours: M 12:30-1:30 pm, W 2:00-3:00 pm

Course Objectives:

Classes: W 19:00-21:00 / MDCL 1305 + tutorials   

This is a first course in philosophy, centered on some central philosophical concerns. Among the issues we will be examining are: whether God exists, how we know what we know, what constitutes scientific method and its objectivity, whether the answers to such questions are gender-dependent, how the mind is related to the body, whether we have free will, what it is to be moral, what it is to be a person, and what constitutes justice. These topics correspond (roughly) to the chapters of our main text, and the lectures each week will illuminate and be illuminated by these readings.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text

First Philosophy, (2nd Edition), Andrew Bailey, Broadview Press, 2011 (ISBN: 9781551119717; $69.95).

Course Website

I will be using Avenue to Learn ( and a dedicated website ( ) to post regular announcements and information about the course, lists of supplementary readings, additional resources, and information and advice about assessment (including essay questions). You are expected to check in every couple of days.

Method of Assessment:

Course Requirements

Tutorial participation                                                                                                               (10%)

Short paper 1 (1000-1250 words, due Oct. 21st)                                                                                        (30%)

Short paper 2 (1300-1500 words, due Nov. 18th)                                                                                        (30%)

Final Exam in the exam period:                                                                                                                        (30%)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Other Course Information: