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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2003

T C PHL • PHL 610QA: Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39925 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
WAG 302

Course Description

This (first) semester of Plan II philosophy will be devoted to a very broad-based study of world philosophy, including India, China, and the early Greeks, then a study of ethics from Plato and Aristotle to Nietzsche and the existentialists. The course will begin with a quick survey of ideas and movements in the ancient world, and a discussion of the relationship between philosophy and religion. Then, with conscientious political correctness, we will consider various questions in the philosophy of religion. What is religion? What is spirituality? Must one believe in God to be religious? Is there a God? How do we know? If there is a God, then why is there so much suffering and injustice in the world? How should we deal with suffering and tragedy? Should we fear death? What is the soul? What should we do about our souls? Accordingly, the second half of the course will consist of a study of some of the most important questions in the history of ethics (Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre). The first term, there will be two hour exams, one of which may be replaced by a paper (with the instructor's permission) and a three-hour final. The course is restricted to plan II students. There will be two one hour exams, one of which may be replaced by a paper (with the instructor's permission) and (tentatively) a three-hour final.

About the professor: Robert Solomon is Quincy Lee Centennial Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and is interested in European philosophy, ethics (including questions about ethics in business) and questions in philosophical psychology and anthropology, especially the nature of emotions. He is the author of over forty books, including The Passions, From Hegel to Existentialism, In the Spirit of Hegel, About Love, A Passion for Justice, A Short Hhistory of Philosophy, and The Joy of Philosophy. He has been teaching Plan II for a hugely embarrassing number of years but can't break the habit. He has won several major teaching awards including the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT. He gives many seminars and lectures for various schools, public groups and Fortune 500 corporations. He used to play jazz saxophone until he found out that his only talent was listening. His wife, Kathleen Higgins, also teaches at UT (Nietzsche, aesthetics, and Chinese philosophy).

Grading Policy

2 exams (or 5-8 page papers) 20% each Class participation, journals and short assignments 25% Term paper (with preliminary drafts) 35%.


Solomon. R, & Martin, C. ed., Morality & the Good Life Solomon. R, ed., From Africa to Zen Solomon. R, Spirituality for the Skeptic Course packet: I.T. Printing,


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