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

Spring 2005

T C PHL610 • Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

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Course Description

This semester of Plan II philosophy will be devoted to a very broad-based study of world philosophy, including India, China, and the early Greeks to Plato. The course will begin with a survey of ideas and movements in the ancient world, “the Axial period,” 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? Why do we die and how should we think about death? And so on. The second half of the course will be devoted to the notions of the soul and/or self and what is now called “the philosophy of mind.” The final weeks of the course will look at one essential aspect of the soul and the mind, the emotions (or what used to be called “the passions”).

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 History of Philosophy, The Joy of Philosophy, Living with Nietzsche, and Spirituality for the Skeptic. 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 and classical violin 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

Two exams: 20% each Class participation, journals and group assignments: 25% Term paper (with preliminary drafts): 35%


R. Solomon, Introducing Philosophy, 8th ed. K. Higgins, R. Solomon; From Africa to Zen, 2nd ed. R. Solomon, Spirituality for the Skeptic


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