We all know “the big questions” that have been asked for millennia across all cultures: Is there a God? Do we have free will? What is the mind or soul and is it distinct from the body? What is truth? What is knowledge? The questions are easy to ask but very difficult to answer. We’ll explore various answers to these questions and more, not merely with a historical interest, but with an eye to determining what the arguments are for people taking their respective positions and assessing whether their arguments are sound. By the end of the semester, students will not only have developed a set of skills and acquired the level of knowledge required to think about these issues in depth, but will also have developed their own arguments and answers to these questions. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for PHIL 101 and satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.
Reid Blackman is a member of Colgate’s philosophy department, where he teaches a broad range of courses that focus on ethical issues, including especially the foundations of morality. He has published work on ethics, the emotions, free will, and Nietzsche.