Introduction to Philosophy


  2. A. Course Title: Introduction to Philosophy
    B. Course Number: PI 213 - 30101
    C. Semester: Fall 2019
    D. Days/Time: M W F 11:00:00 AM - 11:50:00 AM
    E. Credit Hours: 3
    F. Instructor: Hulsey, Dallas
    G. Office: Mansur Hall (MH) 111
    H. Email Address:
    I. Office Phone: (575) 492-2833
    J. Office Hours: Monday: 8:30:00 AM-10:00:00 AM (MST); 12:00:00 PM-1:00:00 PM (MST);
    Wednesday: 8:30:00 AM-10:00:00 AM (MST);
    Thursday: 8:30:00 AM-12:00:00 PM (MST);
    Friday: 8:30:00 AM-10:00:00 AM (MST); 12:00:00 PM-1:00:00 PM (MST);
    Office hours are open to live and distance students. If my office hours do not meet your needs, please call or email to schedule an appointment.
    K. Time Zone: Mountain Time
    L. Prerequisite(s): College level reading skills.
    M. Corequisite(s):
    N. Class Location: MH121

    This course provides a survey of the philosophical problems posed by the great thinkers from antiquity through modern times. Students are introduced to the adventure of philosophizing and the art of reflective thinking, pointing toward formulating a philosophy of life. This is a three credit hour course.


    Philosophy asks us to examine and question basic assumptions about reality and human beings. Philosophy promotes critical thinking and asks questions about topics as diverse as morality, religion, and knowledge. The ultimate goal of philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom to guide our choices and improve our lives both personally and professionally.

    PI 213 counts as an elective general education course at New Mexico Colleges. If you plan to transfer to another school in the future, please check with the particular institution to ensure transferability.



    The textbook for this class is an ebook through an online service called Perusall. You may purchase access online when accessing the book through Canvas, or you may purchase an access code through the NMJC bookstore.

    Palmer, Donald. Does the Center Hold?: an Introduction to Western Philosophy. 7th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2016. ISBN: 9781259846052

    A webcam with a microphone.


    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    Students attending New Mexico Junior College will be evaluated according to the following grading scale:

    						90 - 100%	=	A
    						80 -  89%	=	B
    						70 -  79%	=	C
    						60 -  69%	=	D
    					 	 0 -  59%	=	F

    Grade Distribution:
    Exam 1: 10%
    Exam 2: 10%
    Exam 3: 10%
    Exam 4: 10%
    Exam 5: 10%
    Final: 15%
    Response Papers: 10%
    Presentation: 5%
    Daily assignments: 20%

    Some assignments, such as the response paper and presentation must be submitted to pass the course. Students who do not submit these assignments will be blocked in Canvas from moving forward in the course.

    1. Please note that all exams are cumulative and are administered online through Canvas in Respondus Lockdown browser. You may take each exam as many times as you like before the due date and keep the highest score.

    2. Late work on daily assignments worth less than fifty points is not accepted. However, students can repeat SoftChalk lessons infinitely; repeat each lesson until you get a perfect score.

    3. Late work on major assignments worth more than fifty points is accepted for three days (72 hours) after an assignment is due with a 10% late penalty. To arrange a late exam, you must contact Professor Hulsey within 48 hours after the exam closes. Under special circumstances, such as prolonged jury duty and military service, late work may be accepted without penalty at the professor's discretion. Contact Professor Hulsey as early as possible if you feel your situation qualifies as a special circumstance, and we will discuss the situation. Note that Canvas may not prevent you from submitting a late assignment, but it will mark the submission late. Late assignment submission is no guarantee that the assignment will receive a grade; the late policy will be enforced regardless of whether Canvas accepts the late submission or not.

    4. Professor Hulsey grades daily assignments within twenty-four hours and major assignments within seventy-two hours. If there is a delay in returning graded work, Professor Hulsey will post an announcement in Canvas.

    5. Students are responsible for submitting the correct files in the correct format with the correct file name. Resubmissions for mistakes with files is not allowed after I have graded the assignment. Be sure you are submitting the correct file!

    6. A student who anticipates missing class for school activities or any other reason must notify Professor Hulsey beforehand to discuss arrangements for making up any work or activities during the planned absence.

    7. All dates and times for this course refer to the Mountain Standard Time Zone. If you change your time zone settings in Canvas, this can alter due dates, resulting in late work.


    New Mexico Junior College’s institutional student learning outcomes represent the knowledge and abilities developed by students attending New Mexico Junior College. Upon completion students should achieve the following learning outcomes along with specific curriculum outcomes for respective areas of study:


    New Mexico Junior College's Humanities Department uses the Core Competencies established by the Higher Education Department in the State of New Mexico. By the end of the semester, students should be able to:
    • Analyze and critically interpret significant primary texts and/or works of art (this includes fine art, literature, music, theatre, and film).
    • Compare art forms, modes of thought and expression, and processes across a range of historical periods and/or structures (e.g., political, geographic, economic, social, cultural, religious, intellectual).
    • Recognize and articulate the diversity of human experience across a range of historical periods and/or cultural perspectives.
    • Draw on historical and/or cultural perspectives to evaluate any or all of the following: contemporary problems/issues, contemporary modes of expression, and contemporary thought.


    By the end of the semester, the successful student should be able to:
    • Define philosophy.
    • Outline the concerns and issues of each major branch of philosophy.
    • Compare and contrast the major schools of philosophy, including realism, existentialism, phenomenology, positivism, idealism, materialism, dualism, pragmatism, etc.
    • Identify major philosophers, such as Aristotle, Plato, Confucius, Kant, Nietzsche, Wollstonecraft, Sarte, etc. and explain their contributions to philosophical thought.
    • Explain specific philosophical issues like the mind and body problem, the problem of evil, social contract theory, justice, the definition of knowledge, etc. and express a well-reasoned stance on each issue.
    • Analyze a specific philosophical question or problem from multiple points of view, including utilitarianism, Kantian categorical imperatives, existentialism, etc.


    Class Policies:
    1. Regular class attendance and participation is essential to the objectives of this course. Daily participation is required. Any student who misses a consecutive week of class or misses a total of two weeks of class without making prior arrangements with Dr. Hulsey will receive permanent zeros for any work submitted to Canvas until meeting with Dr. Hulsey to arrange and sign an attendance contract. If a student chooses to stop attending class regularly, the student must withdraw from the class. The instructor will not drop students from the course.

    2. The student is responsible for reading assignments, quizzes, tests, or any other assignments. Students should keep close track of all announcements and the course calendar. Quizzes, tests, and other assignments have specific due dates. It is the student's responsibility to keep up with all assignments.

    3. Any form of academic dishonesty, cheating, unauthorized collaboration, or plagiarism will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the semester. Whether intentional or accidental, plagiarism is theft and a violation of academic honesty. Plagiarism includes submitting assignments you did not write or taking portions of your assignment from a source without giving credit. Plagiarism also occurs when altering wording while retaining the ideas of an uncredited source (paraphrasing). Submitting an assignment or part of an assignment done for another course without the permission of both instructors is a violation of academic honesty. If you wish to submit work originally created for another course, you must receive written permission from both professors. To avoid plagiarism, use quotation marks to enclose phrases and sentences from sources. Use MLA parenthetical citations and works cited entries for all paraphrases and quotations. For additional information about plagiarism and citing sources in MLA format, refer to chapters eleven and twelve of Harbrace Essentials. Your papers are analyzed for plagiarism by and added to the database when you submit them. Students who wish to appeal a professor’s decision regarding this policy should use the Academic Dishonesty Process published in the New Mexico Junior College Student Handbook.

    4. College level courses include readings and discussions that may include “adult” topics and language.

    6. Bookmark for direct access to Canvas even if the NMJC website is down.

    7. I generally respond to Canvas messages with questions in less than twenty-four hours. If twenty-four hours passes, and you have not heard from me, please resend your message.


    Students will be held responsible for the information on these pages.

    Academic Honesty
    Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in online academic and professional matters. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet these standards. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other College records. Cheating or gaining illegal information for any type of graded work is considered dishonest and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    Any student requiring special accommodations should contact the Special Needs Student Services Coordinator at (575) 492-2576 or by e-mail at

    Attendance Policy
    Attendance is required at every session of each course for which the student is enrolled. When unavoidable circumstances make attendance impossible, students must provide a satisfactory explanation of their absences to their professors. College-sponsored activities are considered excused absences and the appropriate sponsor of those students who will be absent from class will notify professors. Students having absences due to college-sponsored activities will need to make arrangements with the affected classes / professor to take care of required work; however, arrangements for make-ups should be made within a reasonable time frame, usually within one week of the absence. Regarding make-up work, absences due to late registration are considered the same as regular absences.

    Cell Phones/Pagers
    All cell phones and pagers must be turned off when the student is participating in any lecture, laboratory, or other learning activity.

    Classroom Conduct
    The professor is responsible for maintaining a class environment best suited for effective learning. By registering for this class, the student is assumed to have entered into an agreement with New Mexico Junior College and the professor to attend the class regularly and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive behavior may result in the student being removed from the class.

    Food and Drink Policy
    Food items and soft drinks may not be consumed in NMJC classrooms. Students are also discouraged from bringing food and drink items into the classroom even though these items remain in sealed packaging. Bottled water is permissible.

    No Children in the Classroom
    In order to adhere to instructional procedures as well as maintain the safety of children, NMJC’s policy of no children in the classrooms (lecture, lab, etc.) will be followed.

    Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports, or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the academic honesty policy and is considered cheating.

    Smoking/Use of Tobacco
    New Mexico Junior College is cognizant of the health hazards associated with smoking / use of tobacco for the smoker, as well as the non-smoker. In an effort to provide a healthy environment for students, employees, and others who may frequent the campus, NMJC prohibits smoking / use of tobacco inside any campus building or facility.

    Tutoring Assistance
    Free tutoring services are available to all NMJC students through Brainfuse and the Academic Success Center located at the Pannell Library on the 1st floor.

    Withdrawal Policy
    Regular, punctual attendance is required for all classes at NMJC. Although the professor has the right to drop any student who has missed the equivalent of 2 weeks of instruction (based on a 16 week semester) whether it’s a face to face, online, or a hybrid course, it is not guaranteed that the professor will drop the student. If the student chooses to stop attending a class, he/she should withdraw from the class by accessing your student account in the T-Bird Web Portal at, or submitting the required paperwork to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    Course Outline

    The following outline is intended to provide you with a rough overview of major assignments. It does not include daily assignments like quizzes, discussion posts, and the like, which are due on a regular basis starting in the first week of class. You will receive detailed instructions on these smaller assignments in each Canvas learning module, and due dates always appear in Canvas.

    Week 1: Syllabus / Introductory assignments

    Week 2: What Are We Doing in This Class: Is Philosophy Possible?

    Week 3: Truth is Beauty, Beauty is Truth: Rationalist Epistemology

    Week Four: Exam I; What You See is What You Get: Empiricist Epistemology

    Week Five: Who’s on First, What’s on Second: Ontology

    Week Six: Exam II; Mount Olympus, Mount Moriah, and other Godly Places: Philosophy of Religion

    Week Seven: The Largest Airline in the Free World: Philosophy of Freedom

    Week Eight: Exam III; Thou Shalt Become Perfected: Ethics

    Week Nine: Ethical Case studies

    Week 10: Extreme Measures; Response paper due

    Week 11: Different Strokes for Different Folks: Critiques of Traditional Ethical Theories

    Week 12: Exam IV; Let Them Eat Cake: Political and Social Philosophy

    Week 13: But is it Art?: Philosophy of Art

    Week 14: Exam V

    Week 15: The Matrix

    Week 16: Discussion of The Matrix; Webcast Presentation Due

    Week 17: Final Exam