Philosophy: A History of Ideas

Course Code: PHIL 120

Academic Year: 2023-2024

Philosophy begins with wonder and leads us to ask the big questions about ourselves, the world and the universe in a rational and systematic manner. Philosophy, which literally means the love of wisdom, is the quest or search for answers to the ultimate questions about life and death: What am I? Why am I here? Does life have a meaning or purpose? What is the good life? Why is the world the way it is? Does God exist? Can God's existence be rationally demonstrated, or is God simply an ideological fiction and infantile illusion? Are we free to choose our destiny, or are our lives determined by forces beyond our control? This course will critically examine these and other fundamental questions of philosophy by focusing on some of the major thinkers in the history of philosophy and ideas. The course will begin with Socrates's search for wisdom and self-knowledge. Next, Augustine, who tries to reconcile philosophy with religion and faith with reason, will be discussed. Then, Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, will be discussed, and his arguments for the existence of the self and God based on reason alone will be examined. The course will end by looking at Nietzsche's existentialism and his constructivist arguments for self, world and God.