Course Syllabus

Introduction to Philosophy

Spring, 2013

"I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it." The Matrix

Instructor: Ms. Mare Ambrose, B.S., M.A.T.

Course Name: PHIL 101 H1 CRN#22321

Email Contact:

Phone: 1-508-384-1387 (cell)

Description: An introductory examination of the problems and scope of philosophical inquiry: this course introduces the student to major branches of philosophy, including metaphysics, knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, and logic with attention to the historical development of philosophical thought. Prerequisites: English Composition I (ENGL101) and Preparation for College Reading II (ENGL092) or waiver or by placement testing results or permission of instructor.




English Composition I (ENGL 101) or waiver by placement test, or permission by the instructor.


Text/Multimedia: Introducing Philosophy Through Film: Key Texts, Discussion, and Film Selections. Richard Fumerton and  Diane Jeske.  Wiley-Blackwell.  2010. (ISBN# 978-1-4051-7101-4)

Writing Philosophy: A Student’s Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays by Lewis Vaughn (ISBN-13:978-0-19-517956-9).

Membership to Netflix or other access to films (don’t forget about the library – college and public).


Recommended but not required: Justice – What’s the Right Thing To Do? Michael Sandel. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. New York. 2007.


Various readings, radio podcasts, and films

Teaching Procedures

  1. Alternating face to face and online meetings
  2. Papers, discussions, and quizzes with instructor feedback using      rubrics and anecdotal review
  3. Introductions and teaching guides for each course topic and module
  4. Instructions for specific requirements and specifications for student      action and learning
  5. Electronic interactions – students may expect a response within 24      hours
         (email, discussion board, live chat)
  6. Large group, small group, and individual work experiences
  7. Discussion posts that invite responses, questions, discussions, and      reflections
  8. Use of outside content resources available in digital format
  9. Audio and/or video lectures and resources
  10. Multiple assessment experiences including quizzes, discussion posts,      peer responses and reviews, journal reactions, and reflections papers –      instructor feedback may be expected within 72 hours of submission

Specific Learning Outcomes


•       Read classical (the writings that constitute the canon of Western Philosophy) and contemporary readings of philosophical ideas and concepts.

  •     Identify and differentiate key philosophical topics      (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethic, Aesthetics and Logic) in the context of popular films

•       Identify the major philosophers and philosophical concepts generally accepted as central to Western Philosophy and understand the relationship between historic and philosophical eras.

•       Discuss philosophical questions using films as a springboard and write analytical essays that examine the arguments for and against a given position or philosophical concept discussed in class.

•       Identify the basic elements of logical arguments and differentiate invalid and valid reasoning.


Students are required to see the films as philosophical texts in themselves and not solely as entertainment. They are expected to be able to understand difficult texts and write thoughtful reflections that represent both the philosopher's ideas and the students’ own observations about those ideas. This course emphasizes reading, understanding, expressing oneself and listening to others. All students are required to participate in in-class and online discussions and to respect the opinions of others. It encourages questioning and the ability of individuals to make up their own minds yet also recognizes the importance of discussion and sharing in learning and thinking. Above all else, this course emphasizes communication within a larger group and hopes to create a community of people who listen to each other and learn from each other’s insights and knowledge.




Read and review the recommended texts for each section BEFORE coming to class.


Attend class on alternate weeks to watch a film and participate in discussions/activities related to the films.


Watch one additional recommended film for each section (branch of philosophy) See list on syllabus.


Participate in an online discussion on alternate weeks (graded discussions)


Write a 2-3 page paper reflection paper for each section (final grade

depends on the six best papers) – refers to both movies and the readings


Evaluation: Please keep track of all of your work for the duration of the term. All assignments will be collected on or before the assigned due dates. Class participation is a factor in your final grade measured by the degree of preparation and the quality of the discussion.

Basis for student grading: Class participation (including online discussions and conferences): 30%; Formal reflection papers: 30% (I will count the best SIX papers but the last paper is mandatory); Journal reactions: 20%; Quizzes and tests: 20%.

According to Massasoit's grading: A 93-100, A- 90-92, B+ 88-89, B 83-87, B- 80-82, C+ 78-79, C 73-77, C- 70-72, D+ 68-69, D 63-67, D- 60-62, F 59 and below. Note: Students have six months from the final day of class to question their final grades. Students who receive an Incomplete must complete the required work by the end of the next semester or the Incomplete automatically becomes an F.

Journals: Students are expected to keep notes on film content and the readings with thoughtful and well -documented reactions, citing evidence from text and film(s). Journals will be checked regularly – graded twice a semester. (20% of your grade)

Attendance and Tardy Policy:  Attendance during face-to-face sessions is taken at the beginning of each class. Each student is required to attend all classes and is responsible for all assigned work.  Students are expected to be on time for class and to remain for the entire period.  Each tardy in excess of 15 minutes will result in a half absence (each time) and early departure in excess of 15 minutes will also result in a half absence (each time).  Since attendance is encouraged, if you miss fewer than the equivalent of TWO in- class meetings, you will not have to take the final exam.


Electronic Gadgets:  Students are asked to turn their cell phones to silent mode so that they do not disturb the class when ringing.  If your phone “beeps” and you must take the call, leave the class quietly and take the call in the hallway so that you do not disturb the class. Talking on cell phones, text messaging or listening to IPODS will not be tolerated during class time. If a student is texting during class they will be reminded once to stop.  After that first warning the student may be asked to leave the class.  Laptop use is permitted only as it relates to the class not for Internet searches. Abuse of laptops will result in loss of that privilege. The texting policy is vigorously enforced.


Classroom Decorum:  In order to create an atmosphere of mutual respect, all members of the classroom community will talk respectfully to each other. Inappropriate language in either writing or discussion will not be accepted and may be cause for removal from the classroom.  Conversations between or among students while I am teaching is considered disrespectful to the learning environment and will not be tolerated. 

Distance Education Course Interaction Plan

Course   Title:

Introduction   to Philosophy 101-H1


Ms.   Mare Ambrose


508-384-1387   (cell)

Office   Hours:

Contact   through Canvas or email


Email   Address:

Face-to-Face and Asynchronous Online Learning

The course meets every other Monday at the Canton campus for face-to-face classes(C-125). The Online Learning is characterized by an emphasis on "learning on demand" or "as needed communication" between students and faculty from multiple locations at times convenient for participants.

All other interactions scheduled as needed.

  1. Email, announcements, and discussion forums
  2. Published schedule of class activities and events
  3. Interactive syllabus
  4. Online journals
  5. Timed quizzes
  6. Ongoing instructor feedback

ACCOMMODATIONS STATEMENT:  Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in the classroom are encouraged to contact a disability counselor as soon as possible. Students at the Brockton Campus with learning disabilities should contact Andrea Henry, at extension 1805. Students with physical disabilities at the Brockton Campus should contact Mary Berg, at extension 1425. All students at the Canton Campus should contact Mary Berg at extension 2132.


 Scedule of assignments is a file attached to the homepage.




Course Summary:

Date Details Due