Fall 2018 - PHIL 100W D100

Knowledge and Reality (3)

Class Number: 2767

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    RCB IMAGTH, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 7, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    GYM CENTRAL, Burnaby



An introduction to some of the central problems of philosophy. Topics to be discussed include the different theories of reality; the nature and sources of knowledge, truth, evidence, and reason; the justification of belief and knowledge about the universe. These topics and problems will be considered as they arise in the context of issues such as: relativism versus absolutism; the existence of God; personal identity; the nature of the mind and its relation to the body; free will and determinism; the possibility of moral knowledge. Open to all students. Students with credit for PHIL 100 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


  • Do we know anything for certain?
  • Does God exist?
  • If God does exist, why does He permit so much suffering?
  • Is a human being a purely physical system? Or do you have a non-physical component too – a mind or soul?
  • Do you have free will?
  • What is the difference between right and wrong?
In this course, we will debate some of the biggest philosophical questions, including those above.


This course has three main goals, which are equally weighted:
1.     Students will develop their writing skills. In particular, students will practice writing in a clear and precise way about complex topics. 2.     Students will develop their analytical skills. In particular, students will practice analyzing and evaluating arguments.
3.     Students will learn about different philosophical views.

PHIL 100W may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts, the Writing Requirement and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.


  • Attendance in tutorials, and completion of six short in-class assignments 20%
  • Three extended writing assignments (15%, 15%, 25%) 55%
  • Final exam 25%


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of the submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



Donaldson and Stich, Philosophy: Asking Questions, Seeking Answers Oxford University Press  9780199329960

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html