Spring 2020 - PHIL 100W D100

Knowledge and Reality (3)

Class Number: 7722

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2020
    Sat, 3:30–6:30 p.m.



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.


In this course we will explore some central problems of philosophy. We will explore the nature and possibility of knowledge, examining what reasons we have to think that knowledge is possible at all and what is required for knowledge to be justified. We will also examine the nature of personal identity, exploring whether it is continuity of body or mind through time that makes us the same self. We will also address arguments regarding whether or not we have free will, and the connection between free will and personhood.


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

This course is designed to advance your critical thinking, reading and writing skills. The philosophical issues we will explore are central to an understanding of the human condition, and reflecting on these questions is essential to living an examined life. You will also learn the fundamental principles of analytical writing, including argument reconstruction and analysis. These general skills are essential to philosophy, but are applicable to all fields of study.


  • Tutorial participation 5%
  • Tutorial quizzes and assignments 20%
  • First paper assignment 25%
  • Second paper assignment 25%
  • Final examination (see note below) 25%


NOTE: Due to Covid-19 pandemic, final exam is switched to take-home exam. 


Tutorial participation requires verbal participation in tutorial (e.g., asking or responding to questions). Evaluation will be on the basis of the TA’s approval of each student’s participation self-assessment submitted in tutorial at end of term.



You will need to take notes in class, and thus will require paper and a pen or pencil, or a computer or tablet. You will need access to a computer to write your papers for the course.


Philosophy 100: Selected Readings (Custom Courseware)

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://www.sfu.ca/students/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