Spring 2022 - PHIL 100W D900

Knowledge and Reality (3)

Class Number: 7285

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SRYC 5100, Surrey

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SRYC 5100, Surrey



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 cover a number of important issues in philosophy. These include well known topics such as Free Will, the problem of knowledge, the Mind/Body problem - These are interesting problems, focusing us in understanding (or recognizing the limits of our understanding) the nature of our physical interactions with the world we experience. We will also consider a number of challenging issues relevant to our social lives: the meaning of life and the meaning death and meaning. And finally we will think about issues that seem to tear at our attempts to live peacefully: the meaning of race and of gender and how they relate to how and who has knowledge of the world and how and whose reality is assumed in philosophy.


1. Recognizing key concepts, articulating their meaning and placing them in their appropriate context

2. Identifying key arguments placing them in their appropriate context with respect to authorship

3. Presenting formally, the relevant arguments that we consider in class in premise to conclusion format

4. Articulating the key themes found within the class in a well structured essay

5. Critically analyzing and criticizing various arguments for soundness and validity

6. Critically comparing various theories showing their strengths and weaknesses and critically extending arguments to novel cases and problems not found within the text

This course is designed to advance your critical thinking, reading and writing skills. You will also learn the fundamental principles of analytical writing, including argument reconstruction and analysis.

PHIL 100W may be applied towards the Writing Requirement, and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.
Videos:  Why Study Philosophy? and Meet Our Professors!


  • Participation (Half consists of two reflections) 10%
  • Paper 1 15%
  • Paper 2 25%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 30%


Course delivery: in person



Being Good: A short Introduction to Ethics, Simon Blackurn

ISBN: 9780192853776

A selection of readings available via canvas

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

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project for 2021 and Spring 2022. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.