Summer 2021 - PHIL 300 E100

Introduction to Philosophy (3)

Class Number: 4044

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2021
    5:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    At least 60 units.



An introductory course specifically intended for students in other departments who have at least 60 units. This course is more advanced than 100 and 200 division courses and is of interest to students not only in the humanities, but also in the natural and social sciences. This course does not count towards the upper division requirements for a student pursuing a minor, major, or honours program in philosophy. Normally, students with credit for PHIL 100 may not take this course for further credit. 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 finally we will think about issues that seem to tear at our attempts to live peacefully: the meaning of race and of gender and the nature of justice!


- Recognizing and explaining key concepts, articulating their meaning and placing them in their appropriate context
- Identifying key arguments and placing them in their appropriate context with respect to authorship
- Reconstructing and critically analyzing key arguments for soundness and validity
- Articulating the key themes found within the class in a well-structured essay
- Critically comparing various theories showing their strengths and weaknesses and critically extending arguments to novel cases and problems not found within the text

PHIL 300 may be applied towards the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.

If you are a Philosophy Major or Minor: PHIL 300 will not count towards your upper division requirements. For everyone else: PHIL 300 will count as an upper division elective. 


  • Essay 35%
  • Take Home Midterm 25%
  • Take Home Final Exam 35%
  • Participation (Measured by three online reflections) 5%


Course delivery: remote, synchronous. Online presence is required during scheduled lecture time.



It will be necessary that the student have a computer and a reliable internet connection (dial-up or high speed modem suffice) to attend lectures; submit assignments; and complete reflection assignments to satisfy participation requirements (done via Canvas as well).


Thomas Nagel, "What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy," Oxford University Press. (ISBN - 13: 9780195052169 or 0192854259)

Selected readings will be available through the university library website or 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   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project for Spring/Summer/Fall 2021. 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, 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 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).