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PHILOS 101 - Introduction to Philosophy - Chris Blakey

Course:Introduction to Philosophy
Professor:Chris Blakey
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Prof. Chris Blakey

Greetings and hello!  My name is Chris Blakey. I have been teaching full-time in the Philosophy Department at COC for about 20 years, and I want to welcome you to PHILOS 101/Introduction to Philosophy!  This class will provide you an opportunity to think about some of the most fundamental philosophical questions that have puzzled the greatest minds throughout history.  These are questions that are centrally relevant to each of us as human beings and to our place in the world.  I think you will find that the questions we discuss are fundamentally relevant to your life, and you will find they are quite fascinating to consider. 


Course Description

Though the sciences have explained much about our world that was previously mysterious, there are some persistent questions that the sciences have been less successful in dealing with.  Yet we human beings have found these questions difficult (if not impossible) to ignore.  Philosophy grapples with these questions, and most students find such questions to be extremely engaging, and relevant to their lives.  These questions include:

  • What is philosophy?   Is it relevant or useful in today’s world?
  • What is knowledge?  How do we obtain it?
  • Does God exist?  Are there reasons for thinking so?  If God exists, why is there suffering in the world?
  • Do we have free will?  Are we responsible for our actions, and for the kind of person we are?
  • What is the self?  Are we purely physical beings, or is there something more to us?
  • What is morality?  Can we make moral judgments?  Is morality relative? 
  • What is justice?  What does a just society look like?
  • What is a good life?

Philosophy seeks reasoned answers to these types of questions.  These questions, and others, will be the core of this class, and you will be given the opportunity to wrestle with them and to work out your own reasoned perspective on them.

The questions we focus on will concern the three central branches of philosophy: epistemology (which asks questions about knowledge – what knowledge is and if we can obtain it), metaphysics (which asks questions about the nature of reality), and ethics (which asks questions about the nature of morality).  Readings will be from a variety of historical and contemporary sources.  Although the bulk of the readings are from the Western philosophical canon, we will have opportunity to discuss touch points with Eastern traditions as well.  Thinkers and historical periods in philosophy typically explored in this course include: ancient philosophy (Socrates and Plato), medieval philosophy (Anselm and Thomas Aquinas), modern philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Paley, d’Holbach, and Kant), late modern/nineteenth-century philosophy (Mill, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche), and twentieth-century/contemporary philosophy (James, Stace, Russell, Taylor, Nussbaum, Midgley, Rachels, Nozick, Rawls, and King).

What to Expect in this Course

You will take the course primarily through Canvas.  In order take this class, you must have access to a computer, internet services, and COC e-mail.  Most communications will occur through announcements, e-mail, and discussion boards. This course will require discipline, organization, reading and participation, and, since it is a shortened 8-week class, you will need to log into Canvas probably 5-6 times per week. Our Canvas course site cannot be accessed until the first day of the semester at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Just as in a face-to-face course, you will need to regularly participate in the course by way of doing assigned readings, taking notes, watching video lectures, participating in discussion board activities, etc.  It will be essential that you watch, and take careful notes on, the video lectures that are found in the Modules on Canvas.  Since this is a full 3-unit course fitted into 8 weeks, you should count on at least 6-10 hours per week of prep work for this course.  Essentially, every week we will have twice the “normal” amount of material.  Exams will be taken using Canvas and will have the same format as exams in face-to-face courses, and the exams will be timed so you will not be able to look up very much in the process of taking them.  You will need to spend time studying and preparing for exams.  You will be expected to pay close attention to due dates and instructions for assignments, and to submit assignments on time.

Types of Assessments

2 Exams (Canvas)

3 Short Essays

Weekly Discussions (using Canvas)

Reading Reflections


Textbook Information

There is no textbook to purchase for this course.  All reading for the course will be available on our Canvas site.

Other Relevant Course Information

PLEASE NOTE: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. In order to avoid being dropped from the class, you must login and take part in the “introductions” Discussion Forum on by 11:59 p.m. on the first day of the semester.

Note: This is not a complete syllabus, but only an orientation letter.  The complete syllabus will be available within Canvas at the start of the semester.


Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 06/29/2021 Sub#: 322