Introduction to Philosophy
CRN: 30843
16 Weeks - Distance Education course 

On Campus Requirements

Mandatory Orientation: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, from 4:00PM to 5:00PM in LB 207

Students are required to take exams on campus in the Testing Center.

Name  Jack Call, Ph.D.
Phone  (626) 852-8013
Location  CI 118

This is a course introducing the student to the foundations of philosophy in terms of modes of critical thinking, significant problems of life, and a representative sampling of primary philosophical writings.

The skills required for success in this course are reading comprehension and the ability to demonstrate it through answering questions on open-book tests, taking part in on-line discussions, and writing short essays. An equally important requirement is that you have the desire and the self-discipline to find time in your life to devote yourself to the work of this class.

The objective of this course is to become a better philosopher. That's right – you already are a philosopher, and the goal is to become a better one. This requires that you be willing to think, really think, honestly and openly and at length, about some fundamental questions about the nature of reality, our knowledge of it, and how to live the best kind of life. What about religion? Whether you are a hard-core atheist, a fundamentalist religious believer of some sort, or something in between, you have to be willing to face the possibility that you might be wrong, with the attitude that any system of beliefs that can't withstand honest scrutiny isn't worth very much anyway. The same goes for your political beliefs, your attitudes about what is "cool" and what isn't, and your beliefs about what is "just common sense." You must be willing to question them.

That's the primary goal. If there were some standardized way of quantitatively measuring how well you achieve it, I would base your entire grade for the course on that. Since there isn't, I base your grade only partly on how well I think that you have done this, and then also, more substantially, on how well you achieve some of the secondary goals of the course. These include:

  1. Learning about the history of philosophy: Who are its major figures? What did they say about various important philosophical questions?
  2. Learning a specialized vocabulary: What does "epistemology" mean? What does it mean to say that an argument is "valid?"
  3. Learning to write more clearly: How do you organize a philosophical essay? What is important to include? What should you leave out? How do you support a philosophical thesis?

The course requires a great deal of reading. There are weekly reading assignments, followed, usually, by a series of questions to test how carefully you did the reading. Another requirement is that you participate in on-line discussions, in the Virtual Classroom (chat room) and/or on the Discussion Board. There is a mid-term essay exam (a single essay in response to a particular philosophical question) and a final essay exam, that is given in the Testing Center on campus.  

The following texts are required for the course:

  • Call, Jack. God is a Symbol of Something True. Winchester, UK and Washington, DC, USA: O Books, 2009.
  • Pojman, Louis P. Philosophy: The Pursuit of Wisdom. Belmont, California: Thomson Wadsworth, 2004.
  • Plato. The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo. Translated by Hugh Tredennick and Harold Tarrant. London: Penguin Books.

The last two are both paperbacks and should be relatively inexpensive, for college texts.

There are more details about course requirements in the Course Syllabus, should you decide to take the class. I look forward to working with you!

Jack Call

Email Accounts 
You will need to use your official Citrus College issued email account. Your email is established when you are registered for classes. You must have access to your email account prior to starting the class.

Details regarding the course are set forth in the class website. When you go there (see below), pay particular attention to the syllabus section and the assignment section.  

Blackboard and WingSpan Information
(Notice:  All Blackboard courses will be available on the first day of classes)
Blackboard --> 
WingSpan -->  

  • Update email on WingSpan so it will load to Blackboard
  • Your WingSpan ID becomes your Blackboard Username
  • Your WingSpan PIN number (six digits only) becomes your Blackboard password
  • To change these on Blackboard requires you change them on WingSpan
  • Data will be transferred from WingSpan to Blackboard on a regular basis

Once you get to the Blackboard welcome page, click on the Introduction to Philosophy course link on the right, and you will go to the course site. Familiarize yourself with the course site and if you have any questions please email your instructor with your concerns. Get your textbook and get started with your initial assignments. A major key to your success in this course will be keeping up with both the reading and the other assignments.   


If you have a disability documented by a physician or other appropriate professional and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact the DSP&S office at (626) 914-8675. Please discuss your accommodations with your instructor by email. Be sure to allow at least one week for appropriate accommodations to be arranged.