Introduction to Philosophy

A Cinematic Approach

Dr. Tanya Rodriguez
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Office: Lusk-136
Student Drop-in Office Hours:
M: 9:30-10:30 & 1:30-2:30
W: 9:30-10:30
T/TH 12-1
E-mail: (I rarely check this on weekends)
Phone: (916) 558-2109 (Best to call during office hours)

Course Website:

Philosophy 300: 

This course uses critical thinking techniques to analyze and evaluate the positions, arguments, and methods of different thinkers as expressed in primary texts. Typical topics include human freedom, the belief in God, the nature and limits of scientific knowledge, the basis of aesthetic judgments.

Course Goals:

The goals of this course are to provide students with no previous background in philosophy with an introduction to the method of analytic inquiry and to equip them to critically read, assess, and write philosophical prose that draws upon film for demonstration and clarification.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. demonstrate familiarity with the basic issues and elementary concepts, and some positions and arguments, in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and theories of value;
  2. demonstrate familiarity with some example(s) of ancient Greek philosophical writing.
  3. identify arguments and their premise(s) and conclusion(s), implicit assumptions, and make basic distinctions between strong and weak arguments;
  4. present elementary philosophical positions and arguments in public both verbally and in writing;
  5. apply basic philosophical concepts and arguments to contemporary issues and to their own lives.


All required readings are available online and linked to the schedule on the day assigned with a corresponding blog prompt.

No Excuse Policy

  • If you are absent, I always assume it is for a good reason. As such, it is pointless to provide any explanation for a missed class. However, consider that class participation is vital to your success in this course and that excessive absences cannot help but negatively affect your grade.
  • I usually begin class without introductions or announcements. It is your responsibility to keep abreast of our schedule and other course information via wordpress.

Academic Dishonesty

  • Cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Cheating includes the following: a. Copying from someone else’s test. b. Submitting work that is not your own. c. Submitting work presented previously in another course, if contrary to the rules of either course. d. Altering or interfering with grading. e. Using material during an exam that is not allowed. f. Consulting with someone, other than the instructor, during an exam. g. Committing other acts which defraud or misrepresent.
  • Plagiarism is representing the work of someone else as your own and submitting it for any purpose. Plagiarism includes the following: a. Incorporating the ideas, works, sentences, paragraphs, or parts of another person’s writings, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as your own work. b. Representing another’s artistic/scholarly work as your own. c. Submitting a paper purchased from a research or term paper service.
  • Other Acts of Dishonesty a. Purposely allowing another student to copy from you during a test. b. Giving your homework, term paper, or other academic work to another person to plagiarize. c. Having another student submit work in your name. d. Lying to an instructor to improve your grade. e. Altering a graded work after it has been returned and then resubmitting the work for regrading. f. Removing a test from the classroom. g. Stealing tests.

(from the SCC student standard of conduct:


If you are a student with a learning disability, or other special needs, please let me know as soon as possible if you need special accommodations. These discussions are best handled by a scheduling a special appointment with me. All needs that have been verified through the Disability Resource Center on campus will be accommodated.

Classroom Etiquette

Leaving/Entering during class 

Once a student has entered the classroom s/he should not leave until the class period has ended. Excessive comings and goings, after a warning, will result in a one point deduction from the student’s participation grade. Bathroom breaks are permitted and permission is not necessary.

Electronic devices

  • The use of electronic devices during class time is limited to accessing the course text. Should a student make any other use of an electronic device during class time without permission from the instructor, the student will lose one (1) point from her/his participation grade for every infraction past the first, which will constitute the student’s sole warning. For example, if a student has headphones in or on her/his ears for a device such as an iPod, or a Bluetooth headset, even if the device in question is not in use, the student will lose one (1) point from her/his final participation grade.
  • You may use tablets or laptops for reading the text only and taking notes. If you misuse this privilege even once, you will lose it. If you use a laptop, you must sit in the front row.


If a student engages in conversation or talking of any sort while the instructor or any other member of the class has the floor, that student will be assessed a one (1) point penalty to her/his participation grade.

One comment on “Syllabus

  1. Pingback: Spring Courses – Fake News & Alt Truth

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