Course Overview

This course will serve as an introduction to some of the main issues, theories, and arguments in the areas of philosophy concerned with knowledge (epistemology) and reality (metaphysics). I aim to have students understand understand, reconstruct, and think critically about arguments for some of the most fundamental questions concerning human existence, arguments and topics that they otherwise would not have considered. Here is an example. I hope to introduce students to historical, famous arguments for the existence of God given by prominent historical philosophers/theologians/church fathers (e.g., St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas) and some leading contemporary philosophers (e.g., Eleonore Stump). The students may experience grappling with readings in the primary, writing summaries, writing argument reconstructions, writing their own critiques of arguments, answering study questions, writing philosophy papers, etc. Others topics possibly included are:

(a) Is it reasonable to believe without evidence?
(b) What is knowledge?
(c) How can we know about what we do not observe?
(d) How can you know your own mind or the mind of another person?
(e) Is the mind material?
(f) What is consciousness?
(g) What things exist?
(h) What is free-will? Do we have it?

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Course Objectives

Primary Objectives

  • Improve a student’s ability to think slowly and carefully about important philosophical topics
  • Help students be more able to subject their own deeply-held views to scrutiny and determine what those views are
  • Help students realize that certain topics or issues are complicated, that many people have been thinking hard about various sundry issues for a long time, that views some may find ridiculous are actually well supported by complex argument and not so outlandish, etc.

Secondary Objectives

  • Sharpen the skills of presenting, explaining, and evaluating arguments
  • Gain a more robust exposure to (and familiarity with) some of the basic conceptual tools in the philosopher’s toolkit (e.g., the principle of charity, necessary and sufficient conditions, etc.)
  • Improve their reading comprehension and writing skills

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: PHI 107

Eligibility: Students must be of rising junior or senior status or a 2022 high school graduate.

Credit: 3 credits

Grading: A-F

Cost: $2,985
Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – Online: Explore college life before stepping foot on campus! High school students can enroll in a college-level course, pursue their academic interests, and meet likeminded students in daily virtual events and activities.

“I must say it was the best summer I’ve ever had in my sixteen years of living.”

– Cecilia, Summer College Student, 2018

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time
(Eastern Time)
Summer College – Online 6-Week Session: Tuesday, July 5 – Thursday, August 11, 2022TTh;
6-7:30 p.m.
3 creditsClosed
Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

  • Laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and mouse
  • Reliable internet access
  • A space conducive to taking an online class (without distractions)

If you have any questions about technology requirements, please email the Office of Pre-College Programs.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

A typical day will most likely consist of a mix of lecture and class discussion. We will go over the readings in the primary, determine to the best of our ability the argument’s structure, try to evaluate it, etc. This all presupposes that students have done any and all preparatory work that may be assigned beforehand, that students are present and engaged in the class, etc.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College virtual activities to meet and connect with other students across the world. Check out our Virtual Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Adam Patterson

Adam Patterson is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at Syracuse University. Before coming to Syracuse, he earned master degrees in philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London and the University of Kentucky. He primarily works in ethics and moral philosophy, and has published elsewhere in the areas of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of death. In his free time, he can be found with his wife taking walks, reading, or playing games.

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