I.                   PHI 131 The Human Condition

Ferrum College

Program: Philosophy School: Arts and Humanities


II.                Instructor: Instructor Name: Gary L. Angel

Office: Britt 211

Phone Number: 4343

Office Hours: MWF 2:45-5:15


III.                Class Meeting Time: MWF 11:15-12:10


IV.             Textbooks and Materials: No textbook


V.                Catalog Course Description:


An introduction to the fundamental philosophical questions which arise within the context of human experience and to various methods of addressing these questions. The issues are introduced through an illumination of the human condition in Biblical texts. Students ponder, among other things, the meaning of life, the nature of reality and human existence, the possibility of freedom, the existence of God, and the meanings of truth, goodness, and beauty. Three hours, three credits.


VI.             Purpose


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophy as a discipline and to portions of the Bible as a source of reflection upon the human condition.


VII.          Instructional Methodology and Use of Technology

This course has primarily a lecture/discussion format. Students will also be engaged in writing analytical essays wherein they will demonstrate their understanding of various philosophical arguments.







VIII.       College-wide Outcomes


Students will think critically and solve problems through analysis, evaluation, and inference


Students will communicate with unity of purpose and coherent organization consistent with standard rules and recognized conventions using appropriate methodologies


Students will demonstrate a depth of knowledge, capability and ethical reasoning in a chosen field.


Philosophy Program Outcomes


         Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of logic including the following: the nature of argument, deduction and induction, validity and soundness, categorical logic, propositional logic, informal fallacies, tautology, contingency, and contradiction.


         Philosophy graduates will be critical thinkers who are able to formulate arguments and evaluate properly the arguments of others.

         Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of the fundamental problems of metaphysics, and their potential solutions, including the following: the ultimate nature of reality, the existence of God, the problem of universals, the nature of human existence, the mind/body problem, the freedom of the will, and death and immortality.


All of the following course goals will be assessed by cumulative examinations and quizzes:


Course goals


1.      Students will learn how the discipline of philosophy is constituted by its subdisciplines

2.      Students will learn a little logic.

3.      Students will learn traditional arguments for God’s existence.

4.      Students will learn the problem of free-will and standard solutions.

5.      Student will learn issues pertinent to the question concerning the meaning of life.




IX.             Course Requirements/Assignments


a.      Attendance


                                                  i.      Students who miss class should have their heads examined. However, responsibility for class attendance belongs exclusively to students; hence, class attendance will not be required. Yet, students should be advised that a choice to miss class is tantamount to a choice to fail the class.

                                                ii.      Examinations and quizzes are not optional. Students must take them when they are scheduled unless the professor is contacted in advance, by e-mail, alerting him to the reason for missing the assignment. Students should understand that only good reasons will be accepted, and that most reasons students offer for missing are not good ones. Make-up assignments will be given only if these conditions are met. If students miss pop-quizzes, there will be no make-ups.

                                              iii.      Illness is always a good reason for missing class, as well as tests. Moreover, in a time of a potential pandemic, students with potentially contagious illnesses must not attend class. If students come to class sneezing, coughing, snotting, or showing any signs of fever, they will have to leave.


b.      Assignments


                                                  i.      There will be five-six major, cumulative examinations the average of which will constitute 50% of the final grade.

                                                ii.      There will be a cumulative final examination which will constitute 50% of the final grade.


c.       Co-requirements


                                                  i.      Entering the room late is disruptive and rude. Do not be late to class. If students are late, they might not be allowed to enter class.

                                                ii.      Cell phones are also disruptive and will be seen as mechanisms for cheating. Active texting or receiving text messages in class is prohibited. Cell phones must be turned off and all headsets must be removed. If students do not comply, they will have to leave class.

                                              iii.      Proper classroom attire is essential to a learning environment. Do not wear underwear as outerwear, and do not wear pajamas to class. If students do not comply, they will have to leave class.

                                              iv.      It is horribly rude to leave the room during class. Students may not leave to go to the rest room, to drink, or to engage in any other non-emergent activity. If students become aware of emergencies, they may leave without asking permission.



XII.          Evaluation and Grading Evaluation Scale A=90-100




F=Below 60


XIII.       Academic Integrity:

In all instances, policies identified in the Ferrum College Catalog and the Ferrum College Student and Faculty Handbooks regarding the Honor System shall be followed. Students are expected to display academic integrity at all times and in all circumstances.


Office of Academic Accessibility (OAA):

As directed by Ferrum College’s policy, any student with a disability who qualifies for and seeks academic accommodations (such as testing or other services) must work through the Office for Academic Accessibility for accommodations.  The office is located Lower StanleyLibrary, Office 110 and the director may be reached by phone at 365-4262 or by email at . Please remember that accommodations cannot be granted retroactively; they must be requested in a timely manner prior to when the accommodation is needed.  Students who wish to use accommodations through OAA are encouraged to meet with the director during the first weeks of the semester to discuss the process, and are also invited to read the policy manual on for specific information.



 I.   Introduction: Preliminaries

II.  The Existence of God Readings:

                    Genesis 1-9, 18-19;

                    John 1:1-18; Isaiah 1;

                    Job 1-15, 38-42

  A.   Conceptions of God

B.  The problem of evil

C.  Faith and reason

1.   Arguments for God’s existence

a.   Cosmological

b.    Teleological

c.    Ontological

  2.   Rational vs. irrational faith

   III.  Concerning Freedom and Responsibility

            Reading: Genesis 3; Exodus 1-19; Romans 8

      A. What is freedom?

                1. Political freedom

                 2. Freedom as a value

                 3. Freedom as a property of the will

         B. Free-will vs. determinism

        C. Freedom and responsibility

 IV.  Concerning Time, Eternity, and The Meaning of Life