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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

PHIL 1011: Introduction to Epistemology and Metaphysics

PHIL 1011 introduces students to two important branches of philosophy—epistemology (the study of the nature of knowledge) and metaphysics (the study of the nature of reality) —and to the basic principles of good argumentation and critical analysis. Students will have the opportunity to explore a number of central philosophical questions, including the epistemological themes surrounding machine thought and intelligence, the relationship between knowledge, beliefs and evidence, and the role of reasoning and sensory perception in knowledge acquisition. Some of the metaphysical questions considered include the nature of consciousness, the relationship between mind and body, and the difference between reality and illusion.

Learning outcomes

  • Define philosophy as a field of study and distinguish philosophical from non-philosophical questions.
  • Define metaphysics and epistemology as subfields of philosophy.
  • Define key terminology used in metaphysics and epistemology.
  • Evaluate information and problems using philosophical methodologies of logic, analysis of arguments and critical thinking.
  • Construct sound arguments for and against a variety of philosophical problems, issues and views.
  • Propose solutions to philosophical problems that are based in logic and well-structured arguments.
  • Formulate defensible personal positions on philosophical problems and issues.

Course topics

  • Unit 1 What is Philosophy?
  • Unit 2: Epistemology I - Knowledge, Thought, and Intelligence
  • Unit 3: Epistemology II - Rationalism or Empiricism?
  • Unit 4: Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem

Required text and materials

There is no textbook for this course.

Additional requirements

Students will have to rent the DVD's for this course through a rental provider such as a local store, iTunes, Google Play, Netflix, etc. Students may need to go to more than one source to obtain copies of videos.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 25%
Assignment 3 25%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
TOTAL 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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