The Philosophy Department offers a number of courses each semester open to (and aimed at) students with no or relatively little background in philosophy. (If you've taken a course in philosophy in high school, or in departments other than philosophy, then you should presume that counts as "relatively little" background---we hope that preparation will be useful to you, but you most likely won't yet have acquired the main skills our introductory courses aim to build.)
In addition to our course---that is, Phil UA 1 section 1 (the lecture) and sections 2-5 (the recitations)---this semester the department also offers:
- Phil UA 2, Great Works in Philosophy, taught by John Richardson. This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:30, with recitation sections meeting at other times of the week.
- Phil UA 4, Life and Death, taught by Nic Bommarito. This course meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:55.
- Phil UA 5, Minds and Machines, taught by Grace Helton. This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:55.
For more details about these other courses, see the department course listings.
The primary aim of all of these courses is a common one: to teach you how to reason, argue, and write like a philosopher. Additionally, there is moderate overlap between the issues discussed in our course and each of the others. So it's not easy to choose between them based on what material the courses propose to cover.
Perhaps the focus of one of these courses will appeal to you more than the others. Or perhaps one will fit your schedule best. Or if you're on the fence, perhaps you can arrange to sit in on a few sessions of two of the classes and see which you're more comfortable in. It's not obvious that will be feasible: some of these courses may hit their enrollment limits. But you might look into it if you genuinely can't decide. Note that it's far better to sit in from the beginning in a class you're hoping eventually to enroll in, even if you're not enrolled in it yet, than to try to drop in in the middle of things in the second week or so.
If you decide that ours is the course that suits you (or your schedule) best, and you get wait-listed for the course, then be patient. We'll try to accommodate you; but we won't be able to settle this until after a lecture or three. Have a back-up plan---for example, you might also attend one of the other introductory philosophy classes if you can---but in the meantime, just attend our course on the assumption it may work out.
Our first lecture meeting is on Wednesday 9/2 in Silver #206. Recitations will meet during the first week of class: on Wednesday 9/2 and Thursday 9/3. Our second lecture meeting is on Wednesday 9/9. After that, the scheduling becomes more regular.
If you have issues about which of the recitation sessions you're signed up for, please be patient about this as well. To take this course, it's mandatory that you have space in your schedule to attend at least one of our scheduled recitations. But if you can't sign up for the one that suits you best, we'll sort this out later too. Make sure you go to one of the sections the first week anyway, even if it's not the section you ultimately hope to be in. Email the TAs rather than Professor Pryor about any section-scheduling matters. All our emails are listed under "Contact Info". At this point you don't have to worry about whether Albert thinks you are taking the section we think you are taking. (Though it's likely you do have to tell Albert you're taking some section.)
You will have to purchase some texts (listed under "Course Requirements"); others will be available on the course website using a password announced in class. Some (but not all) readings will be available both ways. The texts will be available at the NYU Bookstore. (Let us know if they're available yet.) We've also posted links so that you can purchase them from Amazon or Barnes&Noble.
Some introductory readings for the course: (i) Philosophical Terms and Methods and (ii) How to Read a Philosophy Paper. For your entertainment (though it is instructive): What is an argument?.