Suggested Syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions

By request: Suggested Syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions.

Suggested Syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions. For parents or co-ops using 7SistersHomeschool's Philosophy course, here is a syllabus for organization.

Suggested Syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions

One of our 7th Sisters asked us for a syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions. (BTW- there are six of us 7Sisters. Who is the 7th Sister? YOU are!)

In these chaotic times, it is a wise idea to help teens learn to:

  • Think well
  • Recognize the positive and negative influences around them and the ideas behind them

    Philosophy in 4 Questions. 7SistersHomeschool.com
    Click image for full description.

That’s what learning philosophy is all about. We commissioned Dr. Micah Tillman (who teaches Philosophy and Philosophy-based Science and Math for Stanford University’s online high school) to create Philosophy in 4 Questions when some of our youngest sons were homeschooling high school. They had just finished History and Philosophy of the Western World and wanted more of the thinking skills that that course had introduced.

Our sons told us that this was one of their favorite and most valuable courses in high school. It has since become a popular elective (and important life-skills course) for teens. The short lessons and friendly, accessible tone helps young people develop the skills they need in a non-preachy manner.

Here is a suggested syllabus for a one-credit Philosophy course for your homeschool high schoolers or your homeschool high school co-op.

Course Title: Philosophy in Four Questions

Length: 30-32 weeks

Curriculum: Philosophy in Four Questions by Dr. Micah Tillman, 7SistersHomeschool.com

Optional curriculum: For optional end-of-year paper, use 7Sisters’ APA, MLA or Chicago Writing Guides.

Description: Philosophy is one of the most important courses a homeschool high schooler can use for a powerful transcript and life preparation. Students will learn the basics of Philosophy and apply it in short, understandable, weekly thought and writing assignments.

It is wise to study philosophy because:

  1. Philosophers run the world by their ideas and the sharing of their ideas. Philosophers are the brains behind political decisions, health care management, types of books we read, fashions we enjoy, even some of the ways we interact with our theology.
  2. Students who understand philosophical thoughts and trends can become culture creators themselves. They become the thinkers who can become wise leaders.
  3. God is a philosopher. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Psalm 4:1 instructs us to “get wisdom”. God is the creator of wisdom.  It is important for our teens learn to be wise and submit their thinking to God’s wisdom.

Goals: Philosophy in 4 Questions is divided into the four basic questions of philosophy:

  1. What is there?
  2. How do we know?
  3. What do we do about it?
  4. Why?

Written in a light-hearted, fun manner and a Christian worldview, Philosophy in 4 Questions helps teens learn to recognize, think about, and discuss these questions.

Grading Scale: Create your own grading scale or grade this as a pass/fail elective.

Schedule:

The curriculum is designed to cover one chapter per week for thirty weeks. Optional weeks 31 and 32:  Students who wish to write a final paper will take these weeks to do so.

Week 1

Introduction and Chapter 1. What Is Philosophy?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Or, at Least, What Is Its Job?
  • 1.2 Confirmation of My Answer, Which Makes Me Look Good

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 1.3 A New Question Arises Out of Nowhere
  • 1.4 Let’s Ask Bob Philosophy’s Four Questions

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 1.5 Philosophy Is a Wheel. Or a Circle. Or Something.
  • 1.6 How to Answer Philosophy’s Four Questions

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 1.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 1.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 2

Chapter 2. Why Should Christians Care?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 2.1 In Which Tertullian Looks Askance at Me
  • 2.2 In Which I Offer Evidence from the Bible

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 2.3 But Is Philosophy Wasteful and Dangerous?
  • 2.4. Not Really. No. And Here’s Why.

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 2.5 Some Simple Safety Steps
  • 2.6 Wrap Up

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 2.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 2.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 3

Part I. Philosophy’s First Question:? Ontology

Chapter 3. An Introduction to Philosophy’s First Question

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 3.1 What Is There?
  • 3.2 Various Versions of the Same Question

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 3.3 A Silly Example that Shows Just How Cool This Can Be

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 3.4 Another Wrap Up

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 3.5 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 3.5 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 4

Chapter 4. Do You Exist (and If So, What Are You)?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 4.1 Of Course You Exist (Just Try Doubting It)
  • 4.2 Okay, but What Exactly Are You?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 4.3 Do You Have a Soul?
  • 4.4 Do We Have Physical Bodies?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 4.5 In Which We Review the Chapter

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 4.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 4.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 5

Chapter 5. Does the World Exist (or Is It All an Illusion)?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 5.1 Augustine Tries to Prove that It Does
  • 5.2 Then Descartes Tries to Prove that It Does

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 5.3 But Maybe the World’s Imaginary
  • 5.4 Or Maybe It’s Just a Big Simulation

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 5.5 Why We Should Believe the Physical World Really Exists

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 5.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 5.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 6

Chapter 6. Do Groups (like Companies, Countries, or Families) Exist?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 6.1 Allow Me to Tell You a Few Stories
  • 6.2 The First Story (about Some Rocks)

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 6.3 The Second Story (about Some Kids)
  • 6.4 The Third Story (about Some Families, Companies, and Countries)

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 6.5 The Moral of the Stories

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 6.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 6.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 7

Chapter 7. Is Everything Just Physical?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 7.1 Allow Me to Introduce You to a New Question
  • 7.2 Different Things Can Be the Same, Strangely Enough

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 7.3 Two Kinds of Things: Particulars and Universals
  • 7.4 There’s Got to Be More than Just the Particular

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 7.5 But Is There Also a ‘Spiritual’ Side?
  • 7.6 Even Scientists Have to Agree

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 7.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 7.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 8

Chapter 8. Does God Exist (and What about Evil)?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 8.1 The Cosmological Argument
  • 8.2 The Ontological Argument

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 8.3 The Teleological Argument
  • 8.4 The Problem of Evil

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 8.5 Responses to the Problem of Evil
  • 8.6 Some Concluding Thoughts

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 8.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 8.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 9

Chapter 9. Does Free Will Exist (and Do We Have It)?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 9.1 What Exactly Is Free Will?
  • 9.2 God Knows the Future, So Can We Have Free Will?
  • 9.3 But What about Prophecies?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 9.4 If Everything Is Caused, Can We Have Free Will?
  • 9.5 Some Reasons for Believing in Free Will

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 9.6 A Very Short Wrap Up

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 9.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 9.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 10

Chapter 10. Application: How to Deal with Disagreements

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 10.1 Our Ontological Arguments
  • 10.2 Where Do We Agree?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 10.3 Where, Precisely, Do We Disagree?
  • 10.4 A Second Example of Disagreement

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 10.5 And a Third Example!

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 10.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 10.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 11

Part II. Philosophy’s Second Question:? Epistemology

Chapter 11. An Introduction to Philosophy’s Second Question

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 11.1 Does “How Do We Know?” Come First?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 11.2 What’s the Difference between Opinion and Knowledge?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 11.3 We Seek the Truth!

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 11.4 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 11.4 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

Week 12

Chapter 12. What Is Truth?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 12.1 A Good Question and an Old One
  • 12.2 A Classic Theory of Truth

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 12.3 A More Recent, Radical Theory of Truth

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 12.4 In Which We Look Ahead

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 12.5 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 12.5 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 13

Chapter 13. Can We Learn the Truth from Others? (Language and Witnesses)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 13.1 How Sentences ‘Correspond’ to Each Other
  • 13.2 Repeating After Our Authorities

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 13.3 Our Reliance on Witnesses and Authorities
  • 13.4 Which Authorities or Witnesses are Trustworthy?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 13.5 A Brief Wrap Up, as Usual

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 13.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 13.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 14

Chapter 14. Do We Know through Living or Thinking? (Empiricism and Rationalism)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 14.1 A Li’l History Lesson to Start Your Day Off Right
  • 14.2 Two Famous Guys Who Started an Argument

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 14.3 In Which I Compare One Distinction to Another
  • 14.4 In Which I Discuss the Merits of Both Sides

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 14.5 Do Humans Come with Ideas Built In?
  • 14.6 A Brief Review, as Always

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 14.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 14.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 15

Chapter 15. Giving Up, or Going with What Works (Skepticism and Pragmatism)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 15.1 From Empiricism into Skepticism
  • 15.2 All We’ve Got Are Opinions, Eh?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 15.3 William James to the Rescue, Eh?
  • 15.4 Let’s Do a Little Evaluating, Shall We?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 15.5 Hark! A Tiny Bit Longer Conclusion than Normal

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 15.6 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 15.6 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 16

Chapter 16. Can We Just Get Back to Our Actual Experience?? (Phenomenology)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 16.1 This One Is My Favorite, In Case You Couldn’t Tell
  • 16.2 A Strange Way to Use the Word ‘Intention’

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 16.3 Empty Intentions, and Filled Intentions

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 16.4 Phenomenology Is Not Empiricism. No, It Isn’t.

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 16.5 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 16.5 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 17

Chapter 17. Application: Authorities, Science, Faith, and Reason

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 17.1 One View of History
  • 17.2 Authority vs. Science. Who Will Win?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 17.3 That View of History Was Wrong

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 17.4 A More-Than-Usually-Brilliant Conclusion

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 17.5 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 17.5 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 18

Part III.
Philosophy’s Third Question:? Ethics

Chapter 18. An Introduction to Philosophy’s Third Question

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 18.1 What Should We Do about It?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 18.2 Questions That Mean a Lot, and a Little

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 18.3 ‘Ethics’: Another Old Greek Word

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 18.4 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 18.4 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 19

Chapter 19. Is It Good to Do What Is Excellent?? (Virtue Theory)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 19.1 Why ‘Virtue’ Is a Bad Word
  • 19.2 But Virtue Theory Is a Good Thing

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 19.3 The Cardinal Virtues (for Humans, not Cardinals)
  • 19.4 The Cardinal Virtue of Courage (or ‘Fortitude’)
  • 19.5 The Cardinal Virtue of Moderation (or ‘Temperance’)

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 19.6 The Cardinal Virtue of Justice
  • 19.7 The Cardinal Virtue of Wisdom (or ‘Prudence’)
  • 19.8 Virtues in General

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 19.9 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 19.9 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 20

Chapter 20. Is It Good to Do What Creates the Most Pleasure?? (Utilitarianism)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 20.1 Or Epicureanism, or Hedonism, or Whatever
  • 20.2 The Original Versions of the Theory

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 20.3 The Basic Idea Behind the Theory

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 20.4 Some Challenges to the Theory

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 20.4 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 20.4 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 21

Chapter 21. Is It Only Good to Do Your Duty?? (Deontology)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 21.1 Do Your Duty, or Else
  • 21.2 Your Duties Come from Reason, Believe It or Not

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 21.3 The First Test: Something about Everyone Doing It
  • 21.4 The Second Test: Something about Respect
  • 21.5 The Third Test: Something about Everyone Making the Law

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 21.6 A Classically-Short Review

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 21.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 21.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 22

Chapter 22. Is It Only Good to Do What God Says?? (Divine Command)

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 22.1 An Overview of the Theory
  • 22.2 Why Believe It?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 22.3 Why Question It?
  • 22.4 One Solution to the Problem

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 22.5 A Second Solution to the Problem
  • 22.6 A Wrap Up of the Briefest Variety

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 22.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 22.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 23

Chapter 23. Application: Evaluating Abortion, Racism, and Sexism

  • 23.1 A Brief Introduction
  • 23.2 Abortion, Evaluated by the Four Ethical Theories

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 23.3 Racism, Evaluated by the Four Ethical Theories 23.4 Sexism, Evaluated by the Four Ethical Theories

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 23.5 Your Evaluation

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 23.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 23.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 24

Part IV.
Philosophy’s Fourth Question:? Value Theory

Chapter 24. An Introduction to Philosophy’s Fourth Question

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 24.1 The One Answer to, “Why?”
  • 24.2 A Bunch of Different Words for the Same Thing
  • 24.3 A Chain of Answers

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 24.4 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value
  • 24.5 Water as a Metaphor for Value
  • 24.6 How You Get Extrinsic Value

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 24.7 The Difference between Extrinsic Value and Real Value
  • 24.8 Value Theory

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 24.10 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 24.10 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 25

Chapter 25. Are There Different Sources of Value?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 25.1 A Brief Review

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 25.2 How Many Things Have Intrinsic Value?
  • 25.3 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Idea
  • 25.4 Responses to the Problem

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 25.5 There Are All Kinds of Reasons “Why?”

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 25.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 25.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 26

Chapter 26. Is There a Single Source of Value?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 26.1 Six Possible Options for the Single Source
  • 26.2 The Value Theory behind Humanism

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 26.3 The Value Theory behind Environmentalism
  • 26.4 The Value Theory behind Theism

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 26.5 Solving Problems or Creating Problems?
  • 26.6 How to Decide?
  • 26.7 One Answer to Philosophy’s Fourth Question

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 26.8 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 26.8 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 27

Chapter 27. What If There Is No Source of Value?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 27.1 Nihilism in Theory and Experience
  • 27.2 Is There Evidence for Nihilism?

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 27.3 The Problem with Nihilism
  • 27.4 Why Do Nihilistic Experiences Happen?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 27.5 A Potential Solution
  • 27.6 Develop Your Skills

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 27.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 27.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 28

Chapter 28. Is the Source of Value the Highest Thing?

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 28.1 The Good and God
  • 28.2 The Good and the True

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 28.3 A Problem Case
  • 28.4 When the Good and the True Seem to Clash

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 28.5 A Problem for Christians
  • 28.6 A Problem for Others
  • 28.7 Develop Your Skills

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 28.8 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 28.8 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 29

Chapter 29. Application: What to Do When You Get Confused

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 29.1 Potential Confusions
  • 29.2 How to Begin Clearing Things Up

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 29.3 What Still Has Value?

29.4 Dealing with Nihilistic Experiences

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 29.5 Working Out Your Value Theory
  • 29.6 Some Concluding Thoughts
  • 29.7 Develop Your Skills Conclusion

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 29.7 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 29.7 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

 

Week 30

Chapter 30. Go Forth!

Day 1: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 30.1 A World of Opportunities
  • 30.2 Take Music, for Instance

Day 2: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 30.3 Or Take Pets, for Instance
  • 30.4 Or What about Movies?

Day 3: Read and think about or discuss:

  • 30.5 Or How about Games, Then?
  • 30.6 Chances to Philosophize: You’re Surrounded
  • 30.7 Develop Your Skills

Day 4: Answer in written form:

  • 30.8 Develop Your Skills- Memorize section

Day 5: Answer in written form:

  • 30.8 Develop Your Skills- Philosophize section

Weeks 31 and 32

Write a paper that explores a topic that interests you. Discuss with your parents the length of, resources for and possible topics for this paper.

Congratulations! You are now a young philosopher.

Suggested Syllabus for Philosophy in 4 Questions

 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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