General Information

Hi! My name is Michael Greer (pronouns she/her) and I’m the instructor for this class. I am entering the fourth year of my PhD in philosophy at the Graduate Center.

Welcome! My email is and you should always feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.

Click here to download the course syllabus:

Click here to download the course schedule:

Course Description:
The world is a curious place. As children, we wonder about it. To questions like: “Why is the sky blue?” and “How do microwaves work?” we get initially satisfactory answers. To questions like “Why should I do what my parents tell me to do?” and “How do you know for sure there aren’t aliens on Mars?”, we get less satisfactory answers. Questions, and their possible answers, are the currency of philosophy, and (as you will see) permeate every aspect of human life. This class will interrogate our philosophically imbued experiences of the world by exploring questions like: How can we distinguish what is real from what is not real? How is knowledge shaped or constrained by one’s location? Why is truth important? What is morally important and why? Should there be a revolution, and if so, what should it look like? Where is the self located? Are there different ‘kinds’ of people? In what sense do race(s) and gender(s) exist? You will leave this class with an understanding of some philosophical issues found in three main branches of Western philosophy: epistemology, axiology, and metaphysics. No previous experience with professional philosophy is assumed or needed in this class.

This materials for this class are mostly Open Access, Open Educational Resources, or in the public domain. There are two exceptions to this rule however they should still be free at the point of access (one is available online through your public library and the other is a news article that runs into a paywall after viewing five articles). You should feel free to share this website with friends and family who are not at Brooklyn College but are interested in the things you’re studying. They will have access to all the educational materials I post here.

Content-Based Objectives [information to learn and engage with]
  1. Acquire an understanding of philosophical issues found in the study of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. [student-material]
  2. Learn about central arguments and positions on said problems. [student-material]
Skill-Based Objectives [tools and mental resources to continue using in the future]

3. Improve reading comprehension and efficiency. [student-material]
4. Identify arguments, specifying premises and conclusions. [student-material]
5. Critically examine arguments (test consistency among claims, test limits, or test capacity to address a relevant issue or problem). [student-material]
6. Practice active listening, including the skill of charitable interpretation. [student-student]
7. Interrogate the weaknesses of one’s own view and the strengths of alternative views. [student-material] [student-student] [student-teacher]
8. Formulate original arguments and foresee (and respond to) strong objections. [student-material] [student-self][student-student] [student-teacher]
9. Identify and explain how philosophical concepts inform discussions of real-world issues. [student-material] [student-self] [student-student]
10. Cultivate critical writing and communication skills. [student-material] [student-student] [student-teacher]
11. Develop a philosophical curiosity that will serve you outside of the classroom. [student-material] [student-student] [student-teacher]
12. Develop appreciation for and sensitivity to philosophical questions. [student-material] [student-student] [student-teacher]

To see more about CUNY Rules, Regulations, and Services, click on one of the drop-down options in the menu above. There, you will find information about accessibility, plagiarism, nonattendance because of religious beliefs, the student bereavement policy, and local and national resources to support your mental health. 

**Attribution for picture on homepage: “Mountains Sunrise Dawn” by David Mark is in the Public Domain, CC0