Lackawanna College

PHL 105 ON: Introduction to Philosophy

Fall Session 2, 2018: October 18th to December 7th



Instructor: Erin Nicastro,            E-mail:

Office Hours: Online upon request                Phone: 570-677-2512




PHL 105 introduces students to the philosophic nature and science of the human person.

Major theories concerning the relationship between mind and body, perception and knowledge, and cause and effect are discussed. Further, the course includes an account of the history of philosophy in its cultural context.



By the end of this course, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes and expectations:

1Understand and use a philosophic vocabulary.

2Give an account of the history of philosophy in its cultural context.

3Explain the cultural milieu in which a given philosophy emerged.

4Realize that philosophers are men, not disembodied spirits.

5Understand a “high level of conceptualization” through application of reading and real life experience.


Course Requirements:


The table below is to help you keep track of your grade. To calculate your grade as a percent, simply add your assignment scores and divide by 500.  



Available Points

Score Received

Points Needed to Get the Grade I Want





Mini Paper 1




Mini Paper 2




Mini Paper 3




Mini Paper 4




Journal Entry (3)




Ethical Dilemma












Rubrics provide details on the objectives of your assignments. These are an interactive tool and you must use these as a guide, checking off each item and identifying where each objective has been met within your work, before turning in your assignments. In this way, you are building a good habit of self-monitoring, which not only enables you to focus on the most important course concepts, but also helps you to recognize your own level of understanding. 


Rubrics empower you to earn all available points on an assignment, but they also ensure that you are learning and that you are able to successfully express that learning.


Detailed rubrics will be provided for each assignment as the course progresses. Submission of an assignment without its interactive rubric will result in an automatic 5 point deduction. Continually submitting assignments without rubrics will result in a zero.


Also, please keep in mind that you are welcome to submit almost all assignments as an essay, PowerPoint, video, or audio file. Your choice! See your rubrics – posted in Assignments – for more detail. 



Online Course Attendance Policy 

Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online courses as well. 


Attendance is defined by participating in an academic activity within the online classroom, which includes posting in a graded discussion forum or submitting a written assignment. Postings not related to the aforementioned activities will not count for attendance purposes. 


# of Days Required for Discussion in an Online Course

Maximum # of Weeks Allowed without Discussion

Twice on any four days in a week (8 total)



•You are required to engage in discussion at least TWICE on FOUR days throughout the week for a total of EIGHT posts in all, minimum. 

•You should respond to the initial DQs posted AND respond to your classmates. 

•Responses MUST be substantive. See the document titled Good Discussions in your Course Resources.

•Responses that do not move the conversation forward by providing information to which others can respond and build upon will NOT be counted toward your weekly score. 

•Students who miss one week of discussion will be DROPPED from the course. 

•Students who do not log on to the course within the drop/add period for the course will be DROPPED from the course.  


Online Course Discussion Policy

In order to understand, remember, and benefit from what we learn in class, discussion and interaction are critical. Responses such as, “I like what you said.” “I agree.” Or “Good thinking.” are NOT acceptable. Also, you should NOT simply repeat what someone else has already said. 

You MUST post no less than 8 times per week – twice on any four days. 

Good Discussions in Course Resources will help you, but you should also use this rubric to gain all possible points for your contributions and, more importantly, to get the most out of our class discussion!


Online Classroom Discussion and Interaction Rubric

24 points per week for a total of 120 points


What Should I Do?

Points Available

Did I do This?


Points Earned

Answer both Discussion Questions directly demonstrating a clear understanding of the material, support your response with research or reading, and promote conversation (2 posts)





Respond to at least two classmates’ posts (2 posts)





Continue both conversations with at least one additional reply to each peer (2 posts)





Respond to at least one of the teacher’s secondary questions, conversing with a classmate who responds to the same question (2 posts)





Be sure all responses are detailed and clear and are posted twice on four separate days.





Be sure that all responses relate to the course reading and notes, your own everyday life, or to both





Provides the class with a response that is non-generic and inspiring – meaning that they learn from what you have contributed and can continue the conversation





Use proper grammar, spelling, and netiquette















Withdrawal Policy

A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Student Affairs Office or from your Center Director, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student stops attending a course for which he/she is registered after the published census date (end of drop/add) without having officially withdrawn from the course, the student will be assigned an AW (penalty-grade failure) for the class. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.


Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy. 



Instructor Policies


As future professionals, you should practice behaviors you would like to see in your own students. To that end, this class abides by the following rules:


Assignments must be submitted via file exchange on the Portal through the designated Assignment link. Emailed Assignments will not be accepted! This allows me to log the date and time of your submissions, offer more extensive feedback, and return assignments more quickly. This allows you to keep a record and proof of what you submitted and enhance your technology skills. Plus, it gives you more time to complete the work. Files must be saved as .doc or .rtf only. There are no exceptions to this rule. If you have technical difficulties or limitations, you may use one of the College's several computer labs or a local lab near you – for instance, a public library. Please plan accordingly. Also, tech support is open until 9 p.m. For help email 

• Assignments are due on the due date. Late assignments, with exception to the final week assignments, will be accepted up to one week after the initial due date with a 10% reduction in grade. 

• All assignments must follow either MLA or APA style. Papers that have not been spell checked will not be accepted. You can turn the assignment in once it has been corrected, but you will receive a zero due to late submission.

• All assignments must be accompanied by their rubric. The rubric is an interactive document that provides you with an overview of the requirements of each particular assignment, and a self-monitoring system that causes you to reflect on if and where each of the requirements has been met within your work. Assignments submitted without the completed rubric will receive a 5 point deduction.

• If you do not understand an assignment ask for help IMMEDIATELY – not when class has ended and you realize that you don’t like your grade. All assignments are accompanied by rubrics, and samples when possible. I will not review your assignment before you hand it in - that is cheating. But I will offer you advice, examples, explanation, and clarity. Just ask!

• Be kind and courteous. Any disruptive behavior including insulting or derogatory comments in the discussion forums or team threads will cost 10 points per incident. Don’t be surprised when your participation grade drags your score down.

• There is no extra credit.  Completing assignments to the best of your ability helps prepare you for putting your best foot forward outside of school. In life, there is no extra credit! But to ensure that you do not need it, the course calendar on this syllabus will help you stay organized and the notes posted on the Portal will help you stay focused. 

• You are responsible for your success. If you ask for help, I will gladly give it! ☺ But you will earn your grade. That means being personally responsible for what needs to be handed in and when. Additionally, simply handing in all the work does not assure you an A. Follow the rubrics to hand in good work and to earn an A. Lastly, I will not comb through my files to tell you what you have and have not turned in. You must keep track of your own work and your own grade. There is a table included in this syllabus to help you. 

• Concern for your grade should begin on day 1. Keep track of your grade from day 1. Ask for help from day 1.  I will not give you points. You will earn your points and your grade will be whatever those points add up to. Do not ask me if I know what your grade is or if I can tell you what to do to earn a particular grade. The simple answer to the question, “What do I have to do to get a [insert letter grade her] in this class? Is DO THE WORK! 

• Class will be fun (I hope!). This does not mean it's easy. If you don't put in effort, your grade will reflect this. If you think you are putting in effort and your grade is not as you hoped, message me immediately. I will help you. 

• The only dumb question is the one unasked. Unfortunately, I am not psychic. Otherwise, I’d pick the winning lottery numbers and we’d hold this class on a tropical beach. If you are confused, I am happy to help you. My goal, honestly, is your success. But you must tell me when you need help. I have notes, supplemental sources, sample papers, and office hours to provide you whatever you need to feel confident in your understanding of the material. And I don’t bite. Promise!

•Once class has ended NO assignments will be accepted.


Discussion and Interaction Requirements: 

In order to benefit best from discussions, there must be consistent interaction. Therefore, you are required to answer all discussion questions, posting at least twice on any four days for a total of 8 posts per week minimum.


Discussions count toward a large percentage of your grade. Please see the table below under the heading Grading for the exact number of discussion points.


The content of these posts must be substantive in order to earn points. Please see your Handouts and Links to find helpful hints for formulating your discussion posts. Also, for a successful online participation, be sure to: 

•Log in daily and read the your home page update

•Participate no less than 2x on any 4 days

•Contribute to class by answering DQs, joining in discussions about your classmates’ comments, or asking questions

•Maintain respectful communication

•Be prepared, and submit assignments in a timely manner



The assignments in this course are tracked by points and calculated by simple addition. 


Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Points Value

Quality Points


96 – 100




90 – 95




87 – 89




83 – 86




80 – 82




77 – 79




73 – 76




70 – 72




67 – 69




60 – 66




0 – 59





Due Dates and Late Penalties

Assignments are due on the due date. Late assignments will be accepted up to one week after the due date, with the exception of the final week, for a 10% grade reduction. Do NOT tell me that you thought you turned it in but that the Portal must not have accepted it or that you had trouble with your account all semester, etc. etc. We have tech support. All assignments are graded within one week of submission. So if you didn’t get a grade there is only one reason: you didn’t hand it in. We have several computer labs on campus. Plus, if you are not local, you may find a public library with plenty of computers to use free of charge. Technical difficulty is not an acceptable excuse.


Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well. Please see the Student Handbook for a complete explanation.


The following are among the forms of dishonesty, in a classroom of any type, for which sanctions may be applied: 

•Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted; 

•Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers; 

•Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination; 

•Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently; 

•Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment; 

•Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else; 

•Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved; 

•Stealing examinations or assignments; 

•Supplying or selling examinations or assignments; 

•Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted; 

•Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results; 

•Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.

•Misrepresenting identity in an online course


(Please see student handbook for more information)


Disability Statement

Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution.  Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs.  Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab.  If you feel that you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Mrs. Christine Kiehart in the academic development office to discuss your options. Please note that disability services do not include exemption from participation requirements in courses considered part of the School of Distance Education, including online and hybrid courses. 

Lackawanna College Notice of Nondiscrimination

Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices, based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership, or any other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State Law including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and with Federal Law including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Lackawanna College is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from unlawful sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender based harassment. 


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Lackawanna College will not tolerate any forms of sexual misconduct including but not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence and gender-based harassment by employees, students or third parties. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. The College also prohibits retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. This policy applies to admissions, employment, treatment and access to all programs and activities that take place either on or off the campus at Lackawanna College.  


Lackawanna College will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and will take action reasonably designed to resolve the complaint in an equitable manner, end a hostile environment if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and, when appropriate, take steps to remedy its effects on individuals and the college community.

Lackawanna College complies with Title IX and all other federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Reports or inquiries regarding nondiscrimination should be made to:

Title IX Coordinator/ Executive Director of the Student Wellness Program, Marsha Pigga, Angeli Hall, Room 102, 501 Vine Street, Scranton PA, 18509 (570) 955-1466/ (570) 677-7589, 


Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action inquiries: Georgia Egan, Affirmative Action Officer/Director of Continuing Education, Angeli Hall, Room 300C, Vine Street, Scranton PA (570) 961-7815, or Tony Ferrese, Affirmative Action Officer/Seeley Hall Residence Director, Seeley Hall, First Floor, North Washington Avenue, Scranton PA, (570) 504-1760,

Additional information regarding Title IX requirements and how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights: Office of Civil Rights at, 800-421-3481. Philadelphia Office: Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education, The Wanamaker Building,100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 Telephone: 215-656-8541, Email:    



Portfolio and Coursework

Lackawanna College will empower you to experience learning by inspiring your critical thinking, assessing your talents and skills, motivating you toward a career choice, and encouraging you to make a difference. In evidence of this learning, the College requires a graduation portfolio containing Career Documents, including a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a career exploration; Core Coursework, including a research paper from College Writing; three sample papers or projects from Major Coursework; and a Lackawanna College Reflection Paper.



Course Schedule





Week 1

God and Religion

•Understanding Philosophy

•God and Evil


Week 2

Mind and Body

•Minds and Machines

•Freedom, Moral Responsibility And Punishment


Paper 1


Week 3

Knowledge and Reality

•Personal Identity

•Tangibles and Skeptics


Paper 2

Week 4

Ethics, Justice and the Good Life

•Causation. Induction & Scientific Method

•Morality and the Greater Good


Paper 3


Week 5

• Kantian Ethics  

•Aristotleian Ethics


Paper 4

Week 6

• Social Contract

•Feminism And The Ethics Of Care



Ethical Dilemma Paper

Week 7

• Practical Ethics



Week 8

• Practical Ethics

•What is Good?



Instructional Methods

Instructional methods include lecture, discussion and interaction, case studies and group work, video analysis, and shared reflection. At times, we will work on and share projects during class.