3 Introduction

Foundations of Philosophy

Module Introduction

This module will focus on the themes of understanding and exploring:

  • The meaning of the term philosophy
  • The major branches of philosophy
  • The meaning of rationality

During the first section of this introductory module, we will learn the origin and academic meaning of the word philosophy. We will explain how it differs from other fields, what the major branches of philosophy are, and briefly introduce the topics of their areas of research. Finally, we will analyze the meaning of the term rationality.

In the second section, we will introduce students to four early philosophers whose works have contributed to our cultural understanding of the meaning of philosophy in significant foundational ways. (1)

Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize the relationships between cultural expressions and their contexts.
  2. Recognize concepts in metaphysics, axiology, and epistemology and the context of their development.
  3. Comprehend the scope of philosophic inquiry and how beliefs are formed and justified especially within a particular cultural construct.


Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the term Philosophy.
  • Define and distinguish the major branches of Western Philosophy.
  • Distinguish the concepts of foundationalism and constructivism as modes of rationality.
  • Recognize the contribution of four philosophers to the history of ideas. (1)

Readings & Resources

Supplemental Materials

(Note: These materials are considered supplemental and thus are not used for assessment purposes)

Assignments & Learning Activities

  • Review Introduction
  • Review Reading and Resources
  • Review Learning Unit
  • Participate in Greetings and Introductions
  • Participate in Module 1 Discussion


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