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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Introduction to Philosophy - RETA7001
Title: FP-Introduction to Philosophy
Guaranteed by: Department of Philosophy (27-F)
Faculty: Protestant Theological Faculty
Actual: from 2023 to 2023
Semester: winter
Points: 3
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: winter s.:
summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0, C [HT]
summer s.:2/0, C [HT]
Capacity: winter:unlimited / unknown (unknown)
summer:unknown / unknown (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
Key competences:  
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Mgr. et Mgr. Olga Navrátilová, Ph.D.
Is pre-requisite for: RETA7011, RETA7041
The aim of the course is to introduce the students to the field of philosophical questioning and to present philosophy as never-ending movement of thought rather than a system of particular teachings. To this end, we will use several examples of important texts of the Western philosophical tradition. The course will focus on the acquirement of the skills necessary for the interpretation of philosophical texts.
Last update: Navrátilová Olga, Mgr. et Mgr., Ph.D. (20.09.2022)

The texts that will be read and interpreted during the course:

Patočka, Jan, Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History (selected paragraphs),

Plato, The Republic (Sun Analogy, The Divided Line, Cave Allegory, VI, 506b–VII,517c),[1]

Plato, The Seventh Letter (340b–344b),

Aristotle, The Metaphysics (I,1–2),

Descartes, René, Meditations on First Philosophy (1st and 2nd meditation, selected paragraphs),

Kant, Immanuel, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (selected paragraphs)

[1] The English and Greek versions of Plato’s and Aristotle’s works is accessible here:


Other literature:

A) Introductions to philosophy:

·         Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World. A Novel About the History of Philosophy, New York: Berkleys Books 1996.

·         Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person‘s Guide to Philosophy, Penguin Books 1998.

·         Edward Craig, Philosophy. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002.

·         Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987.

·         Simon Blackburn, Think. A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999.

B) History of philosophy:

·         Anthony Kenny, A New History of Western Philosophy, 4 volumes, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004–2007 (accessible online from the library catalogue).

·         Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, 8 volumes, London: Burns & Oates 1946-1966 (accessible in the library).

·         John Shand, Philosophy and Philosophers. An Introduction to Western Philosophy, London: UCL Press 1993.

C) Introduction to the texts read in the course:

·         Julia Annas, Ancient Philosophy. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000 (Plato and Aristotle)

·         Simon Blackburn, „Knowledge“, in: Think. A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999, pp. 15–40 (René Descartes)

·         Scruton, Roger, Kant. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

D) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The encyclopaedia is a very useful online tool and its entries can serve as a good introduction to various philosophers and philosophical topics.

Last update: Navrátilová Olga, Mgr. et Mgr., Ph.D. (20.09.2022)
Course completion requirements

For winter semester: The students are asked to read one of the below listed books introducing to philosophy. Each student should write a short essay about one of the philosophical questions chosen from the selected book (three pages) as well as prepare a short introduction to the question which she/he will present to other students.

For summer semester: We will meet in a colloquium where students should prove in the dialogue with the teacher that they have acquired the basic acquittance with the texts read and the questions discussed in the course throughout the whole year.

Last update: Navrátilová Olga, Mgr. et Mgr., Ph.D. (20.09.2022)
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