What's Up Philosophy 125

Please keep your eye on the Blackboard announcements page for test availability and deadlines.


Ok everyone, this is it, need to be finished by midnight tonight.  Please don't send me emails about how the technology broke you in your hour of need.

A correction on the journals.  I drop 4 of your journal grades, not 2.  I will be grading journals all weekend and your grades will be posted early next week.

Take care everyone.  I hope you found this class to be more work than you bargained for but, in the end, more than you expected to learn as well.  If not, well, feel free to drop me a line and tell me how to make it a better learning experience.

Take care and I hope you have a more relaxing back half of the summer.  You've earned it!


Hi everyone, this thing is about over!  Test number 11 covering modules 19-21 is available and the final test will be available by Monday evening. As already noted, this course officially ends on Tuesday, but you will have until Friday the 12th to take the tests, and make your final journal entry.

I will not be producing online lectures to cover the last 3 modules Chapters 9, 14 and 15 and you are therefore not responsible for revisions for these chapters.  I will also not post answers to study questions to the last two modules, since this would have to be done in advance of their due dates to be useful.  So the final test will largely assess your unaided comprehension of the reading. 

I have to turn in your final grades by July 16th, but please do not unshare your journals with me for a couple of weeks, just in case there are unanticipated difficulties or recording errors on my part that require correction.

I will not be available by email on Wednesday July 10th as I will be in transit to Denmark.  Send them anyway, I will answer you when I get there.


Hi everyone, I have posted tests 9 and 10 and also have re-set test number 5 to allow for a retake.  Scores on test 6 were well above average, so I will not be resetting that one.

Also, one of you pointed out that a question on the Module 13 test is incorrect.  The question asks what interpretation of QM is least consistent with realism.  The correct answer is the Standard Interpretation.  I have updated this test though several of you have taken it.  If you took it a second time and were penalized, let me know.



Hi everyone, test 8 was posted yesterday.  The lecture for Chapter 2, Beginning of Infinity will be up by early this afternoon.  It will be short, as is the journal assignment, so I will leave tonight's due date in place. If that is not enough time for you make a note on your journal entry that it was late because of me.  I have not finished the third round of grading on the journals yet.  Your only cause for alarm should be my a not by me that you have stopped making journal entries.  If this is inaccurate, you need to notify me pronto.  All remaining journal assignments will be posted by this evening. Stay cool.


Test 7 is posted and covers only module 13.  Test 8 will be posted by tonight or tomorrow and will cover only module 14.  You will be given two attempts on test 7 and all remaining tests. 
Your second attempt will be available immediately after the first attempt and is subject to the same deadline as the first. 


Hey Module 14 revisions are due tomorrow at midnight, but I will not be able to get the lecture 28 video up until tomorrow morning, so you can take another day on that if you need it.


Hi everyone, test 3 and 4 have been reset to allow you to take them a second time.  The tests are exactly the same, but the questions are typically randomized, so do not go by the numbering of your previous test to determine your answers.  If you retake these tests, they must be completed by 11:59 PM.  Also, be sure to keep track of your due dates for tests 5 and 6.


Hi folks, as you have noticed, we are well into the second half of the term!  We will be finishing Worldviews this week and moving on to David Deustch's book, The Beginning of Infinity.  As you've seen in the schedule, we will not be reading Deutsch's book in it's entirety.

Most people are doing very solid work on their journals now. Those of you who are not getting 4's and 5's on your entries are either not proofreading your work or you are not following up your original entries with corrections from the lectures and the professor's journal.  It's important to remember that while I don't grade off for your initial answers being wrong or incomplete they do need to be corrected by the time I grade them, or you'll get less than a perfect score. 

As far as the rest of the term is concerned, in order to finish on time at a more or less reasonable pace the study questions for the modules covering The Beginning of Infinity will be shorter, but somewhat more frequent.

Also, the term officially ends on July 9th, which is a Tuesday.  All of the study question modules will have been made available by then, so it will be well within the means of anyone who needs to to finish. However, for those who wish to take more time, the due dates for the last modules as well as the last few tests (and repeat tests if there are any) will extend to midnight Friday the 12th.

Hang in there everyone.


Hi everyone, SacState is experiencing serious e-mail delays right now as a result of a phishing attack.  If you need to get in touch with me quickly it might be better to do it outside the Saclink system, using my gmail address which is grandolphmayes@gmail.com

Test 5 will be up this afternoon and Module 10 screencasts are available now.

Also, I inadvertently made Module 10 revisions due 6.22 which is Saturday.  This has been changed to Monday 6.24, along with Module 11.


I have reset both Test 1 and Test 2 to allow people to take them one more time.  Re-takes are due by Sunday 6/23 at 11:59 PM.  (Your highest score will be the one counted.)  Allowing re-takes is not a policy, this is just an accommodation to those who had a rough start.  Test scores are now rising as people appear to be adjusting to the expectations.

Note:  If you go to your gradebook and click on your previous score you will be able to view the tests with your previous answers.


Hi everyone, welcome to the third week. You have two modules due today and tomorrow is the last day to take test 2.  The term is half over at the end of this week!  People have generally done very strong work on journals.  The performances on the test have varied a great deal, from excellent to catastrophic.  I have decided to allow everyone to re-take test 1. The average results on future tests will guide me with respect to possible future re-takes.  I will be making the test 1 re-take available for a limited time starting tomorrow.  It will be exactly the same test (though the questions will not necessarily be in the same order) so use your feedback from the previous test and everyone should substantially improve their scores.


Just a quick note this Saturday morning with respect to tests.  In the future, please pay attention to whether a question is a multiple choice question or a multiple answer question. To date I have been indicating this in a parenthetical remark, but I will not continue to do so.

A multiple answer question is one with square rather than round check boxes, and it indicates that there may be more than one correct answer.  This will by no means always be the case. 

Also, to get credit on multiple answers, you need to identify all of the correct answers. Hence, if you receive feedback that says "Correct" you may still have received 0 points because you did not choose all of the correct answers or because you chose an incorrect answer.


Here is the basic grading rubric for your journal entries.  Fractional grades (e.g. 3.5) indicate complete fulfillment of criteria below the grade,  but incomplete fulfillment of criteria above it. Since answers are provided in Professor's Journal, you should be able to tell from this and the PJ why you got the grade you did on any particular entry.  However, please e-mail me with questions if you do not.

5 =  All answers neatly formatted and written and thoughtfully composed with no or few writing errors.  Either all or most questions have been answered well or correctly on first attempt, or fully corrected in a blue revision with only occasional corrections in green necessary.

4 = All answers provided are neatly formatted and written and clearly composed with no or few writing errors. Some initially incorrect or missing answers have not been adequately corrected in a blue or green revision. The majority of correct revisions are in blue rather than green.

3 = All or most answers provided are neatly formatted and written and at least fairly clearly composed with few writing errors.  Several initially incorrect or missing answers have not been adequately corrected in a blue or green revision. Most correct revisions are in blue rather than green.

2 = All or most answers provided are neatly formatted and written though possibly with significant composition or writing errors, or significant numbers of initially incorrect or missing answers have not been adequately corrected in a blue or green revision. 

1=  Many answers provided are not neatly formatted and written and contain significant writing and composition errors, or large numbers of initially incorrect or missing answers have not been adequately corrected in a blue or green revision. 

0 = Either not done or fails to meet all or most criteria mentioned above.


Test 3 covering modules 5 and 6 is now available and is due on Friday the 21st.  I should be finished grading your journals Modules 1-4 by tomorrow.


Hi everybody, just a few heads up and reminders for  for today.

First, you'll notice that journal assignments are now starting to go up well in advance of their due dates, and this is something I will be doing my best to maintain so as to give you more flexibility within your own schedule.

Second, you'll notice that you will occasionally have two modules due on the same date. This will typically be on a Monday, and again is done so as to allow you greater flexibility on how you work during the weekend.  (Unfortunately, for the next 4 weeks, whether  you work on the weekend won't be a serious question.)

Third, not all modules are created equal.  Some of them will have longer readings than others and some have fewer questions than others.  So the difference in due dates is to some extent a reflection of this fact as well.  

Fourth, many of you did well on the first test, but a fair number of you were surprised at how poorly you did on it.  So let me emphasize that you will almost certainly not do well on these tests without engaging and taking copious notes on the lecture as well as having processed the correct answers to all the study questions.  Virtually every lecture will present things that are not in the book.  

Fifth, remember that open book tests can be deceptively challenging.  Many students think that they do not need to know the material that well if they can just look it up; however (a) the tests are timed and looking things up burns a lot of time and (b) getting the answers to these questions right depends on your having actually understood and thought about the material.

Sixth, be sure you are keeping track of the test due dates and that you take the test on a stable internet connection.  You do get to drop two test grades, but you don't want to have to do that because you were trying to take the test on a mobile device and got dropped.

Finally, a reminder about journal due dates.  The revision due date is for the 2nd revision, which is due after the lecture is posted but before the PJ answers are posted.  There are no specific due dates for 3rd revisions. These are mostly for you, so that you can be sure to have accurate answers on your journal. Occasionally I will have lectures up slightly before the initial due dates, but this is not normal. 


OK, Test 2 covering modules 3 and 4 is now available on Blackboard. You have a week to do it, but I would suggest doing it beforehand while the material is fresh in your mind. 

Module 4 revisions are due tonight and lectures for module 4 will be posted tomorrow.  


Hi everybody, just a quick note about revisions.  The due date I post for revisions concerns the blue revisions you do after I post lecture.  There is not a specific due date on the green revisions, but you should get them done within a day or so of my posting the answers. 

I will be grading modules 1-4 of your journals at the end of this week.


Hi everyone, hope you are having a productive weekend.  The WV Chapter 5 lecture is available, and Chapter 6 is either available or will be shortly.  Keep your eye on the due dates at the top of the PJ. Remember that you must take Test 1 by Friday.  Test 2 covering modules 3 and 4 will be available by Tuesday, and you will have a week to do that as well.

Please e-mail with any questions at any time.  


The module 2 lectures are now available on the reading schedule.  Test 1, covering modules 1 and 2 will be available later this afternoon in SacCT.  As will module 4 study questions.


Hi everyone, just a few notes this morning.  All of your Module 1 revisions are due by this evening, as are your initial answers to Module 2.  Tomorrow I will be putting up the Module 2 screencasts.  Now that we are underway, and hopefully the course is making sense to you, I will not continually announce the due dates for study questions here.  Just look at the PJ and you'll see them noted parenthetically by each module. I will also not always be announcing when new study questions are available.  Again, just keep up with the PJ.

The due dates for study questions will not always be evenly spaced.  This is because some modules are more work than others and also in order to accommodate the weekend.  If I give you a due date on a Saturday or Sunday, it is not because I am trying to ruin your weekend, but rather because I am using the weekend to give you extra time to get stuff in.  So, e.g., if something is due on a Saturday, it will have been reasonable to expect you to get it done by Friday.

Some of you, being new to this environment, have written concerned that I am actually receiving your work. You don't need to worry about this.  If you know that you have successfully shared your journal with me, then I am able to view it.  I will not necessarily be grading your study questions immediately after they are submitted. Sometimes I will grade 2 or 3 modules at a time.  Your grade will show up as a number next to the module on the top of the page.  Sometimes, but not always, I will leave comments by your answers.

By tomorrow afternoon (Friday) your test covering Modules 1 and 2 will be available on Blackboard.  As noted below, you will have a week to do this test.  However, the test itself will be timed, and you must make sure you are on a stable internet connection when you do it.  If you lose the connection, the test is over at that point.  The possibility of this occurring is one reason I let you drop two test scores.  You are free to use your notes and tests during this time. However, if you rely on them, there is a very good chance you will run out of time during the test. 


Hi everyone, the screencasts for Chapters 1 and 2 are now available on the reading schedule.  If you look at the reading assignments you will see that Chapters 1 and 2 are now underlined, which means the link to the screencast has been activated.  These screencasts often include supplementary material which you will be accountable for. So don't skip them just because you feel that you have understood the reading.

Also, here is another important video on the proper way to format your answers and your revisions.  Be sure you watch it because the instructions are very specific. They involve writing your revisions in colors that correspond to their due dates.  Note: If you watch this video and realize that the formatting of your answers requires improvement, then you may go back and fix them this one time.  Do not change content, however.

Study questions for Chapter 3 and 4 are due tomorrow at midnight and Friday the online test for chapter 1 will be available.  You will have about a week to do most tests (except for two at the end of the term.) 

Note: There was a typo in a module 2 question.  Chapter 4 question 3 should read:

3. Briefly explain why disconfirmation reasoning is deductive and confirmation reasoning is inductive.

Also, the due dates for module 2 may not have been posted when you copied it, so be sure to check the PJ link above again if you don't have them.


If you are just getting started in this class and have not yet created a journal, scroll down and start reading from the very bottom of this page. The following instructions don't pertain to you yet.

If you have established your journal, formatted according to the video instructions from 6.2.13 below, and at least got started on the first set of questions (due by midnight tonight!), you are in fine shape.  You will notice now that there is a link above that says Professor's Journal.  It will stay there for the rest of the term.  This is where you will go, both to evaluate your answers for revisions and to get the new assignment.

The new assignment  for module 2 is now posted.  What you will do is click on the Professor's Journal link, click on Module 2, then copy and paste all of the questions under Module 2 into the corresponding section of your journal.  When you do this, don't select the blue Module 2 bookmark, as that will insert a new bookmark into your page, which you don't want.  If you have trouble copying (i.e., if the page doesn't scroll to let you copy everything in one swipe) try starting from the bottom and scrolling up.  In any case, be careful to get all of the questions. 

Note that the due dates and any status updates for each module will be posted at the top of the Professor's Journal page to the right of the corresponding module.

E-mail me with questions. I will normally respond very quickly. Also, if you want to chat with me, I'll be available for good parts of each day on Google Chat.  Just go to the e-mail or Google+ section of Google and type grandolphmayes into the search box.  I'll need to accept your invitation to chat, but after that you should see my name as active whenever I am online. 

Tomorrow morning the Module 1 lectures will be posted. 


Good job, most of you have your journals established and are well on your way to answering the first set of study questions, which are due tomorrow 6.4 by midnight.  (All due dates are midnight of that date.) On Wednesday morning 6.5 I will put up the corresponding lectures so that you can make any revisions. I will also be posting the new study questions by then as well as the first test.  This is going to feel like a hella lotta work at first, but we will get into a rhythm, and then it will just be a hecka lotta work.  Be sure to check back here every day for updates.  Also be sure you have fixed the hyperlinks and they are all functional. If I visit your page to grade an entry and your hyperlinks are dead you will get a 0. 


Hi, if this is the first time you've been here start reading from the bottom, starting with the 5.31.13 entry. If you have are already acquainted with this material and have already created and shared your journal with me as instructed below, then watch this one.  This video will be of no use to you until you've watched the one below and created your journal.  Get on it!  You may feel like you are on time, but if you don't have your journal made and already doing the first readings, you are already behind.


Hi, read everything under the previous entry if you haven't already.  After getting the books, your first task in this class is to create a Google Doc to share with me. The Google Doc will be the basis of your journal, as described in the syllabus.  If you already know how to use Google Docs, that's great, but don't run off and share a document with me until you have watched this instructional video.  The video gives you very explicit instructions and you need to follow them exactly.  

Important note about the video:  This video was made when I was teaching a Philosophy 006 class, so the viewer is instructed to name the document Philosophy 006.  You will not do this. This is Philosophy 125, so you will substitute the number 125. All of the other instructions are correct.

Make your document by Monday evening at the latest.  This class gets started in a hurry!


Hi, I am teaching two online sections of Philosophy 125 during the first summer session at Sacramento State.  These sections are being taught on the same schedule. The syllabus is available at the Syllabus link and the reading schedule is available at the Schedule link. As indicated on the syllabus, the two books for this course are

Worldviews, 2nd ed. by Richard de Witt  (Be sure to get the 2nd edition, 2010)

Both are available at the Hornet bookstore and Amazon, and they are both available as Kindle e-books at a significant savings.

Cautionary note:  If you opt to have a hard copy of the book shipped to you, you run the risk of delays in accessing important material. The textbooks are NOT optional for this course, and you will need Worldviews immediately. This course moves swiftly and there will be no allowances made on required assignments for delays in textbook acquisition. So strongly consider the purchase of the e-book. 

Please read the syllabus carefully and return to this page for more information on how to get started in this course.  Feel free to get started on the reading right away.