Living Issues in Philosophy

PHI 1305-04
Spring 1996
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.
Tidwell B01

Dr. Scott H. Moore, Instructor

  1. Introduction to the Course
  2. Required Texts
  3. Grading and Course Requirements
  4. Test Policy
  5. Assignments
  6. World Wide Web Resources

Introduction to the Course:

This course is intended to be a critical introduction to the discipline of philosophy. We will spend our time this semester thinking, reading, and talking about some of the great questions and ideas which have captivated women and men for centuries. What do we really know? What does it mean to be successful as human beings? What does science tell me about the world? Does God exist, and if so (or if not) how would we know? Why should I be moral? Why is there something and not nothing? What does it mean to be an "authentic individual"?

This term, we will focus on this last question and assume that "authentic individuals" are best equipped to answer the other questions. The course is designed to provide opportunities for us to explore these important thoughts and questions and to introduce us to some ideas we might not have considered before. While we will spend much of our time considering the thoughts of some of the great thinkers of human history and today, we will be more interested in developing our abilities to "do philosophy." How you "do philosophy" will become more clear as the semester progresses.

I want you to enjoy this course, and I want you to enjoy philosophy. Philosophy is simply thinking hard about life. But make no mistake, this is serious business. Apart from reading and thinking about what you have read, there is very little homework for this course. But the reading and the thinking about the reading are both essential. If you take this course seriously, it can be one of the most exciting courses of your college career.

Required Texts

Aristotle. Ethics. Trans. J.A.K. Thompson. New York: Penguin Classics.

Kierkegaard, Søren. Either/Or. One volume abridgement. Penguin Classics.

West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.

Taylor, Charles. The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Hoekema, David A. Campus Rules and Moral Community: In Place of In Loco Parentis. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1994.

Optional Texts

Robinson, Timothy. Aristotle in Outline. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1995.

West, Cornel. Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times. Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism, Vol. 1. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1993.

Grading and Course Requirements

There will be two exams and a final. The final will not be comprehensive. Each exam will be designed to test your ability to think and to communicate philosophically. Each exam will make up 20% of your total grade. In order to make an –A” in the course, you will have to do superior work and complete three –outside questions” prior to each exam. I will tell you more about this dimension of the course as we approach the first exam.
There will be brief reading quizzes (almost) every class period. If you have read the material and thought about it (not memorized it) you should have no problem. We will drop (at least) the two lowest scores on these tests. The quiz average will count as a major exam (20% of total grade).
Class participation is also very important. Each day we will spend some time discussing the readings and/or the lecture. Failure to make thoughtful contributions in class will hurt your grade, and excessive absences could result in a low or even failing participation grade. You will receive a subjective class participation grade (also 20%). This facet of the course is designed to help your average. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Grades for PHI 1305 are based on a cumulative point scale. Final grades will be based on the following criteria:

A	540-600 Total points
B+	490-539 Total points
B	450-489 Total points
C+	420-449 Total points
C	390-419 Total points
D	340-389 Total points
F	<340
Test Policy

Daily quizzes cannot be made up. The exams will be based on the readings, any handouts, the lectures, and class discussions. They will require you to think and communicate well. Make-up exams will be given only in the case of three kinds of emergencies: illness, family emergency, and authorized University business.

If you contact me before the exam with an explanation, there will be no grade reduction. If you miss the exam without contacting me beforehand, there will be a reduction of one letter-grade, followed by five points off for every day you fail to contact me. Missing a test is serious business. The best thing you can do if you have to miss one will be to contact me as soon as possible.

Assignments (Subject to revision)

All assignments are to be completed in advance of the class session.

Jan	 9	Introduction to Course and to Philosophy
		What does it mean to be an "authentic individual"?

	11	Living on Campus after the Revolution
		Hoekema, 9-19

	16	Campus Morality, "Thou Shalt Not . . ."
		Hoekema, 65-111

	18	What should campus rules accomplish?
		Hoekema, 115-41

	23	What is good discipline?
		Hoekema, 143-66

	25	Introduction to Either/Or, Kierkegaard, 27-37
		Type A:  "All I want to do is have some fun," Kierkegaard, 43-57

	30	The World's Most Unhappy Person and Change in Life
		Kierkegaard, 211-41

Feb	 1	Diary of a Seducer
		Kierkegaard, Readings assigned

	 6	Type B:  "Being good ain't so bad, and real love ain't boring."
		Kierkegaard, 383-91, 443-45, 468-74

	 8	Life's either/or.  Go figure.
		Kierkegaard, 477-92, 543-48, 556-58, 573-90

	13	Examination I

	Wednesday, February 14:  Faculty Research Day
	See Schedule of Presentations

	15	Introduction to Aristotle
		Aristotle, 9-43

	20	Book I:  The Object of Life
		Aristotle, 63-90

	22	Book II:  Moral Goodness
		Aristotle, 91-110

	27	Book III:  Moral Responsibility
		Aristotle, 111-41

	29	Book V:  Justice
		Aristotle, 171-202

Mar	 5	Book VIII:  Friendship
		Aristotle, 258-85

	 7	Book X:  Pleasure and the Life of Happiness
		Aristotle, 312-42

	12	No Class  --  Spring Break 

	14	No Class  --  Spring Break

	20	Conclusion to Aristotle

	22	Examination II

	26	Race Matters and Nihilism
		West, 1-8, 11-20

	28	Crisis of Black Leadership and Black Conservatism
		West, 35-46, 49-59

Apr	 2	Beyond Affirmative Action and Black-Jewish Relations
		West, 63-67, 71-79

	 4	Black Sexuality and Malcolm X & Black Rage
		West, 83-91, 95-105

	 9	The "Problem" of Authenticity
		Taylor, 1-23

	11	The Sources of Authenticity
		Taylor, 25-41

	16	The Need for Recognition and Subjectivism
		Taylor, 43-69

	18	The Struggle Goes On
		Taylor, 71-91

	23	The Ethic of Practical Benevolence
		Taylor, 93-121

	25	Conclusion to course and review
Final Examination: Wednesday, May 1, 8:00 a.m.

World Wide Web Resources

One way that you can supplement your readings and lectures is through the vast resources of the World Wide Web. Below you will find connecting links to (hopefully) useful Web sites, essays, and homepages. You can also find Reading Notes and Handouts for the reading assignments. Be sure to check these pages on a regular basis. I will be adding to them as the term progresses.

Søren Kierkegaard


Cornel West

Charles Taylor

Return to Dr. Moore's Homepage.