Introduction to Philosophy

Fall 1996

Greg Moses

(316 Fontaine Hall, ext 2217)

Marist College

A Few Philosophy Links & A Few Links to Egypt

Required texts:

Plato. Symposium. Trans. Alexander Nehamas & Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.
Marx, Karl. Capital: Vol. 1. Trans. Ben Fowkes. London: Penguin Classics, 1990.
Locke, Alain. The Philosophy of Alain Locke. Ed. Leonard Harris. Philadelphia: Temple, 1989.

Course objectives:

Introduction to Philosophy is required of all Marist freshmen in order to provide an orientation and critical approach to the core curriculum. For this reason, we shall explore how human consciousness may be developed in terms of four modes:

mytho-poetic, religious, scientific, and philosophical.

As a result of this investigation, it is expected that students will understand the rationale for a comprehensive liberal arts education and will be able to anticipate the ways in which each discipline of study may contribute to human wisdom.

As students of the Philosophy Department in the Division of Humanities, it is expected that your education will prepare you to become, "reflective, critical, and engaged citizens. . . . This would include a deepening of the appreciation of the diverse and transcendent dimensions of human experience through an exploration of ultimate human concerns and their social, communal, and personal implications."

Furthermore, it is traditionally expected that college-educated persons will display sophisticated habits of communication and informational literacy. This means that we shall be able to confront information, sift it, and draw conclusions with integrity and creativity.

Course design:

With the above objectives in mind, we will survey the broad development of human experience through the works of four great thinkers: Plato, Hypatia, Marx, and Alain Locke. In every work we shall:

find the extent to which each of the four modes of consciousness participates, identify ultimate concerns and the consequences that ensue, evaluate the overall contribution of the writer with both affirmation and dissent, strive to have vigorous discussions, complement our reading with research, and write, write, write.

Praxis option:

Students may integrate community activity according to their own interests and initiatives. A list of options is available from the instructor, but students are encouraged to explore their own connections. The community activity will serve as a substitute for some portion of the course requirements listed below. The intention of this option is to encourage critical reflection that is organically related to community service, thus the selected activity should be viewed as an enhancement of thought, not a replacement.

Course Requirements:

The final grade will consist of the following, each weighted equally:

Class participation, including frequent quizzes and discussion groups First Paper --following Plato/Hypatia (5 pages, 1250 words) Second Paper--following Marx (5 pages, 1250 words) Third Paper--following Locke (5 pages, 1250 words) Final Exam
Note: Regular attendance is expected. Three unexcused absences (i.e. more than one week) will result in the deduction of one full letter from your overall grade. Five unexcused absences (more than two weeks) will result in a "D." Seven unexcused absences (more than three weeks) will result in an "F." Excuses will be accepted within ten days of an absence.


Note: Quizzes will be frequent.
1 (Sept. 2-6)
Plato, pp. 1-24
Introduction & Orientation

2 (Sept. 9-13)
Plato, pp. 25-47
Plato, pp. 48-77
Discussion Teams

3 (Sept. 16- 20)
Hypatia, web sites
Discussion Teams

4 (Sept. 23-26)
Hypatia, web sites
Discussion Teams

5 (Sept. 30-Oct. 4)
Plato & Hypatia
Review: Myth, Science, Religion, & Philosophy in a Pre-Capitalist World
First Paper Due (2 copies in a file folder)

6 (Oct. 7-11)
Marx, pp. 871-904
Marx, pp. 905-940
Discussion Teams & Evaluation Workshops

7 (Oct. 14-18)
Marx, pp. 492-543
Marx, pp. 544-588
Discussion Teams & Midterm Assessment

8 (Oct. 21-25)
Marx, pp. 588-639
Marx, pp. 711-761
Discussion Teams

9 (Oct. 28-Nov. 1)
Marx, pp. 762-781
Marx, pp. 781-802, & 870
Discussion Teams

10 (Nov. 4-8)
Review: Myth, Science, Religion, & Philosophy in a Capitalist World
Second Paper Due (2 copies)

11 (Nov. 11-15)
Locke, pp. 34-43
Locke, pp. 44-50
Discussion Teams & Evaluation Exercises

12 (Nov. 18-22)
Locke, pp. 176-185
Locke, pp. 265-275
Discussion Teams

13 (Nov. 25-27)
Review: Myth, Science, Religion, & Philosophy for an International World

14 (Dec. 2-6)
Plato & Hypatia
Review: The Ancient World Revisited
Third Paper Due (2 copies)

15 (Dec. 9-13)
Marx & Locke
Review: Modernity & Capitalism
Assessment Exercises

16 (Dec. 16-21)
Final Exam (Comprehensive): Assessing the State of Human Wisdom in Terms of Four Modes of Consciousness

Quizzes: These will be brief exercises to test reading skills and comprehension of class discussion. The instructor will record scores as a guide for overall assessment.

Discussion Groups: Two students will prepare affirmations ("here is a passage that deserves affirmation for the following reasons"), two students will prepare dissents ("here is a passage which deserves dissent for the following reasons"). The instructor will record a mark (check, plus, or minus) for each assignment as a guide for overall evaluation. Students are encouraged to discuss these marks at the instructor’s office.

Handouts will be provided that: 1) outline criteria for evaluating papers and, 2) suggest a general process for developing a paper.

Papers not turned in at the beginning of class will be counted as late.

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