Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

PHIL 130: Philosophy and Persons

Fall 2012

 

PHIL 130 Syllabus

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY

JOHN FELICE ROME CENTER

COURSE TITLE: PHILOSOPHY AND PERSONS

 

FALL 2012                    

3 semester credits (45 lecture hours)

Day and Time: Monday/Wednesday, 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM

Professor: Susi Ferrarello

Teacher availability: available to see students individually after class by appointment

Contact: ferrarello.susi@tiscali.it or sferrarello@luc.edu

 

1. DESCRIPTION

The course examines the way philosophy looks for fundamental characteristics that identify life as a properly human life, asks about its ultimate meaning or purpose, and raises questions about what counts as a good life.

 

2. OBJECTIVE

  • Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the various approaches of the philosophical questions of what it means to be human.
  • Students will study and learn the framework of ancient, modern and contemporary philosophy
  • Students will have the opportunity (via research paper, essays, class discussions) to explore particular issues using acquired or known philosophical methods.
  • Students will be encouraged to explore their own ideas, to develop their Communication Skills and Sensitivities-Written, Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions, Ethical Awareness and Decision-Making Process.

 

3. REQUIREMENTS

  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • A willingness to partake in class discussions.
  • A questionnaire is distributed on the first day of class to inform the instructor about the general background of students.
  • On your lecture schedule you will find each meeting’s readings: pre-reading is highly recommended.
  • Take notes during the lessons. At the end of the lesson there could be an unannounced quiz on what has been done in class.
  • At all times cell phones must be turned off (both during lectures and visits).
  • Please consider important notes on attendance, participation and assignments (as described in the paragraphs below).

 

4. METHOD

Lectures are based on power point displays and readings from philosophical texts. Class discussion is encouraged at all times.

 

5. TEXT BOOKS – FURTHER READINGS – INTERNET RESOURCES

TEXT BOOKS

Required readings:

The required readings are available on Blackboard or you can find the booklet of all the readings  by the Library.

 

SUGGESTED readings:

Other works that students might consider reading, depending on interest and final paper, and that are all in the Loyola library include:

–                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Renaissance Philosophy of Man, edited by E. Cassirer, P.O.Kristeller, J.H.Randall, Jr., The University of Chicago Press, 1956.

–                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hermetica, The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius, Introduction by Brian Copenhaver,

–                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Terry Eagleton, The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction,Oxford University Press, 2008

–                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought, edited by A. Bailey, S. Brennan, W. Kimlycka, J. Levy, A. Sager, C. Wolf, Broadview press, 2012.

 

INTERNET RESOURCES

–                    JSTOR,

–                    Philosopher's Index

–                    Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

–                    Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

6. VISITS - TRIPS

The visits are still to be defined.

 

 

7. EVALUATION - GRADING SYSTEM

Final Grade Breakdown

10% Attendance and class participation

10% Home assignments

15% Quizzes

15% Oral presentation

25% Midterm Exam

25% Final Exam

 

Please note that a detailed explanation of the above is found in Section 11 (Assignments, Term Papers and Exams).

 

Grading Scale

A = 100 – 93%            A - = 92 – 90%            B+ = 89 – 87%            B = 86 – 83%  B- = 82 – 80%

C+ = 79 – 77%            C = 76 – 73%              C- = 72 – 70%             D = 69 – 60%  F = 59 – 0%

 

10. ATTENDANCE - PARTICIPATION

 

–                   Each absence from class will negatively impact your final grade

–                   Before or after every absence the students are asked to email the instructor 

–                    Active Participation: students are expected to be attentive in class, respond to the intellectual soliciting, manifest their needs for clarity and express their own thoughts when they find the topic stimulating, actively participate and contribute to class discussion. Being physically present in class, but doing other activities (reading things that do not regard the course, using lap tops to check emails, engaging into private small talk etc) will lower the points granted for participation. Each student is expected to have his or her copy of the course pack.

–                    Students are asked to behave respectfully with the professor and their class colleagues.

–                    Cell-phones must be off

–                    It is always the student's responsibility to know how many absences they have in a course.


 

11. EXAMS - ASSIGNMENTS - PAPER

Note: the date and time of the exams cannot be changed for any reason

 

1. Class Attendance and Participation

  • It counts for 10% of the final grade

 

2. Home Assignments:

  • weekly readings as indicated in section #12 below
  • 8 written assignments in which students will be expected to read some pages and answer an essay question.
  • the assignments must be typed (font size:12, space: 1.5, at least 2/3 pages) and printed for class
  • the assignments count for a total of 10% of the final course grade.
  • points will be taken off for missing or incomplete answers
  • # 1 (mock test): to be handed in on September 3

# 1: to be handed in on September 5

# 3: to be handed in on September 10

# 4: to be handed in on September 24

# 5: to be handed in on October 10

# 6: to be handed in on October 26

# 7: to be handed in on October 29

# 8: to be handed in on November 29

 

 

IF THE STUDENT CANNOT COME TO CLASS ON THOSE SPECIFIC DAYS, HE/SHE CAN SEND ME THE HOMEWORK VIA EMAIL. LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.


3. Oral presentation:

  • it counts for 15% of the final course grade.
  • the dates of the presentations will be decided on the first day of class.
  • for no reason the date and time of the oral presentation can be changed

 

4. Midterm exam:

  • It counts for 25% of the final course grade.
  • it will take place on October 17. For no reason the date and time of the scheduled exam can be changed.
  • The Midterm exam will consist of text commentary: two excerpts out of three from the texts in the course pack (30 points); a concise essay (not less than one page) on a well-circumscribed issue (40 points) and a list of about 10 short questions on the issues debated in class summing up to 30 points in case of all perfect answers.

 

5. Quizzes:

  • some unannounced pop-quizzes that will not be graded
  • three graded quizzes: on September 19, October 1, November 7
  • students are expected to answer some open questions or write their own reflections on what has been debated in class or on the philosophical readings and issues prepared for the lesson
  • they count for 15% of the final course grade. 

 

6. Final exam:

  • it counts for 25% of the final course grade.
  • it will take place on December 8. For no reason the date and time of the scheduled exam can be changed.
  • FORMAT:

Part One: 31 multiple choice questions (A-D) of which the student must answer 30. Each question is worth 1% of the Final Exam so thirty correct answers will be worth 30%.

Part Two: Five essay questions of which the student must answer two. Each essay is worth 35% of the Final Exam. The student is expected to write at least two sides of A4 on each essay question and should not duplicate material in the two essays. 

 

 

12. LESSONS

 

Week 1

Date

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 3

Lecture

Presentation of the course; introduction to the class syllabus; info about assignments, exams, papers and oral presentations.

Introduction to the concept of philosophy and persons

Mock Test

Display your own idea of philosophy

Date

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5

Lecture

HERMETICA

How can we explain the world where we are living in? Where does our knowledge come from? How many explanations of ourselves and our surrounding world have been provided throughout the centuries?

Reading

Hermetica (Blackboard #1)

Assignment

Home assignment #1 to be handed in:

Type 100 words (min.): One way to explore the meaning of critical thinking is to examine a model case.  Choose a former teacher, friend, or family member who is a good critical thinker, and then give an example of when this person exercised critical thinking. 

 

 

 

Week 2

Date

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10

Lecture

SOCRATES

Who is a person? What is critical thinking? How can I understand myself? Am I an ignorant? What is the virtue?

Assignments

Home assignment #2 to be handed in:

Type a 300-word (min.) What does piety mean to you and how could you compare it with Socrates' view?

 Readings

Apology (Blackboard #2)

Date

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12

Lecture

SOCRATES

What does being oneself mean? How could you be faithful to yourself? What does piety mean? How could you put in practice your virtues and values?

Readings

Euthyphro (Blackboard #3)

 

Week 3

Date

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 17

Lecture

PLATO

Can you be defined as a pure soul? Are you immortal? How could you know yourself and the world that surrounds you? What is an idea? How would you explain the origin of your knowledge?

Readings

Phaedo (Blackboard #4)

Date

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19

Lecture

PLATO

What is justice? What is a just person? Is better to be a just or unjust people? Is your body conducive to get your idea of justice and perfection?

Readings

Republic (Blackboard #5)

Quiz

The quiz will verge on what we have done in class TODAY

 

Week 4

Date

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24

Lecture

PLATO

How could explain pure and abstract truths? How could you prove the existence of  immaterial and spiritual essences? How can you enhance your life?

Readings

Republic (Blackboard #6)

Assignment

Home assignment #3 to be handed in:

Describe what is for you the myth of the cave (type 300 words min.)

Date

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 26

Role-Play

Platonic dialogue – The class will be split in groups and will display a Platonic dialogue arguing  for or against a well-circumscribed issue.

Readings

Republic (Blackboard #7)

 

 

Week 5

Date

MONDAY OCTOBER 1

Lecture

ARISTOTLE

What is the being? What is the difference between a being and a person? What does potency and act means? Who are you potentially?

Readings

Metaphysics (Blackboard #8)

Quiz

 

Date

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3

Lecture

ARISTOTLE

What is well being? What does happiness mean? How to fulfil yourself? Are your goals conducive to reach your happiness?

Readings

Nicomachean Ethics (Blackboard #9)

 

Week 6

Date

MONDAY OCTOBER 8

Lecture

ARISTOTLE

What does values mean? How could you define your system of values?

Readings

Nicomachean Ethics (Blackboard #10)

Date

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 10

Lecture

ARISTOTLE

Think about your own ethical system

Assignment

Home assignment #5 to be handed in:

Type a 1.000-word (min.) formal essay on one of the following subjects:

-  Compare Plato’s and Aristotle’s ideas of goodness emphasizing your view on the two systems

- What does “well-being” mean within our society?

 

Readings

Nicomachean Ethics (Blackboard #11)

 

 

Week 7

Date

MONDAY OCTOBER 15

 

THEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL READINGS FROM AUGUSTINE AND THOMAS

Who is the first motor of your life? Is it your life driven by an Almighty power? Are you free? Are you predestined? How can we be finite if we come from an infinite power?

Readings

Selection from Thomas and Augustine (Blackboard #12)

Date

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 17

 

MIDTERM  EXAM

 

Week 8

OCTOBER 22-24  – FALL BREAK

 

Week 9

Date

MONDAY OCTOBER 29

Lecture

The new anthropology. Pico's Oration

Why did Pico write this speech? Was it praised? What are the main arguments he discussed there? What do ybris and nemesis mean? Do you agree with his idea of man? Is it still actual? What is the dignity? Are you a digniteous person?

 

Assignment

Home assignment #6 to be handed in:

Underline the quotations that you found more relevant and comment on them (Type 500 words min.)

Readings

Oration on the Human Dignity (Blackboard#13)

Date

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 31

Lecture

NICHOLAS OF CUSA

Are we infinite? How can we explain the infinite power of our soul and the limits of our body? Are we a spark of God?

Readings

On learned Ignorance (Blackboard #14)

 

Week 10

Date

MONDAY NOVEMBER 5

Lecture

HUME

Are all the values fair and right? Are we moral beings by nature? What is the good in itself? What is a moral understanding? Do you have your own sense of morality? Is it morality a universal sentiment? Is morality a system of laws or a way of being?

 

Readings

Treatise on Human Nature (Blackboard #15)

Date

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 7

Lecture

HOBBES

What is the difference between democracy and monarchy? Which kind of freedom do you have as a citizen? Why does a person follow the laws? What is the private space of a person?

Readings

Leviathan (Blackboard #16)

Quiz

 

 

 

Week 11

Date

MONDAY NOVEMBER 12

Lecture

LOCKE AND ISAIAH BERLIN

What is a person within a political country? What is the difference between a citizen and a person?  What is freedom? How many freedoms exists?

Readings

Second Treatise on Government (Blackboard #17)

Date

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 14

Lecture

LOCKE

How many definitions of freedom do you know? Are you free? How can you combine your personal happiness and a political idea of well-being?

Readings

Second Treatise on Government (Blackboard #18)

Assignment

Home assignment #7 to be handed in:

Role-play

Use the articles of declaration to defend a positve or negative freedom

 

 

 

 

Week 12

Date

MONDAY NOVEMBER 19

Lecture

SEN

How can you achieve your personal well-being as a person and as a professional? How can you be helpful with the growth of your country and your personal being?

Readings

Development and Freedom (Blackboard #19)

Date

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 21

 

NO CLASS TODAY - THANKSGIVING

 

 

Week 12

Date

 

MAKE-UP CLASS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 23

 

Lecture

FIELDTRIP

Assignment

Write a report on the visit

 

 

 

Week 13

Date

MONDAY NOVEMBER 26

Lecture

RAWLS AND SUSAN MOLLER OKIN

Justice as fairness? What does being fair mean? Justice for whom? Justice and gender issues

Readings

Selected Readings (Blackboard #19)

Date

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 28

Assignment

Home assignment #8 to be handed in:

- Being a person means …(type 1000 words min.)

 

Role-play

Write your own declaration (six articles) and defend it against other groups’ arguments.

 

Week 14

Date

MONDAY DECEMBER 3

Lecture

Olympe de Gouge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth,

How do you live with other people?  Is a female identity different from a male one? Are female rights inferior than male rights?

Readings

Selected readings (Blackboard #20)

Date

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 5

Lecture

Harriet Taylor Mill, Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt

Who is your witness? What does existence mean?

Readings

The Origin of Totalitarianism (Blackboard # 21)

 

Week 15

Date

MONDAY DECEMBER 8

 

FINAL EXAM

 

 

ALTERNATIVE LESSON: In the case of the instructor’s absence, a substitute will carry out a prepared alternative lesson during the regular course time. The students will watch the movie  Never let me go directed by Ishiguro.