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ASU HON 394 - Syllabus

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12 March Descartes, Third and Fifth MeditationsHON 394/REL 394Self and Other: Ethical Relation in Post-Cartesian Philosophy of ReligionInstructor: Elizabeth McManusOffice: Irish 218Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 245-430 and by appointmentOffice phone: 480-727-7152Email: [email protected] course examines various understandings of how we relate to each other. Since Descartes’formulation of the self as a thinking ego, a monadic mind, philosophers and theologians haveattempted to explain how an isolated, embodied mind can and should understand its obligations tothe world around it and, more importantly, to the people who inhabit that world. Some of thequestions occupying our attention this semester are: is it possible to “know” another person?insofar as it is possible, how do we determine what we owe to others? are human beings inherentlysympathetic or inherently violent? is God necessary to an ethics of relation?A few words of caution about this course…while there are no formal prerequisites, the coursematerial is challenging and the philosophical language can be extremely technical. In the secondhalf of the semester especially, we will be reading and analyzing texts that are rarely used forundergraduate seminars. If you do not already have a firm grounding in Enlightenment philosophy,you will be quite lost in this course.Academic Integrity:As is the case with most colleges and universities, Arizona State University assumes that you willapproach your educational opportunities with a certain level of mature responsibility. I want youto know that I take academic integrity very seriously, and I demand that you do so as well.PLAGIARISM is presenting the words or ideas of another author as your own. If you get an ideafrom another source, you MUST cite it. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. While I certainlydo not expect any problems on this front, I want to make it perfectly clear that ANYONECAUGHT CHEATING WILL FAIL BOTH THE ASSIGNMENT AND THE COURSE. Inaddition to failing the course, the violation may be reported to the Dean of the Honors College forfurther action.Grievance Procedure:For information on what to do if you are feeling aggrieved, please go to: www.asu.edu/honors.Under “Forms and Documents,” you will find information on the formal grievance procedures forthe Barrett Honors College.Course Requirements :1. Attendance and ACTIVE participation are required. You may have TWO unexcused absencesduring the semester. For every additional unexcused absence, you will lose 1/3 of a grade offof your participation grade. If you are late to class two times, it counts as an unexcusedabsence. Excused absences include participation in a University-sanctioned academic orathletic event (provided I am notified before the event) and illness (with a doctor’s note). Anyother type of absence is considered unexcused. Because this course is designed as a seminar, it is essential that you provide thoughtful, activeparticipation. There are no right or wrong answers in this course; you will be graded on yourgrasp of the material and your ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas. If you makelittle or no effort to engage the material and your classmates, your participation grade willsuffer. PHYSICAL PRESENCE IN THE CLASSROOM DOES NOT CONSTITUTEPARTICIPATION. While I do not plan to give quizzes on the readings, I reserve the right to doso should I perceive the need.Participation counts for 30% of your final course grade.2. Discussion board—I am looking for quality over quantity; therefore, there is no “magicnumber” with regard to posts. Your participation in the webboard discussion is intended tosupplement rather than to replace in-class discussion. Just as your classroom participationshould be thoughtful, analytical, and textually engaged, so too should your online participation.Make your responses genuine responses. In other words, just as in class, when you respond to,interrogate, and analyze the text(s), you should adopt the same approach with the discussionboard. Both in class and online you should be engaging and sharpening your analytical andcritical thinking skills.Lastly, a word on discussion board etiquette…when I say “critical thinking skills,” I do notmean (as I am sure you know) your abilities to criticize. The webboard is not an occasion foryou to perform a public, metaphorical vivisection on your classmates. Be respectful and, justas importantly, be aware of what you are saying, not merely of what you are intending to say.In this sense, your writing on the discussion board is no different from the more formal writingyou do for this course. Webboard participation counts for 15% of your final course grade. 3. Two longer papers—the first paper will be 6-7 pages long; the second will be 10-12 pages.PLEASE NOTE: NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED WITHOUT MY PRIORAPPROVAL. Grading will be based on both content and style/grammar, so pay as muchattention to how you say something as you do to what you are saying. The first paper willcount for 20% of your final grade; the second paper counts for 35%.How to write a paper for this course:I evaluate you papers with emphasis on three key qualities: a well-defined thesis, logicalprogression, and textual evidence that supports your arguments. This is not to say that otheraspects (e.g., grammar, style, etc.) do not figure in, but these three are the most important.First of all, title your paper. Ideally, your title should reflect the topic, though not necessarily thethesis, of your paper, e.g., “Aristotle’s Understanding of Happiness.” If you wish to give someclue to the argument in your title, so much the better. Do not title your paper “Essay #1.”Remember that the title is the first thing that your reader sees.INTRODUCTION. The introduction sets the context for your argument. You should let the readerknow what work(s) you are discussing, the aspect of the work(s) on which you’ll focus (yourtopic), and what point you intend to make about your topic (your thesis or argument). Yourargument needs to be analytical; it must prove something.What constitutes a well-defined thesis? A well-defined thesis is one that indicates an interestingand abstract idea that you wish


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