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University at Buffalo State University of New York Department of Jewish Thought JDS199 The Origin of Good and Evil Prof Alexander Green Talbert 106 North Campus TR 3 55 5 10 PM Fall 2021 Course Instructor Prof Alexander Green agreen6 buffalo edu Office Hours By appointment online Course Description In this course The Origin of Good and Evil we will consider how our understanding of right and wrong good and evil originate in two archetypes for how to think about ethical questions Plato s Republic and the Hebrew Bible The existence of good and evil has been strongly challenged in the modern era by contemporary philosophy and science We will read examples of such critiques in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche Sigmund Freud and Hannah Arendt suggesting that one should view good and evil through the prism of power sexuality and bureaucracy The six basic questions which we will ask are 1 Why do we categorize certain things as good and other things as bad Where does that distinction come from 2 Why do people act badly What motivates people to act immorally Are they justified 3 Why do bad things happen to good people Is the world inherently just 4 How are the ethical and the political related Is one type of political community more good or just than another Which one 5 Does acting morally require God Can one be good without God 6 Can one act unethically and avoid punishment Warning You may feel you are an expert on the Bible having studied it throughout your life This class will be asking you to unlearn what you have learned We will not be reading the Bible as a religious text that tells you how to live your life as a believer in a specific religion We 1 will be reading the Bible as a work of thought or wisdom that seeks to provide a perspective on how to understand the natural world in opposition to the worldview presented by Plato in the Republic This semester Jenna Lenz will serve as our Student Success Coach to support your transition to the University at Buffalo Jenna will check in with you throughout the semester and is available to provide guidance on university policies offer academic tips and resources for success and help you connect with others in our course and the UB community Contact Jenna by email jlenz buffalo edu for assistance Student Success Required Books 1 Plato The Republic New York Basic Books 2016 This is the 3rd edition but you can purchase the 1st or 2nd edition as well However you will have a hard time following along with a different translation 2 The Jewish Study Bible Featuring The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation eds Adele Berlin Marc Zvi Brettler and Michael Fishbane Oxford Oxford University Press 2003 The readings from Nietzsche Freud and Arendt will be available for download from Ublearns Please print and bring to class as we will likely be going through the text in class Course Requirements 15 Participation Attendance and participation are required Students must show evidence of preparedness and active contribution in weekly discussions 5 Schedule and Note Taking Assignment One of the objectives of a 199 course is to develop skills that are necessary for academic success 1 One of them is to learn how to manage your time so that you don t attempt to complete your essay the night before it s due You will be required to submit a daily schedule for how you plan to complete all the components of your essay before it s due For example reading the material taking notes on the material creating an outline with thesis statement speaking to the professor to ask any questions about points that require further clarification and writing the essay Due Tuesday October 5 2021 Due Thursday October 28 2021 2 Another skill that is essential is learning how to take effective notes from your reading so that you properly can absorb the material and be prepared to contribute to class discussion We will instruct you how to take notes according to the Cornell Method 2 Due Thursday September 9 2021 Due Tuesday October 26 2021 5 Reading Responses and Essay Outlines Three one page reading responses and two essay outlines Worth 2 each 1 Due Thursday September 23 2021 2 Due Thursday October 21 2021 3 Due Tuesday November 31 2021 Two Essay Outlines 1 Outline for Essay 1 Due Thursday October 7 2021 2 Outline for Essay 2 Due Tuesday November 9 2021 20 First Essay 4 5 pages Due Thursday October 14 2021 Topic to be distributed Tuesday September 14 2021 20 Second Essay 5 6 pages Due Thursday November 18 2021 Topic to be distributed Thursday October 14 2021 15 Seminar Presentation Everyone will give one short presentation of the discussion of the text with a summary of the argument how it fits into the larger argument and some critical question that it raises 20 Final Take Home Exam The final exam will deal with all material covered in class readings and discussions It will be due one week after the end of the semester Policy on Late or Incomplete Assignments Assignments are to be handed in at the beginning of class Assignments handed in after class will count as late Each day that the assignment is late including weekends the grade will be dropped by 5 of a grade Incompletes I IU A grade of incomplete I indicates that additional course work is required to fulfill the requirements of a given course Students may only be given an I grade if they have a passing average in coursework that has been completed and have well defined parameters to complete the course requirements that could result in a grade better than the default grade An I grade may not be assigned to a student who did not attend the course Incompletes I IU Prior to the end of the semester students must initiate the request for an I grade and receive the instructor s approval Assignment of an I grade is at the discretion of the instructor 3 For all graduate level courses an interim grade of Incomplete I may be assigned if the student has not completed all requirements for the course An interim grade of I shall not be assigned to a student who did not attend the course For all graduate courses the default grade accompanying an interim grade of I shall be U and will be displayed on the UB record as IU The default Unsatisfactory U grade shall become the permanent course grade of record if the IU is not changed through formal notice by the instructor upon the student s completion of the course Assignment of an interim IU is at the discretion of the instructor A grade of IU can be assigned only if successful

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UB JDS 199 - Syllabus

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