What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to philosophise? And how closely connected are these two questions? The truth of the matter is that we all do philosophy and, therefore, have some loosely formed conception of what human nature is. However, we rarely consider the logical consequences and reflect critically upon these assumptions. In this vein, throughout the semester we will explore what fundamentally sets our particular kind of existence apart from the non-human.
Introduce ourselves to some of the major Western philosophical conceptions of human nature.
Sharpen our natural abilities for doing philosophy, that is: learning to read philosophically, practicing critical self-reflection, thinking through and defending personal philosophical views.
As always, to become confident writers, discerning thinkers and criticalsuspicious-generous readers.
PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN
Summer Session II 2014, Lincoln Center
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 1-4 PM
Instructor: David Warren Grunner
Office: LL 921F
In order to pass this course, you are required to complete:
1 Final Paper (50%)
Final Examination (40%)
Daily Notecard Questions (10%)
(1) Attendance. Students are expected to be present and on time for all classes. In accordance with University policy, only 3 absences (excused and unexcused) will be tolerated over the course of the semester. A fourth absence will result in a failing grade.
Given the nature of our course (that it meets only once a week and it is structured such that we will cover one to two thinkers per week), it is extremely important that you attend class regularly—catching up after having missed more than a class or two will be very difficult if not impossible.
(2) Plagiarism or any other type of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.
Plagiarism includes both copying verbatim from a source, paraphrasing from a source, and using ideas from a source not original to you. I am required by Fordham
University to report all instances of plagiarism to the Dean, including suspected plagiarism. A student caught plagiarizing will receive, at minimum, a zero for the paper, and, at maximum, fail the course. (For further information, see: Fordham
University Undergraduate Handbook)
(3) Missed Examinations or Assignments. Late assignments will not be accepted. If you fail to turn in your assignment by the beginning of class on the due date, you have failed that assignment. Missed examinations operate the same way.
(4) Disability Services. As stated in the student handbook, “Fordham University will make reasonable accommodations and provide auxiliary aids and services to assist otherwise qualified persons in achieving access to its programs, services and facilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.” If you believe that you have a disability that may negatively impact your performance in this course, please make an appointment to speak with someone at the Office of Disability
Services. In order to receive accommodations for your disability, you must declare yourself to the Office of Disability Services, and then bring me a letter from that office.
(5) Email. I will regular make use of e-mail--it is of the utmost importance that you regularly check your Fordham email account.
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:00 – 5:00pm, via Skype or by appointment
Plato, A Plato Reader: Eight Essential Dialogues
(Hackett, ISBN 978-1603848114)
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
(Cambridge, ISBN 978-0521558181)
Merleau-Ponty, The World of Perception
(Routledge, ISBN 978-0415773812)
Kierkegaard, The Present Age
(Harper, ISBN 978-0061990038)
*I will make all texts available to you in .pdf format. Thus, do not feel obligated to go and purchase texts from the bookstore—do so only if you wish