Philosophical Perspectives on the Humanities
12:00-1:20 Cobb 102
David Vessey Writing
Intern: Ryan Long
Office Hours: 1:30-3:00 TTh, G-B 228 firstname.lastname@example.org
Texts:Michel Montaigne The Complete Essays (Penguin: 0140446044)
In this class we will look closely at some main philosophical themes in early modern Europe, with a special emphasis on themes of primitivism. Primitivism is the general idea that to succeed we need to get (back) in touch with something immediate, something that has been lost or occluded by clutter. A central theme of the Reformation was to get into direct contact with God and return to the state of the original church free from the clutter of the Roman church (the original meaning of "primitive" referred exclusively to the early days of Christianity—ecclesia primitiva); a theme of modern philosophy was to achieve clarity of insight free from the intellectual clutter of Scholasticism; and a theme in 17th century literature was that Europeans need to get back in touch with nature, as exhibited by the peoples of the New Worlds, who had avoided being bogged down by the corruption of European culture. Accompanying all this was the belief that the new science was a return to AdamÕs state of knowledge before the fall. The class will be run predominantly as a discussion, so students are expected to come to class having finished and digested the readings and being prepared to discuss. As part of the preparation for the class discussion, students will be divided into 4 groups; each group must post 2-3 questions they would like to discuss in class to the class Chalk site by midnight the night before class. Since discussion is the focus of the class, and discussions cannot be made up if missed, attendance and participation are central parts of the final grade.
In addition there will be three five-page papers spaced throughout the term. The assignment for the papers will be handed out the Tuesday the week prior to the papers being due. The papers must be typed, double spaced in twelve point Times/Times New Roman with 1" margins. Two copies should be delivered to Prof. VesseyÕs office by the time due, typically a Wednesday at 4:00. They will not be accepted late unless prior arrangements have been made. A typo policy applies to all graded written work: the paper grade will be lowered one grade (for example from a B+ to a B) for every four typos; typos include spelling errors, grammatical errors, improper use of gendered pronouns, and failure to properly cite quotations. Failure to properly cite quotations is different from plagiarism. Plagiarism is a sign that the student has so lost track of his or her proper role as a student that thereÕs no point in him or her continuing in the class (much less in college) at this point in his or her life. Finally there will be three writing workshops run by Ryan Long. Attendance at these is required as developing writing skills is a central goal of the class. If you have disabilities that require special accommodation speak to Prof. Vessey as soon as possible at the start of the term.
Tue. Jan 6 Thomas Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles Book 1, Chps. 2–8 (Chalk)
Thurs Jan 8 Montaigne "On Repentance"
Tue Jan 13 Montaigne "On Experience"
Thurs Jan 165 Montaigne "On Cannibals"
Tue Jan 22 Shakespeare Tempest Acts I-IV
Wed Jan 23, 4:00 Paper 1 Due
Thurs Jan 24 Shakespeare Tempest Act V, Epilogue
Tue Jan 29 Bacon "New Atlantis"
Thurs Jan 31 Bacon Book I, Aphorisms 1-61 from The New Organon
Tue Feb. 5 Descartes Dedicatory Letter, Preface, Synopsis, Meditation I
Thurs Feb 7 Descartes Meditation II
Tue Feb 12 Descartes Meditation III
Wed Feb 13, 4:00 Paper 2 Due
Thurs Feb 14 Descartes Meditation IV, V
Tue Feb 19 Descartes Meditation VI
Thurs Feb 21 Diderot "Supplement to Bougainville's Voyage" (Chalk)
Tue Feb 26 David Hume Enquiry Sections 1-4
Thurs Feb 28 David Hume Enquiry Sections 5-7
Mon Feb 27, 4:00 Paper 3 Due
Tue Mar 4 David Hume Enquiry Section 10
Thurs Mar 6 David Hume Enquiry Section 11
Tue Mar 11 Wrap Up/ Rousseau from the First Discourse (Chalk)
Attendance and Participation in Discussions 25%
Three Five Page papers (approx. 1500 words) 25% each