PHIL 120: ADVENTURE OF IDEAS, CONTEMPORARY, SPRING 2017

 

University of Tennessee, Martin

 

1/1/2017

 

BASIC INFORMATION

Course Section: all on campus sections of Phil 120 taught by James Fieser

Course Title: Adventure of Ideas, Contemporary

Meeting Time and Place: Humanities 215

Course Credit Hours: 3

Textbooks and Other Required Materials: Great Issues in Philosophy, by James Fieser

Posted online for free at www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class

 Faculty Contact Information:

Dr. James Fieser

Office: Humanities 216A

Office Hours: MWF 1:00-2:00, and by appointment

Phone: 881-7537 (Office)      588-2791 (Home)

E-Mail: jfieser@utm.edu

 

COURSE INFORMATION

            Course Description (from UTM Catalog): A topical introduction to philosophy course covering recent philosophical discussions of God’s existence, mind, free will, knowledge, morality and government.

            Course Resources: all material for this course is posted at www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class and on Canvas.

            Humanities Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): (1) Practice the critical and analytical methodologies of the humanities. (2) Analyze significant primary sources in the humanities. (3) Explain the ways in which humanistic expression reflects the culture and values of its time and place. (4) Frame a comparative context through which they can critically assess the ideas and values, forces and processes, and institutions and structures that have created the modern world. (5) Recognize and articulate the diversity of human experience across a range of historical periods and the complexities and interconnectedness of global culture and society. (6) Analyze the contributions of past cultures and societies and the patterns of continuity and change that have affected human history.

            Course Communications: email will be the primary means of communication outside of class. I try to answer all email messages within a few hours. During the semester I will email a few short messages to the entire class.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

            Tests: Three tests will be given throughout the semester consisting of about 40-60 multiple choice questions each. Students who miss class on test days may be penalized. For UTM General Education assessment purposes, the final exam will include around five questions from the reading material in the earlier part of the semester that was tested on the first two exams.

            Study Questions: All of the reading material in the course has accompanying study questions, which will be posted on the web. Students are required to handwrite all answers to the questions in a blue exam book (to be purchased from the bookstore). The exam books are due three times during the semester on test day, and are worth 5 point each time collected. The exam books will not be returned. Do not copy your answers from other students; I’ll be checking for this. The bluebooks come in two sizes; either size is fine.

            Attendance: Attendance is expected and will be taken regularly; poor attendance may adversely affect your grade by 5-15 points. You are allowed six discretionary absences, with no penalty. If you go over six, I will only evaluate the legitimacy of excuses on finals day, so you need to save all your written excuses until that time; please do not show them to me until then.

            Eight Commandments of Class Conduct: Violation of the following may result in deducted points or worse: (1) Do not show up late for class; (2) shut off and put away all electronic devices; (3) Do not sneak out of class after attendance; (4) Do not leave the room once class starts unless you tell me beforehand; (5) Do not chat with students around you. (6) Do not study material for a different class during this one; (7) Do not be disrespectful to me or other students in the room; (8) Do not pack your things until I tell you that class is over; (9) Do not cheat on exams and assignments; (10) Do not backslide on these commandments.

            Class Participation: Class participation is encouraged, but not required. When discussing controversial issues in class, please respectfully address me and your fellow students, and do not let your emotions take over.

            Mid-Term Grade: Mid term grades are based solely on your first exam, and do not reflect points for study questions, or reduced points for attendance or class disruption. If you receive an F for mid-term, I encourage you to drop the course and try again another semester.

            Course Grade: Final grades will be determined according to the total points from the three exams (120-180 total points), study questions (15 points), minus penalty points for class absences, disruption and late exams. The starting point for final grading is the standard grading scale, that is, A: 90%, B: 80 %, C: 70%, D: 60 %, F: 59% and under. However, the final grading scale will be lower as will be determined at the end of the semester.

            Extra Credit and Lottery Scholarships: No extra credit will be available for this course; students on scholarships should take particular note of this.

            Hints for Studying: Proper studying for exams involves more than merely understanding the material, but, rather, internalizing the information so that the concepts are retained for the long term. Taking short cuts like casual reading the text once or merely hunting for answers to the study questions isn't good enough. The best advice I can give mastering the material is what a former A-level student told me about her study habits. She wrote, “I spend on average 7 hours preparing for each chapter module and I get to it immediately, not at the last minute. First, I read through the material one time.  Then I read through it again, highlighting as I go.  Then I answer the study questions, and I do that with quite a bit of detail so that I can read over them several times before I take the test.  Then I outline the material. Before I take the quiz, I reread the highlighted text at least once more, read the study questions and answers at least two or three times more, and review the outline at least two or three times more.”

 

MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS

            Study Question Assignments: For each chapter, please answer *all* of the “Questions for Review” and *one* of the “Questions for Analysis” that appear at the close of each chapter. Handwrite your answers in a blue examination book, which will be collected on exam days.

            Reading Assignments:

 

Chapter 1: The Meaning of Life

Chapter 2: Logic

 [*first exam*: Wednesday, February 15]

Chapter 3: God

Chapter 4: Mind

Chapter 5: Free Will

[*second exam*: Wednesday, March 29]

Chapter 6: Knowledge

Chapter 7: Ethics

Chapter 8: Political Philosophy

[*third exam*: finals week]

11:00 class meets Thursday, May 4, 7:45 AM in H215

12:00 class meets Friday, May 5, 7:45 AM in H215

 

            Hints for Exams: Proper studying for exams involves more than merely understanding the material, but, rather, mastering it. This means internalizing the information and grasping it so that the concepts are retained for the long term. Casual reading isn't good enough and it takes a lot of effort. The best advice I can give for accomplishing this is what a former online student once told me about her study habits. She wrote, “I spend on average 7 hours preparing for each module. First, I read through the material one time.  Then I read through it again, highlighting as I go.  Then I answer the study questions, and I do that with quite a bit of detail so that I can read over them several times before I take the test.  Then I outline the material. Before I take the quiz, I reread the highlighted text at least once more, read the study questions and answers at least two or three times more, and review the outline at least two or three times more.  I also have the text, the study questions, and the outline handy when I take the quiz in case there's something I'm not sure of.  The whole point is to be so familiar with the text that when there is a difficult question I don't have to spend a lot of time looking for the answer.”

 

UNIVERSITY POLICIES

            Academic Integrity: The University of Tennessee at Martin has chosen as its primary objective quality undergraduate education. Commitment to this objective must include an obligation by all members of the University community to promote and protect the highest standards of integrity in study, research, instruction and evaluation. Dishonesty or unethical behavior does not belong at an institution dedicated to the promotion of knowledge and learning. Integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation by faculty and honest academic conduct by students. Specific integrity attributes can be found: www.utm.edu/departments/conduct/new_academic_integrity.php

            Standard of Conduct: When persons enroll in The University of Tennessee at Martin, they retain the rights and duties of a citizen. Additionally, they must assume the duties and observe the regulations imposed by the University community.  Specific conduct attributes can be found: www.utm.edu/departments/conduct/conduct.php

            Disability Services: The University of Tennessee provides reasonable accommodations (academic adjustments and auxiliary aids) to ensure equal access to educational content and university programs for students with disabilities. Students who are eligible for and who request accommodations through the Disability Services office must provide instructors with a letter of accommodation. The Disability Services office is located in the Student Success Center, 203 Clement Hall, (731) 881-7605.