Hours in RH-436 (445-4489)
Heroism and the Human Spirit
10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.
Philosophy Seminar, Summer, 2005
Prof. Michael Kagan
purpose of this course
is to provide students with an opportunity to develop their own answers
to the question, "What makes a person great?" It is hoped that giving
a chance to address this problem while seeing its inter-connections
fundamental philosophical issues will help them integrate their heroic
visions into their own philosophies of human existence and/or
THE SHORT WRITING
are to select and complete five of the eight short writing
A reading question is given along with each assignment.
otherwise indicated, please answer the reading question in less than
(all assignments, except in-class writings, are to be typed).
sure you are working with the current version of this syllabus.
- Participation, in-class
writings and extra credit assignments
- Your five short writing
- Your presentation on one
the assigned readings
(you may sign up for 2; if so, the highest grade will count)
- Your final
project to be agreed
upon in advance. This is to be presented and/or written (if you
do both, the higher grade counts).
PRESENTATIONS: For every
presentation, you will be required to turn in an outline or abstract of
your presentation, complete with a list of all works used.
if you use any web pages, not only
should these be listed on the
with the rest of your bibliography, but
you are also required to turn
a printout of all web pages used in preparing the presentation.
your group divides the work into separate parts, each member of the
will need to provide his or her own outline/abstract and
Outlines/abstracts, and printouts are to be given to me BEFORE
the presentation. Failure to do so BEFORE
presentation will result in a 30% deduction from the relevant
presentation grade. If the outline and printouts are not turned
by the next class, there will be an additional 30% deduction. You
may use up to, but not more than, 5 minutes of videotaped material for
presentation. If the class is meeting in a room with a
VCR/DVD player, make sure you know how to use it. If you need to
bring in a
VCR/DVD player for the presentation, you may order one from AV by
or on the web at http://www.lemoyne.edu/information_systems/audio_visual/class.htm
In the event of a
technical glitch or
delivery problem make sure you can present without the videotaped
students are expected to do all readings and to share their
with one another in class discussions and by leading their own and
in other students' presentations on the various readings. Student
on readings begin the second week of class, and will be scheduled
the first week. The subtopics will be divided up into student groups
size will be determined by the class size.
You have about an hour to present. Focus on the aspects your group
finds most interesting and important. Do not try to cover everything.
presentation will be improved if you make it easier for others to
(Please try to help others' presentations by participating!) Please
free to meet with me to discuss your presentations. If you don't find
on campus, you are welcome to call me at home before 8:00 PM. YOU
ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.
investigating the issue of human greatness and heroism, a philosophical
essay concerning some related issue of philosophical interest in a work
of literature, a creative literary work of the student's own [e.g., a
story, 1st chapter of a novel, & c.], or a philosophical analysis
some related issue present in one of the works we studied, detailing
position[s] set forth in the work, and developing and defending one's
are based on a 10 point
scale as follows:
- 25% of the grade is
in-class writings, and the optional journal and other optional writing
assignments. Since you are not participating when you don't
class, you will need to make up any absences with extra-credit
- 25% of the grade is
on the readings.
- 25% for the five
(the grade will be the average of the best four out of five).
- 25% is determined by a
written project and/or its presentation.
- 'A' range
(97-100 = A+; 94-96=A; 90-93=A-).
- 'B' range (87-89 =
B+; 84-86=B; 80-83=B-).
- 'C' range (77-79 =
C+; 74-76=C; 70-73=C-).
- 'D' range (67-69 =
D+; 64-66=D; 60-63=D-).
60 - 'F'.
to complete any of
(1)-(4) can result
in a failing grade. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade.
List: (in approximate
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Welcome
to the Monkey House.
Toni. The Bluest
(also published as Shawshank
Octavia E. Bloodchild
Claude. Manchild in
In coordination with the
Academic Support Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are
for qualified students with disabilities. Please register with the ASC
Office for disability verification and determination of reasonable
After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need to
make an appointment with me to review the form and discuss your needs.
Please make every attempt to meet with me within the first week of
so your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can
stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice or
to make an appointment.
PROJECT Proposals due Thurs., Jul 21. Final presentations (Tues., Aug 9 & Thurs., Aug. 11)
. Optional WRITTEN
PROJECTS DUE: Thursday, Aug. 4
OF CLASS - Thursday,
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE AND SCHEDULE
OF ASSIGNMENTS ['*' MARKS WEEKS IN WHICH STUDENTS PRESENT ON READINGS.]
#1 (Tues., July 12)
Introduce course, choose groups and schedule presentations
on readings. In-class writing on childhood heroes.
#2 (Thurs., July 14) Discussion of heroic scripting.
Instructor presents on "The Porcelain
Salamander." Group work on "The Porcelain Salamander."
*#3 (Tues., July. 19) Students present on Toni Morrison's The
SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Who values the truth most in The
Bluest Eye" Why? Lecture on self-deception and bad
faith. Instructor presents on Card's "The Best
Day." The temptation to deny the best and the worst.
Self-deception and bad faith. Instructor presents on Kurt
Vonnegut's "More Stately Mansions" (please bring Welcome to the
Monkey House) and/or Card's "The Best Day." The temptation
to deny the best and the worst.
*#4 (Thurs., July 21) Students present on Night.
ASSIGNMENT DUE: What, by the end of Night seems
to know the
most? Why? (Note: You may write about one or more
people.) Instructor presents
on anthropodicy and theodicy; Le Guin's "Those who walk away from
*#5 (Tues., July. 26). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: In the world King describes, one's career is chosen by others at
age - Which characters in the book resist this choice? How?
Students present on
Stephen King's "The Body" (in Different
present on Octavia Butler's "The Evening and the Morning, and the
Night" (in the Bloodchild anthology) . SHORT WRITING
Who in your experience, is like the people in this story? Have
chosen to do what they do best? Why or why not?
explain, using examples from the story. Instructor presents on Rand's
* #6 (Thurs., July 28) Students present on Anthem. SHORT
ASSIGNMENT DUE: In
the world Rand describes, one's
career is chosen by others at an early
age - Which characters in the book resist this choice? How? Does our society also
put some in a position that will keep them from hurting the status quo?
how so? If not, why not? Lecture on problem of personal identity.
Lecture on "Becker,
Childhood, and Scary
presents on Heroic Myths (Campbell and Raffa)
and the twice born. PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE. SCHEDULE PROJECT PRESENTATIONS.
* #7 (Tues., Aug.2) Students
present on Stephen King's "The
Method" (in Different Seasons). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT
DUE: What in this story is most realistic? What can we learn from
presents on one way of reading King (and other authors). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: In the
Brown describes, one's future seems decided at an early age - How do
people in the book respond to this? What can we learn from this?
present on Manchild in the Promised Land. Group work on Manchild in the Promised
on racism and deception.
* #8 (Thurs., Aug. 4)
TWO PART SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT
Write a brief description of a
friend or a brief story in which the sex of at least one major
neither stated nor implied. THEN explain which of the people
the Symposium has beliefs about love that are consistent with
their own life/lives. Explain why. Note: You are welcome
this within one page if you can, but, for this assignment, the page
limit is 3
TYPED pages. Students present on Symposium. Lecture on "Sex and Gender. Lecture on "Possibilities and Practice: The
Task and Self Education." Buber's
hasidut and Rebbe Nachman's "The Turkey Prince" (includes group work
on Rebbe Nachman's story). In-class
writing exercise on future
*#9 & #10 (Tues., Aug 9 &
Thurs., Aug. 11)
on final projects (these are to be between 15 and 45 minutes in
on the size of the class, and the number of students presenting). Bring
Bloodchild to class. We will
work with Butler's "Positive
Obsession" & Furor
as time permits. Also, please bring Welcome to the Monkey House
Dream Palace of the Arabs.
(Pantheon Books, 1998).
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and
Amdur, Ellis. Dueling with O-Sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the
Sage, Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions.
Available from www.ellisamdur.com.
Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
movie "Smoke Signals" is based on this.)
Becker, Ernest. The Birth and Death of Meaning, The Denial
and other works.
Belenky, et al. Women's Ways of Knowing.
Berne, Eric. What Do You Say After You Say Hello? - The Psychology
Destiny, and other works.
Brown, Claude. Manchild in the Promised Land.
Brown, Christy. My Left Foot.
Bujold, Lois McMaster. Cordelia's Honor, and other works.
Butler, Octavia E. Parable of the Sower, and
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Second ed.
Card, Orson Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card,
Game, and other works.
Chandler, Raymond. The Simple
Art of Murder,
and other works.
Chesbro, George. Shadow of a
Cross, Amanda. Death in a Tenured Position, and other works.
Davies, Robertson. The Deptford Trilogy : Fifth Business/the
of Wonders, and other works.
DeWitt, Helen. The Last Samurai.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Notes
the Underground, "The Crocodile, " and other works.
Elgin, Suzette Haden. Native Tongue, The
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense and other works.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.
Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex.
Viktor. Man's Search for Meaning. Pocket Books
Press printing, 1985.
Friedman, C.S. This Alien Shore, and other works..
Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers.
Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and
Gilman, Dorothy The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Tightrope Walker,
at Badamya, and other works.
Goldman, William. The Princess Bride.
Goldstein, Lisa. Dream Years, The Red Magician, Travellers
in Magic and other works..
Haley, Alex, and Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Hammett, Dashiel. The Maltese Falcon (the book and the
You should look at his other novels as well.
Hargrove, Anne C. Getting Better: Conversations with myself and
friends while healing from breast cancer.
Heinlein, R. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Citizen of the
Double Star and other works.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, The Journey to the East, The
Bead Game, Steppenwolf, and other works.
Hoeg, Peter. Smilla's Sense of Snow, Borderliners.
Howie, Noelle. Dress
Codes: Of Three Girlhoods--My Mother's, My Father's, and
Howatch, Susan. Glamorous Powers, and other works.
Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According
Jarmusch, Jim. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
Jewell, Lisa. One-Hit
"Penal Colony, " "Hunger Artist, "
Trial, The Castle, and other works.
Kagan, Michael . Educating Heroes (Durango, Colorado:
Kamenetz, Rodger. The Jew in the
Lotus : A Poet's Rediscovery of
Identity in Buddhist India,
and Stalking Elijah: Adventures with
Jewish Mystical Masters.
Kaye, Ronnie. Spinning Straw into Gold.
King, Stephen. The Girl Who
Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in
Bag of Bones, and other works.
Kiyosaki, Robert T., and Sharon Lechter.
Dad, Poor Dad.
Kress, Nancy. Beggars in Spain, Maximum Light.
Leonard, George. Mastery (New
York: Penguin/Plume, 1992).
Lowry, Dave. Autumn Lightning, Persimmon Wind.
Le Guin, Ursula K. The Telling, Left
Hand of Darkness, The
Lathe of Heaven, The Dispossessed, and other works.
Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon,
and other works.
Morrow, James. Towing Jehovah, Blameless
Noddings, Nel. Caring.
McBride, James. The Color of Water: A
Black Man's Tribute to His
Oates, J. C. On Boxing.
Robert B. Mortal Stakes,
Plato. The Republic, and other
Polster, Miriam F. Eve's Daughters : The Forbidden Heroism of Women.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass
(New York: Alfred A.
Raffa, Jean Benedict. The Bridge to
Wholeness: A Feminine
Alternative to the
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead, Atlas
Rollin, B. First, You Cry.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the
Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow,
and Children of God.
Salmonson, Jessica Amanda. A Silver
Thread of Madness, and
Sapphire. Push: A Novel.
Silverberg, Robert. Lord Valentine's
Steiner, Claude M. Scripts People Live:
Transactional Analysis of
Suzuki, D.T. Zen and Japanese Culture.
Sturgeon, Theodore. More than Human,
and other works.
Scriptures, religious tales and teachings
of interest to the student,
variety of traditions (including, but not limited to, African,
Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, Taoist, Vedic.)
Stout, Martha. The Myth of Sanity:
Divided Consciousness and the
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, The
Hundred Secret Senses.
The Spider's Web: A Celtic
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich,
and other works.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Mother Night,
Slaughterhouse Five, and
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple.
Wachowski, Andy and Larry. The Matrix
and its sequels
Wiesel, Elie. Dawn, The Accident,
and other works.
Willis, Connie. Passages, Doomsday Book,
Zettel, Sarah. Fool's War.
Some of this page's links:
- PHL 403,
Heroism and the Human Spirit Summer 2005 syllabus:
materials for PHL 403:
- Back to
Kagan's Homepage: http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/~kagan/index.html