Philosophy 403 Office Hours in RH-422   (445-4489) 
Heroism and the Human Spirit T-TH: 11:30 AM -12:20 PM; 
Philosophy SeminarMon and Fri (NOT Wed): 12:30-1:20 
Fall, 1998  and by appointment. 
Prof.  Michael KaganEmail: kagan@maple.lemoyne.edu 
 
Goal: The major purpose of this courseis to provide students with an opportunity to develop their own answerto the focal question, "What makes a person great?" It is hoped that givingstudents a chance to address this problem while seeing its inter-connectionswith fundamental philosophical issues will help them integrate their heroicvisions into their own philosophies of human existence and/or philosophicreligious faith.

Requirements: Requirements includeregular attendance and participation, and some significant project to beagreed upon in advance. Such a project might involve further investigatingthe issue of human greatness and heroism, a philosophical essay concerningsome related issue of philosophical interest in a work of literature, acreative literary work of the student's own [e.g., a short story, 1st chapterof a novel, & c.], or a philosophical analysis of some related issuepresent in one of the works we studied, detailing the position[s] set forthin the work, and developing and defending one's own philosophical response.

Evaluation: (1) 25% of the grade isbased on attendance and participation  (each miss is 4% off this partof the grade), and the optional journal and other optional writing assignments;(2) 25% of the grade is based on the presentation on the readings; (3)25% on in-class essays and short writing assignments; (4) 25% is determinedby the project and its presentation. Excessive absences  (more thanfive) or failure to complete any of (1)-(4) can result in a failing grade.

Required Reading List: (in approximatereading order)

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York:
King, Steven. Different Seasons(also published as Shawshank Redemption).
Rand, Ayn. Anthem.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Mother Night.
Haley, Alex, and Malcolm X. TheAutobiography of Malcolm X.
Plato, Symposium.
 
SPECIAL NEEDS

In coordination with the AcademicSupport Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are provided for qualifiedstudents with disabilities. Please register with Anne Herron in the ASCOffice for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations.After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need tomake 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 classso your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can eitherstop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice or 445-4104-TDD)to make an appointment with Ms. Herron.
 
IMPORTANT DATES
No Classes on the Following dates: Sep.7  (Labor Day),  Sep. 21  (Rosh HaShanah), Sep. 30 (YomKippur), Oct. 12 - Oct. 13 (Long Weekend), and Nov. 23-27 (ThanksgivingBreak).
PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE Friday, OCT. 16. WRITTEN PROJECTSDUE: FRI., NOV. 20.
LAST DAY OF CLASS - December 11

ABOUT STUDENT PRESENTATIONS ON READINGS:

All students are expected to do all readings and to sharetheir understanding with one another in class discussions and by leadingtheir own and participating in other students' presentations on the variousreadings. Student presentations on readings begin the second week of class,and will be scheduled during the first week. The subtopics will be dividedup into student groups whose size will be determined by the class size.

Remember: You have less than an hour to present. Focuson the aspects your group finds most interesting and important. Do nottry to cover everything. Your presentation will be improved if you makeit easier for others to participate. (Please try to help others' presentationsby participating!) Please feel free to meet with me to discuss your presentations.If you don't find me on campus, feel free to call me at home before 8:00PM. YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.

ABOUT  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS:
A reading  question is givenalong with each assignment.  Unless otherwise indicated, please answerthe reading question in less than one TYPED page (all assignments,except in class writings are to be typed).  Makesure you are working with the current version of this syllabus.

TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE AND SCHEDULEOF ASSIGNMENTS ['*' MARKS WEEKS IN WHICH STUDENTS PRESENT ON READINGS.]

#1 (Fri., Aug. 31) Introduce course, choose groups andschedule presentations on readings.
#2 (Wed., Sep. 2) -- In-class writing on childhood heroes.
#3 (Fri., Sep. 4) Discussion of heroic scripting.
No Class Sep. 7  (Labor Day)
#4 (Wed., Sep. 9) Instructor presents on "Harrison Bergeron."Group work on sameness, difference, and conformity.
#5 (Fri., Sep. 11)  In-class writing on  "HarrisonBergeron."    In-class writing questions:  What ismost realistic about this story?  What is least realistic?  Why? Attendance for this in-class writing is optional.  You can turn inthe writing at my office after class, or bring it to class on the 14th.
* #5 (Mon., Sep. 14)  Students present on Toni Morrison'sThe Bluest EyeSHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Who, by theend of  the The Bluest Eye seems to exhibit the most humanspirit or to be the most heroic?   How, if at all, are theirchildhood experiences involved in this?
#6 (Wed, Sep. 16) Instructor presents on "The Best Day." Self-deception and bad faith.
* #7 (Fri., Sep. 18) Students present on Night.SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE:  Who, by the end of  theNight seems to exhibit the most human spirit or to be the most heroic?  How, if at all, are their childhood experiences involved in this?
Mon. Sep. 21, No class.  (Rosh HaShanah)
#8 (Wed., Sep. 23)  Instructor presents on anthropodicyand theodicy.
#9 (Fri., Sep. 25) In-class writing on a topic relatedto Night.
* #10 (Mon., Sep. 28). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE:Are any of the children in "The Body" heroic? Why or why not? How doyou think their experiences changed their lives? Students present on StevenKing's "The Body" (in Different Seasons).
Wed Sep. 30 NO CLASS: YOM KIPPUR.
#11 (Fri., Oct. 2)  Instructor present's on Rand'sphilosophy.
* #12 (Mon., Oct. 5)  Students present on Anthem. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE:  How are the book's heroesdefined by others, how by themselves? What do you think of them in lightof this?
#13  (Wed., Oct. 7)  Lectureon problem of personal identity.
* #14 (Fri., Oct. 9)--Short writing assignment due: Who, if anyone, is heroic in Mother Night?Why do you think so? Students present on Mother Night.
Mon., Oct. 12. NO CLASS: COLUMBUS DAY.
#15 (Wed., Oct. 14)  Lecture on "Becker, Childhood,and Scary Stories"
* #16 ( Fri., Oct. 16) Students present on Steven King's"The Breathing Method" (in Different Seasons). SHORT WRITINGASSIGNMENT DUE: What is most frightening  to those in this story?  Which characters face their fears?  Which do not?  Use specificexamples from the story. PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16.
#17 (Mon., Oct. 19) Instructor presents on Heroic Myths(Campbell and Raffa) and the twice born.
* #18 (Wed., Oct. 21) SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE:How are the book's heroes defined by others, how by themselves? Whatdo you think of them in light of this?  Students present on TheAutobiography of Malcolm X.
#19 ( Fri., Oct. 23) Group work on The Autobiographyof Malcolm X.
#20 (Mon., Oct. 26) --Lecture on racism and deception.SCHEDULE PROJECT PRESENTATIONS.
* #21 (Wed., Oct. 28). TWO PART SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTDUE: Part 1: Write a brief (about one page) description of a friendor a brief story in which biological sex and social gender characteristicsare not stated and cannot be inferred. Part 2: Who, in the Symposiumdo you think knows the most about love?  Why?  Note: for this assignment, the page limit is 3 TYPED pages.  Studentspresent on Symposium.
#22  (Fri., Oct. 30)  Lecture on "Sex and Gender."Possible instructor presentation on "Middle Woman" or "Gert Fram."
#23 -(Mon. Nov. 2)  In-class writing exercise onfuture autobiography.
NOTE: WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20
#24 (Wed.,  Nov. 4) -Lecture on "Possibilities andPractice: The Heroic Task and Self Education".
#25  (Fri.  Nov.   6) - Group work on stories and philosophy.
#26 (Mon., November 9 through Monday, December 9) Student presentations on projects (these are to be between 20 and 50 minutesin length, depending on the size of the class). These will continue untilthe end of semester. Students who are unable to do their individual presentationsat the scheduled time will need to schedule a make-up presentation to bedone at the regularly scheduled final exam time for these courses.
No classes Nov. 23-27 (Thanksgiving Break).
Fri., December 4. Final Evaluations.
Fri., December 11, TBA.   LAST DAY OF CLASS
SOME SUGGESTED WORKS FOR FINAL PROJECTS:

Becker, Ernest. The Birth and Deathof Meaning, The Denial of Death, and other works.
Belenky, et al. Women's Ways ofKnowing.
Brown, Claude. Manchild in thePromised Land.
Bujold, Lois McMaster.  Cordelia's Honor,and other works.
Butler, Octavia E. Parable of theSower, and other works.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero witha Thousand Faces. Second ed.
Card, Orson Maps in a Mirror: TheShort Fiction of Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, and other works.
Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Artof Murder, and other works.
Cross, Amanda. Death in a TenuredPosition, and other works.
Davies, Robertson. The CornishTrilogy: The Rebel Angels/What's Bred in the Bone/the Lyre of Orpheusand The Deptford Trilogy : Fifth Business/the Manticore/World of Wonders.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The BrothersKaramazov, The Idiot, Notes from the Underground, "TheCrocodile," and other works.
Elgin, Suzette Haden. Native Tongue,The Judas Rose, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense andother works.
Frankl, Viktor. Man's Search forMeaning. Pocket Books Washington Square Press printing, 1985.
Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction:Notes on Craft for Young Writers. New York: Random House Vintage Bookedition, 1991. This work is strongly recommended to students interestedin writing or examining fiction as part of their final projects.
Gilligan, Carol. In a DifferentVoice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development.
Gilman, Dorothy The Amazing Mrs.Pollifax, Tightrope Walker, Incident at Badamya, andother works.
Hammett, Dashiel. The Maltese Falcon(the book and the movie). You should look at his other novels aswell.
Hargrove, Anne C. Getting Better:Conversations with myself and other friends while healing from breast cancer.
Heinlein, R. The Moon is a HarshMistressHave Space Suit--Will Travel, Citizen ofthe Galaxy, Starship Troopers, Double Star, Stranger in a StrangeLand, and other works.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha,The Journey to the East, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf,and other works.
Hoeg, Peter. Smilla's Sense ofSnow, Borderliners.
Howatch, Susan. Glamorous Powers,and other works.
Irving, John. A Prayer for OwenMeany, The World According to Garp.
Kafka, Franz. "Penal Colony," "HungerArtist," The Trial, The Castle, and other works.
Kagan, Michael .  EducatingHeroes (Durango, Colorado:  Hollowbrook, 1994.
Kamenetz, Rodger. The Jew in the Lotus : A Poet's Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in BuddhistIndia, and  Stalking Elijah:  Adventures with Today'sJewish Mystical Masters.
Kaye, Ronnie. Spinning Straw intoGold.
Kress, Nancy. Beggars in Spain.
Leonard, George.  Mastery(New York:  Penguin/Plume, 1992).
Lowry, Dave. Autumn Lightning.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Left Hand ofDarkness, The Lathe of Heaven,   The Dispossessed,and other works.
Noddings, Nel. Caring.
Oates, J. C. On Boxing.
Pullman, Philip.  TheGolden Compass (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).
Raffa, Jean Benedict. The Bridgeto Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth (San Diego: LuraMedia,1992).
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead,Atlas Shrugged, The Virtue of Selfishness.
Rollin, B. First, YouCry.
Russell, Mary Doria. TheSparrow, and Children of God.
Silverberg, Robert. Lord Valentine's Castle.
Suzuki, D.T. Zen andJapanese Culture.
Sturgeon, Theodore.  More than Human, and other works.
The New English Bible with theApocrypha: Oxford Study Edition. [Or any other standard translationof the Bible.]
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of IvanIlyich, and other works.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt.  SlaughterhouseFive, and other works.
Wiesel, Elie. Dawn, TheAccident, and other works.
Willis, Connie.  Lincoln'sDreams, Doomsday BookBellwether, Remake.
Yoshikawa. Musashi.
Zettel,  Sarah. Fool'sWar.



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  1. This page's online address is http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/~kagan/hero98fa.htm
  2. Other materials for PHL 403, SeniorSeminar on Heroism and the Human Spirit (http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/~kagan/403index.htm)
  3. Back to Kagan's Homepage (http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/~kagan/index.html)
  4. Kagan's email address: kagan@maple.lemoyne.edu
  5. AcademicSupport Center

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