Philosophy403                                                    Michael Kagan
Philosophy Seminar: Heroism                        Office Hours in RH-422
 and the Human Spirit                                        M 8:30-10:00 am;  W 9-10:20 am
Le Moyne College                                                   and by appointment
Spring 1998                                                                  (Call 445-4489)

Goal: The major purpose of this course is to providestudents with an opportunity to develop their own answer to the focal question,"What makes a person great?" It is hoped that giving students a chanceto address this problem while seeing its inter-connections with fundamentalphilosophical issues will help them integrate their own heroic visionsinto their own philosophy of human existence and/or philosophic religiousfaith.

Requirements: Requirements include regular attendanceand participation, and some significant project to be agreed upon in advance.Such a project might involve further investigating the issue of human greatnessand heroism, a philosophical essay concerning some related issue of philosophicalinterest in a work of literature, a creative literary work of the student'sown [e.g., a short story, 1st chapter of a novel, & c.], or a philosophicalanalysis of some related issue present in one of the works we studied,detailing the position[s] set forth in the work, and developing and defendingone's own philosophical response.

Evaluation: (1) 25% of the grade is based on attendanceand participation  (each miss is 4% off this part of the grade), andthe optional journal and other optional writing assignments; (2) 25% ofthe grade is based on the presentation on the readings; (3) 25% on in-classessays and short writing assignments; (4) 25% is determined by the projectand its presentation. Excessive absences  (more than five) or failureto complete any of (1)-(4) can result in a failing grade.

Required Reading List: (in approximate readingorder)

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York:
King, Steven. Different Seasons (also publishedas Shawshank Redemption).
Rand, Ayn. Anthem.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Mother Night.
Haley, Alex, and Malcolm X. The Autobiographyof Malcolm X.
Plato, Symposium.
If you have a documented disability and wish todiscuss academic  accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible.


NO CLASSES  2/16 & 2/17      Long Weekend
NO CLASSES  4/9 and 4/10     Easter Weekend
Tuesday, Mar. 10:  PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE. No classes week of Mar. 16 (Spring Break).
WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE:  Thurs., April 16.
Apr. 28, Evaluations.  Tuesday, May 5  Classes End .

All students are expected to do all readings andto share their understanding with one another in class discussions andby leading their own and participating in other students' presentationson the various readings. Student presentations on readings begin the secondweek of class, and will be scheduled during the first week. The subtopicswill be divided up into student groups whose size will be determined bythe class size.

Remember: You have less than an hour to present.Focus on the aspects your group finds most interesting and important. Donot try to cover everything. Your presentation will be improved if youmake it 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 (637-0349)before 8:00 PM. YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.

A reading  question is given along with eachassignment.  Unless otherwise indicated, please answer the readingquestion in less than one TYPED page (all assignments, except inclass writings are to be typed).  Makesure you are working with the current version of this syllabus.


Week #1 (of Jan. 20)  Introduce course, choosegroups and schedule presentations on readings, in-class writing on childhoodheroes.

*Week #2 (of Jan.  27)- Discussion of heroicscripting.  On January 29, students present on Toni Morrison'sThe Bluest Eye. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT( ALL SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTSARE DUE THE DATE OF THE RESPECTIVE STUDENT PRESENTATION): How, if atall, do children respond to the treatment they are given in The BluestEye?

*Week #3 (of Feb. 3)  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:How, if at all, do children respond to he treatment they are given in Night?   Instructor presentson "The Best Day," self-deception and bad faith.
Feb. 5, students present on Night

*Week #4 (of Feb. 10)  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:How, if at all, do children respond to the treatment they are given in"The Body"?   Feb. 10: Students present on Steven King's "TheBody" (in Different Seasons), group work on childhood heroics. Feb 12:   Instructor present's on Rand'sphilosophy.

*Week #5 (of Feb. 19.)  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:In what ways, if any, is  our world like the world Rand describes?  We may break into small groups and compare our responses to this questions.  Feb 19: Students present on Anthem. Possiblelecture on personal identity.

*Week #6 (of Feb. 24)  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:Do you admire any of the characters in  Mother Night?  (Explain why or why not in your answer.)   Possible lecture onfreedom, character and culture.  Feb. 26., Students present on MotherNight.

*Week #7 (of Mar. 3)  Mar 3: Students presenton Steven King's "The Breathing Method" (in Different Seasons).Mar. 5:  Lecture on "Becker, Childhood, and Scary Stories" SHORTWRITING ASSIGNMENT:   How, if at all, did anyone resist evilin this story?

*Week # 8 (of Mar. 10)  SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:In what important ways, if any, is  our world like the world Malcolm X describes.   We will break into small groups and compareour responses to this question.  Mar. 12: Students present on TheAutobiography of Malcolm X.   Tuesday,Mar. 10:  PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE.   Noclasses week of Mar. 16 (Spring Break).

*Week #9 (of Mar. 24)  Lecture on "Sex and Gender."SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Write a brief description of a friendor a brief story in which biological sex and social gender characteristicsare not stated and cannot be inferred; THEN state which of the people described in the Symposium most impressed you and why (or least impressedyou and why). Note:  You are welcome to do this within one page ifyou can, but, for this assignment, the page limit is 3 TYPED pages. Mar. 26: Students present on Symposium, group work on Symposium.

Week 10: (of Mar. 31)  In-class writing exerciseon future autobiography. Lecture on "Possibilities and Practice: The HeroicTask and Self Education."   April 2, Instructorpresents on "Harrison Bergeron." Group work on sameness, difference, andconformity.

Week 11 (of Apr. 7)   Instructor presentson Heroic Myths (Campbell and Raffa, and Cards theory of Maps in a Mirror)and the twice born.

Weeks 12-14  (Apr.  14 - Apr. 30) Student presentations on projects begin (these are to be between 15 and20 minutes in length). These will continue until the end of semester. Studentswho are unable to do their individual presentations at the scheduled timewill need to schedule a make-up presentation to be done at the regularlyscheduled final exam time for this course.
Remember:  WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE:  Thurs.,April 16.

Week 15.  May. 5, last day of class; make-uppresentations.
MAKE-UP PRESENTATIONS: LAST DAY OF CLASS, andduring finals, if necessary, at the time indicated in the posted finalexam schedule.


Becker, Ernest. The Birth and Death of Meaning,The Denial of Death, and other works.
Belenky, et al. Women's Ways of Knowing.
Brown, Claude. Manchild in the Promised Land.
Butler, Octavia E. Parable of the Sower,and other works.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces.Second ed.
Card, Orson Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fictionof Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, and other works.
Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder,and other works.
Cross, Amanda. Death in a Tenured Position,and other works.
Davies, Robertson. The Cornish Trilogy: The RebelAngels/What's Bred in the Bone/the Lyre of Orpheus and The DeptfordTrilogy : Fifth Business/the Manticore/World of Wonders.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov,The Idiot, Notes from the Underground, "The Crocodile," andother works.
Elgin, Suzette Haden. Native Tongue, TheJudas Rose, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense and otherworks.
Frankl, Viktor. Man's Search for Meaning.Pocket Books Washington Square Press printing, 1985.
Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craftfor Young Writers. New York: Random House Vintage Book edition, 1991.This work is strongly recommended to students interested in writing orexamining fiction as part of their final projects.
Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: PsychologicalTheory and Women's Development.
Gilman, Dorothy The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax,Tightrope Walker, Incident at Badamya, and other works.
Hammett, Dashiel. The Maltese Falcon (thebook and the movie). You should look at his other novels as well.
Hargrove, Anne C. Getting Better: Conversationswith myself and other friends while healing from breast cancer.
Heinlein, R. The Moon is a Harsh MistressHave Space Suit--Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, StarshipTroopers, Double Star, Stranger in a Strange Land, and other works.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, The Journeyto the East, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, and otherworks.
Hoeg, Peter. Smilla's Sense of Snow, Borderliners.
Howatch, Susan. Glamorous Powers, and otherworks.
Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany, TheWorld According to Garp.
Kafka, Franz. "Penal Colony," "Hunger Artist," TheTrial, The Castle, and other works.
Kamenetz, Rodger.  The Jew inthe Lotus : A Poet's Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India,and  Stalking Elijah:  Adventures with Today's Jewish MysticalMasters.
Kaye, Ronnie. Spinning Straw into Gold.
Kress, Nancy. Beggars in Spain.
Leonard, George.  Mastery (New York: Penguin/Plume, 1992).
Lowry, Dave. Autumn Lightning.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Left Hand of Darkness,The Lathe of Heaven,   The Dispossessed, and otherworks.
Noddings, Nel. Caring.
Oates, J. C. On Boxing.
Pullman, Philip.  The Golden Compass(New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).
Raffa, Jean Benedict. The Bridge to 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, You Cry.
Silverberg, Robert.  Lord Valentine'sCastle.
Suzuki, D.T. Zen and Japanese Culture.
Sturgeon, Theodore.   Morethan Human, and other works.
The New English Bible with the Apocrypha: OxfordStudy Edition. [Or any other standard translation of the Bible.]
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, andother works.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt.  Slaughterhouse Five,and other works.
Wiesel, Elie. Dawn, The Accident,and other works.
Willis, Connie.  Lincoln's Dreams,Doomsday BookBellwether.
Yoshikawa. Musashi.

[Other materials for PHL 403, Senior Seminaron Heroism and the Human Spirit]
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