We will closely study Heidegger’s masterpiece Being and Time and the concepts that it introduces, such as world, language, truth, death, and time. Given that Heidegger’s language is extremely difficult and requires a close reading and studying of the primary text, this close examination will be the primary focus of the class. In addition, and more generally, the class will introduce students to the main idea of phenomenology, as understood by Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre. In more detail, we will begin the course by reflecting on the main idea of phenomenological philosophy. We will see that after encountering Husserl’s philosophy, Sartre emphatically announced the death of all traditional philosophy and celebrated phenomenology as the return from abstraction to the concrete world of human beings. We will try to understand Sartre’s enthusiasm by reading selected passages from Husserl’s Ideas I, after which we will discuss Heidegger’s transformation of Husserl’s basic ideas, which will be facilitated by reading the methodological sections in his The History of the Concept of Time, a lecture class that Heidegger held in Marburg briefly before Being and Time was published. While the lecture class is much more accessible than his masterwork, it introduces the same concepts. Finally, we will study the first half of Being and Time, by closely analyzing its main concepts. The syllabus, though carefully worked out, is open to students’ wishes and desired pace. In this connection, we will invest more time in certain sections of the course, if we discover that more time is needed.
note: Please do not buy alternative translations! We should all have the same text.
Required Course Packet
There will be a course packet with brief selections of other texts concerning phenomenology in general (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty).
Heidegger's Being and Time is one of the main works of the last century. Due to its extreme language, commentaries on the text can be extremely helpful. Beside the mandatory text selected for class I I recommend the following texts:
The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] oral presentations (group assignment, active learning part I) or [iii] either discussion time (active learning part II) [iv] or group assignments (active learning part III). Students will be asked to [a] read a certain text or part of a text for the next class period and [b] give oral presentations (group presentations).
I hope and strongly encourage that students attend all classes. However, I will not require attendance, as I think that college students should manage their own class attendance decisions. nevertheless, please be aware that you should not make me responsible for a failure that results out of your decision.
Every student is asked to submit up to 5 oral presentation reponse sheets during the semester.
The response sheets have to be submitted at the end of a class session. I do not accept late turn ins. Submission is voluntary.
Students who do not actively participate in class will not loose points. I would like to foster an open class atmosphere, in which every participants can express his/her thoughts freely, that is to say, without judgmental pressure.
Tests (added on Oct 7)
There will be 2 tests, which will test whether you prepared the readings and reflected on key concepts introduced in class. The tests are pass/fail tests, and each test counts ten points. Consequently, failing a test will bring your grade down by 10 percent.
In Class Essay Exam
There will be one exam, in which I will raise two questions about the (difficult) readings, which focus on your comprehension. The first question asks for an explanation of a quote, the second question deals with a broader issue that we discussed in class. You must choose one topic (out of three).
Every paper must contain a writer's and an editor's checklist. Papers must be submitted in class and by email (either Rich Text Format or MS Word). Every student has an "editor" (who is a student in this class!) who reads and evaluates the paper before it is turned in. Writing is a process and it is hoped that students will revise papers as well as critically explore and reflect on their own writing. I will mark down papers that do not contain a writer's and an editor's checklist. I do not expect long research papers; rather I expect explanation papers, which show evidence that you are able to read closely and understand the issues in question.
The topic of the essay must be selected from the following list:
Reviewing (Editor's and Writer's Checklist)
General Remark on Assignments
The handouts of the presentations as well as the response sheets will in and outside of the classroom force us to have an ongoing reflection on our texts that we read in class. In addition, the assignments will help to prepare the exam. Reading and studying the primary texts is the absolute focus of this class. If you carefully read the texts, then you will easily master the exam.
You will be evaluated on the basis of (changed on Oct 7):
GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)
Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism
Online Research Sources
Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn't very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU's library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.
Writing Center Information
MSU's writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at http://writing.msu.edu for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In any essay or exam answer submitted for assessment, all passages taken from other people's work must be placed within quotation marks, with specific reference to author, title and page. no excuse can be accepted for any failure to do so, nor will inclusion of the source in a bibliography be considered inadequate acknowledgement. If the marker decides that plagiarism has occurred, the student may be judged to have failed the class.
Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that "The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards." In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in (insert course number here). Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also http://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/honestylinks.html)
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY
Drops and Adds
The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (insert date). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (insert date). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.
Note on Attendance
Students whose names do not appear on the official class list for this course may not attend this class. Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.
Back to Homepage