Who is the other? What is the other? What is otherness? How do we “have” each other? Does the other precede me? This class will be a discussion of intersubjectivity and the Other as two of the key concepts in the European tradition, both of which are central for any serious approach to social philosophy: We will examine central ways of approaching the topic, namely the dialectical tradition, starting with Fichte/Hegel, the phenomenological tradition, starting with Husserl, the Jewish tradition starting with Buber, and, finally the psychological tradition starting with Freud, all of which try to reflect on the status of the other from a non-epistemological and non-intellectualistic standpoint. It will be shown that concepts, such as consciousness, self, and subjectivity can only be properly understood if we take them to be essentially social concepts. In addition, we will reflect on the danger of epistemologically "objectify" our primordial social world, and on the concept of a non-epistemic relation to the other as being prior to any epistemological relation to the other self. Two ways of looking at this field have turned out to be especially fruitful:  the concept of recognition (Hegel, Habermas, Honneth), and  the concept of “otherness” (Husserl, Buber, Levinas), both of which have also been addressed by Feminist Philosophy and have lead to a paradigm shift in Psychoanalysis and in Development Psychology (Benjamin, Winnicott, Spitz, Stern). In addition, the problem of whether our basic social relations are to be understood as symmetrical, asymmetrical, or as a combination of both have lead to alternative concepts of justice (which will not be the topic of this seminar).
You should purchase the following texts:
Course Pack (available in my office):
Course pack 1 (online, please download, you'll need your MSU-NetID)
Texts on Reserve:
Help for the Hegel-Section
The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] protocol discussion, class presentations [iii], and [iv] paper discussion. Students will be asked to study a certain text or part of a text for the next class period.
Protocol (German tradition!)
The class protocol must in principle be about the readings for class and should cover our discussion in class. Protocols should have a length of around 2-4 pages (maximum: 4!) , and they will in and outside of the classroom force us to have an ongoing reflection on our texts that we study for class. They can also include problems or questions that the writers had either with our class discussion or with the texts itself. They should not be a simple copy of what I lectured about in class. Protocols should clarify and discuss the issues in question. Protocols have to be sent out to other students in class by email on every Monday. It is your responsibility to make sure that you received a protocol. I'll radically mark down late turn ins. The student who wrote the protocol will address questions during the first 20 minutes of the next class meeting, and he/she will lead the class discussion.
Every student must produce a brief 5 page paper about one of the reading assignments, which has to be sent out by email the Monday before your actual presentation. Talk through your ideas and theses (15 minutes), take questions and lead a discussion about your paper and its topic. The function of this assignment is to learn how to critically examine someone else's ideas.
Given that this is a graduate seminar, I expect self-motivation, autonomy, as well as self-responsibility. The attendance requires the willingness to do intensive research and the willingness to study the texts selected for class.
Everyone agreed to participate in a two day retreat for an intensive discussion of Husserl and Levinas to be held at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference on Dec 2 and Dec 3.
The class essay should be well researched and should present a substantial reflection on one primary source selected for class (Hegel, Mead, Stern, Husserl, Levinas).
Paper Conference/Oral Examination
After you have turned in your paper we will discuss your paper in the form of an oral examination (30 minutes).
You will be evaluated on the basis of:
GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)
As mentioned above, I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.
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 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.
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