Philosophy 820: Graduate Seminar

Topics in Continental Philosophy

Heidegger, Being and Time

Fall Semester 2008,
Michigan State University

Dr. Christian Lotz



Tentative Schedule (last UPDATE: November 03, 2009)

Number Date Topic Reading Protocol Concept Secondary
1 Aug 25 Introduction Being and Time, 1-4 Lotz   Sheehan

2 Sep 1 Labor Day Labor Day      
3 Sep 8 Phenomenology Being and Time, 5-8 Schonover Proctor (Destruction, 6) Crowell

4 Sep 15 Phenomenology Being and Time, 5-8 Wallace Johnson (Phenomenon, 7)
Brown (Logos, 7)
5 Sep 22 Analytic of Existence Being and Time, 9-11 Stramondo Harlow (Existentialia, 9)
Vick (Anthropology, 10)
6 Sep 29 Being-in-the-World Being and Time, 12-14 Guajardo
Caseldine-Bracht (Being-in, 12)  
7 Oct 6 Worldhood Being and Time, 15-18 Caseldine-Bracht Schoonover (Knowing, 13)
Melendez (Equipment, 15)
Echterling (World, 14+18)

  Oct 13 no class no class      
8 Oct 20 The Other Being and Time, 25-27 Proctor Stramondo (They, 27)
Vick (Dasein-with, 26)
9 Oct 25
(at my place, 4pm)
Attunement Being and Time, 28-30 Brown
Chamberlin (State-of-mind/disposedness/attunement, 28+29)
Byrd (Fear, 30)
10 Oct 27 Understanding Being and Time, 31-34 Johnson Wallace (Understanding, 31)
Guajardo (Interpretation, 32)
Chamberlin (Assertion, 33)
11 Nov 3 Discourse Being and Time, 35-38 Echterling
Brown (Discourse+ language, 34)
Vick (Idle Talk, 35)
Melendez (Curiosity, 36)
12 Nov 10 Care and Angst Being and Time, 39-42 Chamberlin Wallace (Care, 39)
Guajardo (Angst, 40)
13 Nov 17 No class No class   Proctor (Death, 49-50)
Caseldine-Bracht (Authentic being-towards-death, 52-53)
Echterling (Conscience, 54-60)
Stramondo (Selfhood, 64)
Johnson (Resoluteness, 62)
Schonover (Care and time, 65-66)
--> please send out by Nov 15

Responsibility - Retreat

  Nov 21-23 Retreat Retreat Retreat Retreat  
14 Fr 2pm-10pm Being-towards-death Being and Time, 45-53     Mulhall
15 Sa 9am-10pm Conscience and Resoluteness Being and Time, 54-60     Carman
16 Su 9am-12pm Selfhood Being and Time, 61-66     Blattner, Hoffman
17 Nov 24 no class no class no class no class  
18 Dec 1 no class no class no class no class  
  Dec 8         Paper due
  Dec 10 Oral exams Oral exams Oral exams Oral exams  

Class Meetings: 

Days: M
Time: 6:00pm-9:00pm
Place: 530 South Kedzie

Phone: 517.353.9721 (if you are unable to reach me, please leave a message at 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: 507 S. Kedzie Hall
Hours: MW (1:00-2:00pm), by appointment and by phone


Other Contact:
E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: 734.975.0803

URL: http://www.msu.edu/~lotz/classes
(Please check the webpage regularly for the current schedule)

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department
(503 South Kedzie); you can also slip your assignments under my door if I am not in my office (507 South Kedzie)

Course Description

This seminar will be a close and phenomenological "Midwest" reading of Heidegger's Being and Time. Though Heidegger's text is too complex for a one semester seminar, we will try to go through all major paragraphs of the text, except the sections on time and historicity. It is expected that students intensively study the primary material and come well prepared to class. Given that this is a graduate seminar, I expect self-responsible learners in class.

Course Goals

It is hoped for that at the end of the class participants will be able to understand the main aspects of Heidegger's early masterwork and that they understand its phenomenological perspective (which some commentators miss).

Guest Speaker

Prof. Marjolein Oele will give a talk on Heidegger and Aristotle on Thursday, Nov 20. Prof. Oele is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco with specializations in Ancient Philosophy and Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy (PhD, Loyola University Chicago). She also holds a Doctor of Medicine from the Free University, Amsterdam and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam.  For her dissertation Aristotle on Pathos, she was awarded the Schmitt Dissertation Fellowship in 2005.  She has taught summer workshops for faculty in Mexico and served as a Teaching Assistant at the Free University in Amsterdam. 


Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, New York: Harper/Collins
Inwood, Michael, Heidegger Dictionary, Blackwell
Blattner, William, A Reader's Guide to BT, Continuum
Gelven, Michael, A Commentary on BT, Northern Illinois University Press

Several additional commentaries and excellent essay collections are available in the library; for example, A Companion to Heidegger (ed. Dreyfus) is available through MSU's library.

Online Tools

Course Format

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 should cover our discussion in class. Protocols should have a length of 3 pages (around 900 words), 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, but above all protocols should cover what I lectured about in class and what we discussed afterwards. Protocols should clarify and discuss selected issues in question. Protocols have to be sent out to other students in class by email on Saturdays by noon. 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.

Concept Presentation

Every student must prepare 2 brief - precise - 2 page papers about a concept selected from the reading assignments (no longer than 900 words), which has to be sent out by email by Saturdays. 

General Remark

Given that this is a graduate seminar, I expect self-motivation, autonomy, as well as self-responsibility. The attendance requires the willingness to intensively study the text selected for class.


Nov 21-23, Colombiere Retreat Center

Class Paper

The class essay should be well researched and should present a substantial reflection on one of the key concepts that Heidegger develops in Being and Time, such as interpretation, phenomenology, existence, understanding, etc. I expect excellent papers in regard to research, form, and content. I will fail papers that do not comply with formal standards (footnotes, literature, etc.)

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).

Course Evaluation

You will be evaluated on the basis of:

Protocol pass/fail: 10 points
2 concept presentations pass/fail: 10 points
Paper (12-15 pages) 70%: 70 points
1 oral exam pass/fail: 10points



4.0 100 - 93
3.5 92 - 87
3 86 - 82
2.5 81 - 77
2 76 - 72
1.5 7165
1.0 6460
0.0 < 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Class Attendance

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.

Grading Criteria

Click here to see my grading criteria for oral presentations (not required in this class)
Click here to see my grading criteria for papers (tentative)
Click here to see an EXAMPLE of my grading criteria for essay exams (taken from an older class)

Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism

Click here to find help on your presentations and your writing

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. Here are other resources: Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (e-book) - The Oxford Companion to 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 writing@msu.edu.


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.

Academic Honesty

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 (see Academic Calendar). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). 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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