Philosophy 491

Philosophy of Poetry (Hegel, Heidegger, Gadamer/Derrida)

Spring Semester 2009,
Michigan State University

Dr. Christian Lotz

 

 

Tentative Schedule (last UPDATE: November 03, 2009)

Number Date Topic Reading Information Summary Papers General Assignments
1 Jan 13 Overview        

Introduction
2 Jan 15 Introduction        

Hegel
3 Jan 20 Poetry Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.959-971 (pdf copy)      
4 Jan 22 Poetry Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.959-971      
5 Jan 27 Poetry and Prose Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.971-1000  (pdf copy)      
6 Jan 29 Poetry and Prose Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.971-1000      
7 Feb 3 Poetic Expression Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.1000-1035 (pdf copy)      
8 Feb 5 Poetic Expression Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.1000-1035      
9 Feb 10 Lyric Poetry Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.1111-1147 (pdf copy)      
10 Feb 12 Lyric Poetry Hegel, Lectures on Fine Art, Vol II, pp.1111-1147   Kashif  

Heidegger, Rilke, Hölderlin
11 Feb 17 Language Heidegger, Language; Heidegger, The Origin of the Work of Art, pp.70-76; voluntary: On the Way to Language (copy)   Nathan Take-Home-Exam 1 due in my box
12 Feb 19 Language Heidegger, Language; Heidegger, The Origin of the Work of Art, pp.70-76; voluntary: On the Way to Language (copy)      
13 Feb 24 Poetry Heidegger, Poetically Man Dwells   Caitlin  
14 Feb 26 Poetry Heidegger, Poetically Man Dwells  
15 Mar 3 Heidegger and Rilke Heidegger, What are Poets for?; Rilke, Duineso Elegies   Julie  
16 Mar 5 Heidegger and Rilke Heidegger, What are Poets for?; Rilke, Duineso Elegies   Matthew  
17 Mar 10 Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break  
18 Mar 12 Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break  
19 Mar 17 Heidegger and Rilke Heidegger, What are Poets for?; Rilke, Duineso Elegies      
20 Mar 19 Heidegger and Hölderlin Heidegger, Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry   Evan  
21 Mar 24 Heidegger and Hölderlin Heidegger, Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry      

Celan, Lacoue-Labarthe, Gadamer, Derrida
22 Mar 26 Celan on Poetry Celan, The Meridian (in Derrida, pp.173-187); Celan, Bremen Speech (pdf     Take-Home-Exam 2 due in my box
23 Mar 31 Celan on Poetry Celan, The Meridian (in Derrida, pp.173-187); Celan, Bremen Speech (pdf)      
24 Apr 2 Celan Lacoue-Labarthe, The Experience of Poetry, Catastrophe, pp.41-70   Tina  
25 Apr 7 Celan Lacoue-Labarthe, The Experience of Poetry, pp.41-70      
26 Apr 9 Hermeneutics and Poetry Gadamer, Philosophy and Poetry      
27 Apr 14 Hermeneutics and Poetry Gadamer, On the Contribution of Poetry for the Search of Truth, Poetry and Mimesis   Brandon  
28 Apr 16 Gadamer and Celan Gadamer, Meaning and Concealment of Meaning in Celan   Jon  
29 Apr 21 Derrida vs. Gadamer Derrida, Rams: Uninterrupted Dialogue - Between Two Infinities - The Poem, pp.135-164      
30 Apr 23 Derrida vs. Gadamer Derrida, Rams: Uninterrupted Dialogue - Between Two Infinities - The Poem, pp.135-164   Brianne  
  Apr 28 Derrida vs. Gadamer Derrida, Rams: Uninterrupted Dialogue - Between Two Infinities - The Poem, pp.135-164      
  Apr 30 Wrap Up Wrap Up Wrap Up Wrap Up Take-Home-Exam 3 due in my box
  Final exam day         Class essay due
 
 


Class Meetings: 

Days: TTH
Time: 3:00pm-4:20pm
Place: A112, Berkey Hall

Office:
Phone: 517.353.9392
Place: 503 S. Kedzie Hall
Hours: T(1:00-2:30pm), TH (1-1:30pm), by appointment and by phone

Exceptions:

Other Contact:
E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: please ask in class

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

Box
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:

What is poetry? How is poetry related to other artistic forms, such as epics, dramatic speech, and songs? Can poetry be translated? What is the relation between philosophy and poetry? In what kind of experience is poetic speech based? In this class we will try to find an answer to the aforementioned questions by reading texts from Hegel, Gadamer, Lacoue-Labarthe, Heidegger, Jacobson, and Bachtin. Though this class will be concerned with meta-questions and differs from an English class, we will read selected German and Anglo-American poets. Students should expect to read difficult texts, which must be studied closely and intensively prepared.

Course Goals:

This class should introduce students to selected aspects of a (possible) philosophy of poetry through the study of major texts of the European tradition of thinking about poetry. As such, it is hoped that students learn how to reflect on poetry as a specific form of speaking and language, as well as its relation to philosophy.

Note:

Students who did not take philosophy classes before (but signed up for this class) should be aware of the fact that this course is based on extremely difficult (and awkward) texts. Accordingly, this class requires self-responsible learners and an intense confrontation with the primary text. In addition, the study of poetic speaking presupposes that you are interested in poetry and that you are not ignorant of the historical dimension of philosophy. Accordingly, if you are not excited about the prospect of a daily confrontation with abstract reflections on poetry, then you should not take this class. This class is not based on set knowledge; rather, we will try to learn together.

Reading assignments and preparation

The reading assignment per session is limited; however, this means that I expect you to come to class having prepared the texts carefully and thoroughly and that you are able to talk meaningfully about the text, raise questions of your own and provide answers when called upon. I will take the liberty to call on students randomly. An approximate preparation time for each class is a minimum of three hours. The reading for the next session, if not clear from the course schedule (below), will be announced at the end of the previous class. “Preparing for class” implies underlining and making excerpts from the text assigned; looking up unfamiliar vocabulary and writing them into a note book (I encourage you to keep a vocabulary booklet for all of your classes). Just reading  the text won't be sufficient. You have to study the material. Some vocabulary might not be sufficiently explained in a regular dictionary (this goes especially for philosophical terms), so it is necessary to consult additional sources (e.g., the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy — online (see remark below) — is an excellent source of information, and the MSU Library Website is a great resource for nearly all questions in this context).

Introductory Information Online

Required Texts

  • Derrida, Sovereignties in Question
  • Lacoue-Labarthe, The Experience of Poetry
  • Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought
  • Heidegger, Elucidations of Hölderlin's Poetry
  • Gadamer, The Relevance of the Beautiful
  • Gadamer, Who am I and Who are You?
  • Rilke, Duineso Elegies
  • Please RETURN Critchley, Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens to the bookstore

Texts for Download

Course Organization

The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] oral presentations 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).

Course Requirements

  • 3 take-home exams
  • 1 task card
  • 1 summary paper
  • 1 class essay

Class Attendance

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.

Attendance

To get a good grade in this class, regular attendance is required. I will not call roll. Hence, it is up to you to come to class or not. However, if you do not come to class on a regular basis and participate in the class discussion, it is impossible for you to achieve a good grade in this class; so coming to class is your responsibility and your call. If you choose to attend class, please come on time, turn off cell phones and other electronic devices that interfere with your (and others’) concentration, have the reading prepared and be ready to participate. If you are not prepared, do not bother showing up. It is a sign of disrespect to your peers and the instructor to attend class unprepared. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes from a fellow student and to catch up on reading.

Class Response Sheets

Every student is asked to submit up to 5 class response sheets during the semester.

Click here to download the class response sheet (Word document, I will only accept answers that are given on this form)

The response sheets have to be submitted at the end of a class session. I do not accept late turn ins. Submission is voluntary.

Participation

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. Students, however, who make excellent contributions in class, can earn 5 extra credit points.

Summary Papers

Every student in class (except graduate students) will write and present a 450 word summary of the readings (see schedule). Every presenter should make copies for everyone in class and read his/her paper aloud in class.

Task Cards

I will from time to time assign so called "task cards." Students who receive task cards, must write a 1-2 page paper (no more than 600 words) about a concept or about background information. Task cards will be assigned without prior notice in class and have to be prepared for the next class section. Students have to make copies for every participants and pass their assignment out at the beginning of the next class section. For example, in one of our discussions it turns out that no one has ever heard about the philosopher Augustine or about the problem of movement in Zeno. I will ask a student to do research and to prepare brief biographical information of Augustine or an overview of the concept of movement in Zeno. Selected students will read their brief elaborations at the beginning of the next class section. This task is challenging because in your writing you should be as precise as possible. Note: you are not allowed to cite common internet resources, such as Wikipedia. Instead, work with the following online resources (or other resources in the library): Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (e-book) - The Oxford Companion to Philosophy

Make-Up Exam

Students who need to miss the exams for excusable reasons must inform me ahead of time, and will be permitted to make up the exam. I will only accept official doctor notes (no faxes, no emails) and letters from other professors/athletic directors.

Class Essay

I expect a brief paper at the end of the class (5 pages, around 1500 words), the topic of which must be chosen from a list that I will pass out during this class.

Take-Home Exams

In order to intensify and improve your understanding of the material, you will turn in on selected days (check schedule for due dates) brief papers/exams, in which you analyze the readings (2-3 pages, double spaced, no more than 900 words):

[take-home exam 1] Hegel: download assignment
[take-home exam 2] Heidegger: download assignment
[take-home exam 3] Gadamer/Celan/Derrida: download assignment

General Remark on Assignments

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 assignments.

Course Evaluation

You will be evaluated on the basis of:

5 response sheets (turn in at the end of class sessions)   10 points
3 take-home exams 900 words 45 points
1 class essay 1500 words 25 points
1 task card 450 words 10 points
1 summary paper 600 words 10 points
    --------
    100 points
     

Grading:

4.0 (=A) 100 - 93
3.5 92 - 87
3 (=B) 86 - 82
2.5 81 - 77
2 (=C) 76 - 72
1.5 7165
1.0 (=D) 6460
0.0 (=F) < 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

Check this page

Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism

Check this page

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.

Plagiarism

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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