This integrative studies lecture class will discuss selected aspects of a philosophy of culture by reflecting on the human condition and on some aspects of humanism. In this vein, we will consider the following questions: What does it mean to be human, and why do we need the humanities? How are the humanities differentiated from the natural sciences? After introducing two traditional answers to the question of what human beings are, from the perspective of Augustine (Theology), Sartre (Philosophy), Winnicott (Psychology), and Marx (Sociology) we will - from a general human point of view – reflect on central aspects of the human condition, such as religion, history, culture and art, by studying Ernst Cassirer’s An Essay on Man. Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. In addition, we will discuss the need of the humanities and the human sciences for a proper understanding of human culture. We will investigate the role that the arts play in this picture by first focusing on some basic aspects of the arts in general, such as the function of the arts and its connection to playing and festival, from the perspective of Gadamer. Finally, we will discuss contemporary attempts to declare the end of humanism by reading the first chapter of Pinker’s The Blank Slate. The Modern Denial of Human Nature.
IAH Course Goals
IIntegrative Studies at MSU seeks to assist students to become more familiar with ways of knowing in the arts and humanities and to be more knowledgeable and capable in a range of intellectual and expressive abilities. IAH courses encourage students to engage critically with their own society, history, and culture(s); they also encourage students to learn more about the history and culture of other societies. They focus on key ideas and issues in human experience; encourage appreciation of the roles of knowledge and values in shaping and understanding human behavior; emphasize the responsibilities and opportunities of democratic citizenship; highlight the value of the creative arts of literature, theater, music, and arts; and alert us to important issues that occur among peoples in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world.
Real learning is not properly measured by multiple-choice tests; especially since in the humanities there is no specific content of a sort that may be covered well in standardized examinations, which every student in the humanities should be expected to master. Instead, you will - hopefully - come to recognize that philosophy as a general intellectual reflection on what we are and why we are here, deals with your dignity as human beings and with your intellect and reason, which is best expressed in a form of learning that is based on understanding and insight, and not mere learning by heart. It is hoped that the class will stimulate the view that intellectual activity (and therefore human reality) has to do with the passion of thinking, and the passion of understanding of yourself and our world.
Specific Course Goals
This lecture class should students introduce to
The course packet with additional copies (Sartre, Augustine, Pinker) is available at Budget Printing Center, 974 Trowbridge Road, 517.351.1200; pick up your copy today!
The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] discussion time or [iii] response session. Students will be asked to intensively prepare a certain text or part of a text for the next class period.
The class and my lectures are solely based on the texts selected for class and require a thorough study and preparation of the material. I will primarily lecture on the readings, which will help you to more fully understand the texts. Therefore it is not sufficient for students to come to class without having prepared the texts. And indeed, the exams will test whether you have appropriately prepared the readings selected for each lecture.
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. You should be aware that chances to master this class are minimal, if you do not show up for class or if you do not prepare the readings.
Every student is asked to submit "reponse sheets" after my lectures and our class discussion. Every student can submit up to 5 reponse sheets over the course of the semester and every sheet that you turn in will count 2 points.
Students who need to miss an exam for excusable reasons must inform me ahead of time, and will be permitted to make up the exam. Students who do not excuse themselves ahead of time, fail the exam.
There will be five brief paper assignments (600-900 words). The paper assignment should lead you to a reflection and consideration of what we have discovered on the theoretical level about human nature and human culture. I will pass out in class every Wednesday the essay assignment, which you will turn in by Thursday, 12pm. Late turn ins will not be accepted, and, in addition, I do NOT accept submissions by email. You will find my box in 503/507 South Kedzie Hall. It is your responsibility to get a copy of the assignment from a study buddy in class if you missed class on a Wednesday.
Oral Presentations and Study Groups
b.2.) Wait until you're finished to ask the class questions and lead discussion. Be creative! Try to involve the class in your discussion of the material. Note: do not try to present everything. Choose your issues carefully, and try to explain these in depth. The texts are very complex. So, make smart selections and focus on important points. In addition, I am interested in evaluating how you work as a team/group. Oral presentations are group work!
b.3.) Given that we use every Thursday exclusively for the writing assignments, I also expect that you get together with your group on Thursdays for the preparation of your presentation.
Final Essay Exam
The final essay exam asks you to comment on a quote taken from one of the readings, and to relate the quote to the overall content of the class. There will be three options/topics to choose from.
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 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.
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