Philosophy

Week of December 17

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Strengths and weaknesses of Kane
Tuesday
  • Final exam
Wednesday
  • No class
Thursday
  • No class
Friday
  • No school - Have a great Break!

Week of December 10

Date Agenda Homework
Monday Read and annotate Frankfurt - Tomorrow
Tuesday
  • Lecture/Discusion - Deep self compatiblism
Read and annotate Chisholm - Tomorrow
Wednesday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Libertarianism and Chisholm
Read and annotate Kane pt 1 - Thursday
Thursday
  • In your groups, discuss the following questions:
      • What is the distinction Kane makes between surface and deeper freedom?
      • Is Walden II a good society? Would you want to live there?
      • What does Kane say is the relationship between free will, determinism and responsibility?
      • What is Kane's point regarding our character? How does this relate to his ideas regarding responsibility?
  • Discussion - Responsibility and freedom, Kane pt. 1
Read and annotate Kane pt. 2 - Friday
Friday
  • Lecture/Discusion - Kane's Libertarianism
Final exam - Tuesday, December 18

Week of December 3

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal/Discussion - What is it about our use of language that makes language difficult for computers to use naturally?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Counter arguments to Turing's position.
  • Unit 4 reading packet
Read and annotate d'Holbach - Wednesday
Tuesday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Introduction to freedom - overview of major issues and theories
Read and annotate d'Holbach - Wednesday
Wednesday
  • Journal - In small groups, answer the following questions:
    • What struck you about the article? What questions do you have (try to identify a quote to support this observation)
    • Put d’Holbach’s argument into standard form (numbered premises and a conclusion). What evidence does d’Holbach present for each of the components of this argument? Be specific and use quotations from the document.
    • What counter arguments does d'Holbach respond to? What are his responses?
  • Lecture/Discussion - d'Holbach's argument for hard determinism
Read and annotate Stace - Friday
Thursday
  • Journal - What are the weaknesses of d'Holbach's argument?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Weaknesses of Hard determinism
  • Stace reading time
Read and annotate Stace - Friday
Friday
  • Journal - Answer the following questions in writing with your group based on your reading of Stace:
    • Questions on Stace?
    • What Does Stace mean when he says on p. 420 that the “dispute (over freedom) is merely verbal”? In this vein, explain what Stace means by the five legged man example.
    • Explain what Stace means when he says that the question of whether the world is deterministic or indeterministic is “wholly irrelevant to the problem of free will.”
    • Based on Staceʼs definition of free will, what makes an action free?
    • According to Stace, is punishment compatible with determinism? Why or why not?
  • Discussion of Stace and soft determinism
Read and annotate Frankfurt - Tuesday - December 11

Week of November 26

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: How does Singer propose to broaden the circle of respect? Explain
  • Lecture/Discussion - review Singer
Tuesday
  • Journal - What questions do you have regarding Carruthers? Do you agree with Carruthers argument?
  • lecture/discussion - Carruthers
Read and annotate Turing his numbers 1-5 with omissions noted in class - due Thursday
Wednesday
  • Journal - What is the HOT theory of conscoiousness? What role does it play in Carruthers' theory of animal minds?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Finish Caruthers
Thursday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Alan Turing, his background and his argument regarding machine minds
  • Turing reading time (time allowing)
Friday
  • Journal: What is Turing's argument? How is this argument similar to and different from the argument made by Descartes?
  • Lecture/Discussion - The Turing test
  • Mitsuku conversation - Have a brief conversaton with Rose. To what extent is she convincing? What is it about her use of language that makes it clear she is not human?

Week of November 12

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • No School
Tuesday
  • Review for midterm
Wednesday
  • Midterm
Thursday
  • Journal: In small groups, identify and discuss the two factors Descartes claims would clearly give away a machine disguised as a human being. Find two supporting quotations from the document (one for each factor referenced in question two). Do you agree with Descartes' argument in this regard?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Descartes on animals and machines
Read and annotate marked sections of Singer - Due tomorrow
Friday
  • Wrap up Descartes
  • Journal/In small groups - To what extent are Singer and Descartes in agreement? What are the major diffrences between these two thinkers?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Singer
Read and annotate Carruthers marked sections - due Tuesday, November 26

Week of November 5

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Substitute - Read Descartes (unit 3 packet)/Work on midterm outlines.
Midterm - Wednesday, November 14
Tuesday
  • Substitute - Read Descartes (unit 3 packet)/Work on midterm outlines.
Midterm - Wednesday, November 14
Wednesday
  • Journal: Review Sartre - What questions do you have regarding this reading? What similarities do you see between Sartre, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Sartre
Thursday
  • Lecture/discussion - Sartre/The existentialist conception of human nature
Descartes reading - Due Tuesday, November 13
Friday
  • Review human nature and plan for exam
Descartes reading - Due Tuesday, November 13

Week of October 29

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Lecture/Discussion - Four keys to understanding the thought of Soren Kierkegaard
Read and annotate Nietzsche - tomorrow
Tuesday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Kierkegaard
Read and annotate Sartre - Thursday
Wednesday
  • Journal (in small groups) 1) What questions do you have regarding Nietzsche? 2) How does Nietzsche reflect the themes of existentialism? Identify specific examples. 3) What similarities/differences do you see between Nietzsche and Kierkegaard?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Nietzsche
Read and annotate Sartre - Thursday
Thursday
  • Journal: 1) What questions do you have regarding Sartre? 2) To what extent is Sartre similar to or different from the two other existentialist thinkers we have examined? 3) How does Sartre reflect the themes of existentialism?
  • Discussion of Sartre
Friday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Finish Nietzsche
  • Fall midterm stimuli - Online only - if you need a hard copy - ask.
  • Unit three reading packet
  • Journal: 1) What questions do you have regarding Sartre? 2) To what extent is Sartre similar to or different from the two other existentialist thinkers we have examined? 3) How does Sartre reflect the themes of existentialism?
  • Discussion of Sartre

On Monday and Tuesday of next week, there will be a substitute and you will be reading Descartes and Carruthers from the reading packet and/or working on your midterm outlines;

Midterm exam - Wednesday, November 14

Week of October 22

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • No School - Parent Conferences
Tuesday
  • Sit in your groups
  • Finish 3 observations and a question
  • Lecture/discussion - Themes of Taoism
  • Taoism concept sorting activity and discussion
Wednesday
  • Lecture/Discussion: Themes of Taoism and The Tao and human nature
  • Taoism sorting activity
Thursday
  • Lecture/Discussion - The Crisis of the Modern and the existentialist conception of human nature

Answer Kierkegaard questions from presentation - due tomorrow:

1. How are these passages different from what we have read in class before (try to pin down the essential difference)?
2. How do the Kierkegaard excerpts illustrate the themes of existentialism we discussed in class? Identify examples for as many of the themes as you can.
3. What is Kierkegaard’s relationship to religion?
4. What is Kierkegaard’s position on the relative importance of reason and faith in human life?
5. What questions emerge as you read these brief passages?

 

Friday
  • Journal: 1) Based on what we discussed yesterday what is meant by the "crisis of the modern?" 2)Note down two questions you have regarding the Kierkegaard reading - then propose answers to each. Rate your understanding of the reading on a scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most)
  • Questions regarding Kierkegaard?
  • In small groups - What examples of the themes of existentialism can be seen in Kierkegaard? Identify as many as you can and be prepared to support your assertion with quotes from the document.
  • Brainstorm examples of the themes of existentialism from Kierkegaard
  • Lecture/Discussion - Introduction to Kierkegaard
Read and annotate Nietzsche - Due Tuesday October 30

Week of October 10

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: What is the essential aspect of the Buddhist Conception of Human Nature? What questions do you have regarding this document?
  • Lecture/Discussion - The Buddhist Conception of Human nature
Tuesday
  • Journal: Think about what the first paragraph of the first part of the Samutta Nikaya says about clinging and its relation to suffering. Think about your own life and describe three specific ways that clinging has caused you suffering. Then think about how the way our society is set up encourages clinging and thus suffering. Describe one specific example from contemporary American society that leads to suffering in this way.
  • Lecture/Discussion - Buddhism and human nature
Wednesday
  • In small groups:
    • Read your assigned chapter(s) of the Tao Teh Ching.
    • Discuss the chapter with your group and decide what you think the meaning of the chapter is.
    • Using this link, look up your assigned chapter(s) and read through the three additional translations. How do the translations differ in terms of meaning? Which translation seems clearest? In light of the four translations together, how has your assessment of the meaning of the chapter changed?
    • Be prepared to share 3 observations and pose one question regarding your chapter
  • Group share out - 3 observations and a question
Read and annotate Kierkegaard - Tuesday, October 23
Thursday
  • Finish 3 observations and a question
  • Lecture/Discussion - Historical context for Taoism
  • Taoism concept sorting activity
Read and annotate Kierkegaard - Tuesday, October 23
Friday
  • Sit in the circle with your group members
  • Taoism and the paradoxical nature of humanity - Discussion - each group should explain one of their contrasting pairs. What does Taoism seem to be saying with this contrast? Is there a paradox in this pairing? Explain (Does Taoism share the societal assessment (or Confucian assessment) of the relative value of each concepts in this pair?) What is the meaning of the seeming paradox?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Taoism and human nature

Week of October 8

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: What, from your perspective, was the most significant argument made regarding the problem of evil on Friday?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Theodicy
Read and annotate Wilson - Wednesday
Tuesday
  • Label the Hobbes excerpts A-D. Then individually, read each passage, underlining what you consider to be the critical sections of each
  • In your groups, discuss each passage and agree on what you believe the main idea of each section is. Record this on your document. Then discuss the following questions,
    • 1) What does Hobbes suggest about human nature?
    • 2) Is the outline of Human nature suggested by Hobbes similar to or different from each of the two theories on human nature we have discussed so far? Be prepared to explain your group's answer.
  • Discuss/brainstorm main ideas from Hobbes document (whole class)
Read and annotate Wilson - Wednesday
Wednesday
  • Sit in color groups
  • Small group scored discussion of Wilson
Read and annotate Buddhism document - Friday
Thursday
  • Lecture/Discussion - The naturalist view of human nature from Hobbes to E.O. Wilson
Read and annotate Buddhism document - Friday
Friday
  • Journal: What questions do you have regarding the Buddhist documents?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Buddhism and human nature

Week of October 1

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: For Kant, what is the relationship between reason, freedom and responsibility?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Kant's conception of Human nature
Read and annotate - the logical problem of evil - Wednesday
Tuesday
  • Journal: Read the excerpts from Christian/Jewish scripture from your packet. In small groups, discuss (and record) what these excerpts suggest is the monotheistic view of Human nature. To what extent is this view different from that of Plato and Kant?
  • Lecture/Discussion - The monotheistic view of Human Nature
Read and annotate - the logical problem of evil - Wednesday
Wednesday
  • Lecture/Discussion - History of W. Monotheism
Read and annotate Augustine - Friday
Thursday
  • Journal: What is the logical problem of evil?
  • Lecture/Discussion - The logical problem of evil
  • Four Corners - The problem of evil proves there is no perfect God (Agree = 1, Agree with reservations = 2, disagree with reservations = 3, disagree = 4)
  • In small groups, brainstorm and discuss arguments for your position. Make sure to include examples to support your stand. Be prepared to make a 2 minute presentation (as a group) to explain your position.
Read and annotate Augustine - Friday
Friday
  • Whole class debate/Discussion of Logical problem of evil:
    • Discussion theme: Does the problem of evil logically disprove the existence of God? How might the problem of evil be repaired (think ACAR)?
    • Group presentations followed by questions and discussion after each presentation
    • Keep in mind we are discussing ideas, not beliefs. Questioning an idea is not the same as questioning a belief
  • Journal: What is Augustine's argument regarding the logical problem of evil? Do you agree?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Theodicy

Week of September 24

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: In you groups brainstorm/discuss and record answers to the following questions:
    • What is essence of humanity? What characteristic is most critical to establishing what it means to be human?
    • Are humans inherently inclined toward good or evil?
    • What, if anything, is the purpose of humanity?
    • What are the central conflicts, ironies or paradoxes that define the human condition?
    • What makes us who we are? Nature v. Nurture.
    • What are humans not?
  • Whole class brainstorm/discussion of human nature questions
Tuesday
  • Journal - Plato's Allegory of the Cave
    • In small groups - 1) Plato's Allegory can be viewed as a journey. In your groups, discuss and agree to the steps of this journey. What is the defining characteristics of each step? 2) Based on this journey, what do you think Plato's argument is about the defining element of human nature? 3) From Plato's perspective, What counts as true knowledge? What does this mean for the Human condition? 4) Questions regarding the Cave?
  • Discussion - Plato's AotC
Wednesday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Plato's conception of Human nature
Thursday
  • Substitute - read and annotate Kant's "What is Enlightenment?" and answer the following questions:
      1. What is nonage? How and why is nonage perpetuated? (there are multiple reasons)
      2. Why does Kant say “Sapere aude . . . Is the motto of the Enlightenment”?
      3. What is essential for Enlightenment to occur? Why does this make Enlightenment almost inevitable? What does this assertion reveal about Kant’s philosophy?
      4. What does Kant mean when he writes “Caesar non supra grammaticos/The ruler has no authority over the grammarians?”
      5. What is the paradox Kant writes of in the last paragraph?
Friday
  • Journal/Discussion - To what extent does Kant build upon and develop the ideas of Plato? Explain.
  • Discussion of Kant's "What is Enlightenment"
  • Lecture/Discussion - Assessing reason as the basis of Human nature
Read and annotate "The Logical problem of evil - Tuesday, October 2

Week of September 17

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal - Questions on the Dennett reading?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Dennett and the illusion of the hard problem
Unit 1 exam (outlines due) - Thursday
Tuesday Unit 1 exam (outlines due) - Thursday
Wednesday
  • Unit 1 exam review and work time
Unit 1 exam (outlines due) - Thursday
Thursday
Friday Read and annotate Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" - due Monday, September 24

Week of September 10

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: Based on your reading and our discussion on Friday, describe how Searle claims that the Chinese room though experiment demonstrates the impossibility of artificial minds. Do you agree or not? Explain
  • Lecture/Discussion - Wrap up functionalism
  • Unit 1 exam stimulus and instructions

Read and annotate Chalmers - due Tuesday, September 11;

Read and annotate Nagel - Wednesday (double point annotation);

Unit one exam - Tuesday, September 18

Tuesday
  • Journal: In table groups discuss the Jackson article, specifically:
    • What counter argument does Jackson offer to materialist (physicalist) theories of mind?
    • What are the two thought experiments Jackson employs? How do these illustrate weaknesses of materialist theories
    • If you were a materialist philosopher, how would you respond to Jackson's thought experiment argument?
  • Discussion - Does Jackson sink materialism?

Read and annotate Nagel - Thursday (double point annotation);

Unit one exam - Thursday, September 20

Wednesday
  • Journal - Begin theory review template on your own. (10 minutes)
  • Lecture/Discussion - Introduction to the problem of consciousness: David Chalmers: hard and easy problems of consciousness

 

Read and annotate Nagel - Thursday (double point annotation);

Read and annotate Dennett - Monday;

Unit one exam - Thursday, September 20

Thursday
  • Lecture/discussion - Key concepts in Nagel
  • Guided small group discussion - Nagel and what it is like to be a bat

Read and annotate Dennett - Monday;

Unit one exam - Thursday, September 20

Friday
  • Read and annotate Dennett readings (15 minutes)
  • Lecture/Discussion - Dennett and the illusion of the hard problem
  • Review for unit 1 exam

Read and annotate Dennett - Monday;

Unit one exam - Thursday, September 20

Week of September 3

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • No School
Tuesday
  • Journal - Play a game of chess with a partner. Be creative - try to avoid what your neighbors are doing.
  • Debrief journal.
  • Lecture/Discussion - Functionalism
Wednesday
  • Substitute
  • Read and annotate Churchland, packet page 26-28 (due tomorrow)
Read and annotate Jackson - Friday
Thursday
  • Journal: Questions on functionalism reading?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Functionalism
Friday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Problems of functionalism/Searle's Chinese room

Read and annotate Chalmers - due Tuesday, September 11;

Unit 1 exam - ??

Week of September 3

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: In your journal make a T chart. List and briefly explain what you consider to be the two most significant arguments for and against substance dualism
  • Discussion - wrap up dualism
  • Lecture Discussion - Introduction to materialism
Read and annotate Churchland to the end of the first paragraph on packet page 23. Try to identify a) what the Behaviorist theory of mind is, and B) What problems it solve and what weaknesses it has
Tuesday
  • Journal: How does Behaviorism differ from dualism? Try to identify the essential difference. What questions did you have from the reading?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Behaviorism
Read and annotate Churchland, packet pages 23-24 from "Reductive materialism" to "eliminative materialism."
Wednesday
  • Slow motion bear attack
  • Lecture/Discussion - finish logical behaviorism
  • Journal: Based on your reading, how does identity theory seek to address the problems posed by behaviorism? Do you have any questions regarding this section?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Mind-Brain identity theory (reductive materialism)
Read and annotate Churchland, packet pages 24-26 from "Eliminative materialism" to "functionalism." You may skip th middle section on arguments for Eliminative materialism if you wish, as the arguments for it are also contained in the other two sections.
Thursday
  • Lecture/Discussion - Mind-Brain Identity theory
  • Journal: Based on your reading, what is the basic argument made by eliminative materialists and what historical parallels to they make for their case? Do you have any questions regarding this section
  • Lecture/Discussion - Eliminative materialism
Read and annotate Churchland, packet pages 26-28 - section titled "functionalism" - due Tuesday, September 4
Friday None

Week of August 20

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal - Read the unit 1 packet from 1.2 to 2.4. What is the "problem" at the center of the mind-body problem? Explain your answer and then answer the ten true-false questions on 2.4
  • Lecture/Discussion - Ontology
Read and annotate Descartes passages - due tomorrow
Tuesday
  • Journal - In your train color groups, discuss and answer the following questions:
    • What questions do you have about the excerpt? Try to be as specific as possible by identifying particular passages from the document.
    • What is Descartes' purpose in these passages? What is he trying to demonstrate?
    • How does this relate to the mind body problem?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Descartes and systematic doubt
Wednesday
  • Journal: In a paragraph, explain how Descartes uses the concept of doubt to arrive at certainty. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this argument?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Descartes and systematic doubt
Thursday
  • Journal: How does Descartes's concept of systematic doubt lead to the idea that the mind and the body are not the same? Please explain. Do you have any questions from yesterday?
  • Lecture/Discussion: Descartes' substance dualism and arguments for it (Rauhut 4.1-6.1)
 
Friday
  • Without consulting the reading packet, what counter arguments could you raise against Descartes' theory of substance dualism?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Arguments for and against Descartes' theory
  • Discuss journal responses (before looking at the packet)

Week of August 13

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Journal: In your table groups, discuss and record answers to the following questions in your journal:
    • What stood out about Friday's discussion? What could be improved as we do Socratic discussions in the future?
    • What questions do you still have regarding Russell?
  • Lecture/Discussion - Key ideas from Russell and how they relate to the rest of the year
  • Mind body project reminder
Mind-Body project - Due tomorrow
Tuesday
  • Move desks to quad formation
  • Display you project face up on your desk
  • Circulate around the room examining the other theories and completing your investigation template. Remember to rate how close each theory is to you own. Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.
  • Last 15 minutes. Find people whose theories are most similar to yours (6 max). In these groups identify what your key similarities are. Then construct a 280 character statement that concretely describes your group's theory on the relationship between the mind and the body (including key definitions). Your theory must address what composes the various elements. Write your completed statement neatly on the paper provided.
Wednesday
  • Find people whose theories are most similar to yours (6 max). In these groups identify what your key similarities are. Then construct a 180 character statement that concretely describes your group's theory on the relationship between the mind and the body (including key definitions). Your theory must address what composes the various elements. Write your completed statement neatly on the template provided.
Thursday Read and annotate Descartes readings - due Tuesday, August 21
Friday
  • FFF - Has the internet made the world better? Read the short article from the economist and brainstorm 3 arguments on each side of the question (these arguments may or may not relate to the issues discussed in the article).
Read and annotate Descartes readings - due Tuesday, August 21

Week of August 6

Date Agenda Homework
Monday
  • Welcome!
  • Sit with the other people who share your train card color
  • Doing philosophy activity
Tuesday
  • Sit in your color groups/seating charts
  • In your groups discuss and be prepared to share what the group considers to be the most significant/interesting philosophical question and ideas that arose from yesterday's discussion (use the template from yesterday). Be prepared to explain why your question is a philosophical question.
  • Doing philosophy group presentations and structure of the class
Wednesday
Thursday Mind-Body project - due Tuesday, August 14
Friday
  • Russell Discussion
  • In your groups -10 minutes:
    • Share what passage most struck you in this document. Explain why this passage struck you? (B)
    • What questions arise from this document? (A)
    • Why is this this document relevant in 2018?
  • Large group - Using the document and your small group discussion address the following question, "What is the value of philosophy in 2018?
Mind-Body project - due Tuesday, August 14