David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Fall 2012 Phl 4900-5900 Dewey

Syllabus Fall 2012 Phil 4900-5900 John dewey 1.3

John Dewey

PHIL 4900 001/PHIL 5900 001, Fall 2012
Dr. David Hildebrand, UCD
TR 02:00PM - 03:15PM, PL 108

Description: John Dewey (1859-1952) was one of the most important of the American philosophers of the twentieth century. A leading American Pragmatist (the first genuinely American school of philosophical thought), Dewey extended the application of his form of pragmatism (instrumentalism) beyond the boundaries of academic philosophy—into public affairs, politics, art, religion, and of course, education. Dewey’s influence included and transcended academia. As historian Henry Steele Commager wrote of Dewey, “It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that for a generation [of Americans] no major issue was clarified until Dewey had spoken.”

While Dewey published more than forty books and hundreds of articles over his long career, this course look closely at his masterwork, Experience and Nature (1927). This is arguably Dewey’s most comprehensive and difficult work as it attempts to lay out a comprehensive account of human experience with metaphysical detail. Along the way, we will find Dewey helping to explain such fundamental aspects as the nature of existence, consciousness, communication, moral value, knowledge, and aesthetic experience. Our goal is to see what is unique and coherent in Dewey’s philosophical vision by grasping a reasonably detailed outline of this historically significant masterpiece.

Course Objectives:

Familiarization. Gain a good sense of what is at stake in issues of course.

Comprehension. Be able to comprehend the arguments offered by various philosophers.

Critical analysis. Be able to criticize those arguments by pointing out where they lack evidence, make an unreasonable leap, hold a false assumption, etc.

Demonstration of (1) - (3) through writing.

Verbalization. Be able to summarize a philosophical position, without notes, using your own words. Be able to criticize a position this way.

Conversation and Debate. Be able to discuss issues in a focused and informed way with others in the class. This will involve listening closely to their points, then responding in a way that moves the discussion ahead.

Texts: Available at Auraria. Also, if you desire, online (see, for example, http://used.addall.com). If you buy your book online, make sure (1) that it is the correct edition, and (2) that you have it in time for class. See also http://www.bigdogtextbooks.com here in Denver.

Required:

John Dewey, Experience and Nature, Dover Publications; Enlarged, Revised edition (January 1, 2000), ISBN-10: 0486204715; ISBN-13: 978-0486204710

David Hildebrand, Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld, 2008)

Recommended:

David Hildebrand, Beyond Realism and Antirealism: John Dewey and the Neopragmatists by (Vanderbilt U. Press, 2003), ISBN: 0826514278

Blackboard/Website: There are two online sites related to this course. Familiarize yourself with them right away. Both will offer you access to information about the course such as study questions, announcements, grades, extra credit assignments. 

1. The first and most important one is our course Blackboard site: https://blackboard.cuonline.edu. On this page are INSTRUCTIONS TO ENROLL. Please make sure you enroll right at the beginning of the class.

2. The second site is my home page at http://www.davidhildebrand.org. Here there are a variety of general study tips and resources in philosophy.

YOU MUST PRINT OUT ANY REQUIRED ONLINE READING AND BRING IT TO CLASS.

Course Requirements/Evaluation:

Maximum points possible: 1000 points

(1) Participation 150 points or 15%

(2) Short Writings (10 total; half done by Oct. 11) 200 points or 20%

(3) Take home exam  #1 max: (1000-1500 words) 300 points or 30% (due Oct. 16 in class)

(4) Take home exam #2:

graduate students: 2500-3250 words 350 points or 35% (due Dec. 13, by noon)

undergraduate students: 1500-2000 

Graduate students: besides the different length exams for exam #2, expectations will be set at a higher level than undergraduates. If you have questions about this, please let me know.

Grades: There are 1000 possible points for this class. I use the plus/minus system. An "A" will be a body of work achieving at or above 930 points; an "A-" will be 900-929 points; a "B+" is 870-899 points, etc. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook. I have set out my standards of what a grade means on my FAQ section of my website. 

Attendance: Attendance is required. Two unexcused absences over the course of the semester are permitted without penalty. Each additional absence will lower your final course grade, approximately 30 points per absence. (E.g., having a total three unexcused absences would lower a cumulative 900 point course average by 30 points to 870—effectively a reduction from an A- to a B+—and so forth. An excusable absence is a medical illness or emergency that is completely unavoidable. It is the student's responsibility to talk to me about excusable absences ASAP after the absence.

(1) Participation: Course participation grades are not automatic. They are based on oral contributions to the collective learning experience of the class as a whole in terms of asking pertinent questions, answering questions correctly or, at least, provocatively, making insightful observations, and offering other meaningful expressions of interest in the material that help encourage learning. Shyness is not an excuse—oral participation is part of your evaluation. There will be ample opportunity for active and well prepared participation, which I value. I will measure your participation by a variety of components: informed dialogue, presentation of your short papers in class, participation in any group work, etc. Feel free to check with me at any point to see how well you’re participating. Important: part of this grade will be determined by your presentation of your short writings (see below): when called upon in class, you must demonstrate that you know what you wrote and why you wrote it; in other words, show clarity of thought, effective communication, and ability to field questions on your paper will all contribute to the participation portion of your grade. (I suggest looking over your short papers briefly before class to prepare.)

(2) Short Writings (10 total) The purpose of these assignments is to help you clarify your understanding of the readings and to help you think critically about the issues. Follow these instructions carefully, please.

What to write on short/critical reaction papers:

Short papers should be: 250-350 word, typewritten reactions or questions about some specific issue which you find compelling in the readings. Your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. (I.e., no book reports, please.) Rather, you must try to raise a question or discuss some original insight. You may use these papers to demonstrate your application of a concept/idea in the readings to an experience you have making or experiencing art, but the connection to the reading must be significant (and not a mere "jumping off" point. See the website link "Writing short, critical papers" for further hints about how to write a good paper.

The first paragraph should state in 1-2 sentences a summary of what the paper is about.

Only papers written on a reading or topic that will be discussed in the class immediately coming up are acceptable.

When to write short papers:

You must do 10 critical papers total and you may not hand in more than one paper on the same date. FIVE papers must be done by the course midpoint, October 11. Students who have not done 5 papers by this point will only be permitted to do 5 more papers.

You must come to class for a paper to be accepted.

Grading on short papers

Grade: This will be a "graded" assignment only in a loose sense; in other words it will be either S-satisfactory (full credit or 20 points) or U-unsatisfactory (half credit or 10 points). A zero (0) will be awarded if nothing (or next to nothing) is turned in.

TWO MAKE-UPS: If you get a Unsatisfactory on up to two papers, you may revise and resubmit them. The old grade will be dropped in favor of the revised paper's grade.

(3) Longer Exams: There will be two longer exams required for this class. They will likely be take home, but may contain an in class portion. They will likely contain a mixture of shorter and longer parts, as well as objective and essay formats. NO late exams without prior and absolutely justified permission. You may email me at any time to discuss your progress on ALL papers/assignments or we can discuss them in office hours. Only hard/paper copies will be accepted. I will not print out papers for you nor accept electronic copies as a way of meeting the deadline.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of stealing. It occurs when an author uses the words or ideas of others as if they were the author’s own original thought. (It may include word-for-word copying, interspersing one’s own words with another’s, paraphrasing, inventing or counterfeiting sources, submitting another’s work as one’s own, neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.) Plagiarism is often unintentional. It can be avoided by always acknowledging one’s debt to others by citing the exact source of a quotation or paraphrase. Since plagiarism is such a serious violation of academic honesty, the penalty for it may be an automatic “F” for this course. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

Grades: I use the plus/minus system. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook.

Contact Information

Phone : 303-556-8558

E-mail:david.hildebrand@ucdenver.edu Website: http://davidhildebrand.org

Office and Hours: Plaza M108  Hours TTh 10-11 a.m. and by appointment.

Purpose: I strongly encourage you to participate by dropping by during office hours. We can talk about the class readings and lectures,  exams and papers, your progress, or just philosophy in general. Note: If you are a student with a disability, I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations. Before accommodations will be made, you may be required to provide documentation. Students with disabilities will be accommodated. Students with disabilities are required to register disabilities with the UCD Disability Services Office, and are responsible for requesting reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the term.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule

Where should you look for the readings?  (a) “Online” which means on Blackboard site; (b) “Beginner’s Guide” (Hildebrand) or (c) “EN” which means  Experience and Nature

 Note: This is a rough schedule. Subject to revision. I will let you know in each class what is coming up.

 

Month

Date

Readings/Assignments

August

‚Äč21 TU 

No readings

August

23 TR 

 

“The Development of American Pragmatism” ONLINE

“From Absolutism to Experimentalism” ONLINE 

Preface and Introduction Beginner’s Guide

August

28 TU

“The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy” ONLINE 

August

30 TR

 “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” ONLINE  

“The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism” ONLINE 

 Chapter 1 Beginner’s Guide, [focus especially upon pp. 14-23, 35-38] This chapter should be reviewed periodically throughout the course.

Sept.

4 TU

1. Experience and Philosophic Method EN

Recommended: Alexander “Dewey’s Denotative Method” (Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 2004) ONLINE 

Sept.

6 TR

1. Experience and Philosophic Method EN

Sept.

11 TU

2. Existence as Precarious and as Stable EN

Recommended: Alexander, “The Metaphysical Imagination.” (Transactions 1992) ONLINE 

Sept.

13 TR

2. Existence as Precarious and as Stable EN

Sept.

18 TU

NO CLASS

Sept.

20 TR

NO CLASS

Sept.

25 TU

3. Nature, Ends and Histories EN

Sept.

27 TR

3. Nature, Ends and Histories EN

October

2 TU

“Three independent factors in morals” ONLINE 

Recommended: Beginner’s Guide chapter 3, Morality

Guest lecturer, Dr. Roberto Frega, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Paris

October

4 TR

“Democracy: the Task before Us” ONLINE 

Chapter 1, The Public and its Problems ONLINE

Recommended: Beginner’s Guide chapter 4, Politics

Secondary readings: Frega, “What Pragmatism Means by Public Reason” ONLINE 

Guest lecturer, Dr. Roberto Frega

October

9 TU

Honneth, Democracy as Reflexive Cooperation ONLINE

Bernstein, Democracy: The Task Still Ahead of Us ONLINE

Guest lecturer, Dr. Roberto Frega

October

11 TR

Agenda open, no new readings; we can review material relevant to the papers you’re writing, or discuss issues raised by recent class sessions. Short paper topic: open.

5/10 short papers due: Course midpoint

October

16 TU

4. Nature, Means and Knowledge EN

Beginner’s Guide chapter 4, Inquiry

Exam 1 DUE

October

18 TR

4. Nature, Means and Knowledge EN

October

23 TU

5. Nature, Communication and Meaning EN

October

25 TR

5. Nature, Communication and Meaning EN

October

30 TU

6. Nature, Mind and the Subject EN

November

 1 TR

6. Nature, Mind and the Subject EN

 

November

 6 TU

7. Nature, Life and Body-Mind EN

November

 8 TR

7. Nature, Life and Body-Mind EN

November

13 TU

8. Existence, Ideas and Consciousness EN

“Qualitative Thought” ONLINE 

November

15 TR

8. Existence, Ideas and Consciousness EN

November

20/22 

Thanksgiving

November

27 TU

9. Experience, Nature and Art EN

Beginner’s Guide chapter 6, Aesthetics

November

29 TR

9. Experience, Nature and Art EN

December

4 TU

10. Existence, Value and Criticism EN

“Philosophy and Civilization” ONLINE

December

6 TR

10. Existence, Value and Criticism EN

 


Last updated Oct 02, 2012 07:56:AM