David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy



Dr. David Hildebrand
Spring 2009, TTh 4:00p-05:15p at SO 109
PHIL 4101-001/PHIL 5101-001

Jump to readings: Schedule of Readings

: Perhaps the three most important questions for our nation of immigrants have been: Who are we? What do we believe? Should we accept the views of our forefathers? In addressing these questions, American philosophers have both accepted and rejected their intellectual heritage. In their most critical moments, American philosophers argue that philosophy must reassert itself as an active, constructive, and ethical force in human life. Doing this means shaking and breaking many traditional philosophical distinctions including those between: mind and body, fact and value, appearance and reality, self and society, probability and certainty, and language and world. This course will survey the classic philosophical themes developed and sustained by prominent 19th and 20th century philosophers, especially American Pragmatism. We'll begin right away with classical American Pragmatism (including Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and G.H. Mead). Contemporary pragmatism will also be carefully explored by examining the work of feminism, naturalism and one important inheritor of classical pragmatism, Richard Rorty.Required Texts: Available at bookstore and, 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.

  • (PCAP) Pragmatism and Classical American Philosophy : Essential Readings and Interpretive Essays by John J. Stuhr (Introduction) Paperback - 707 pages 2nd edition (August 1999) Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0195118308
  • (CAP) Classical American Pragmatism : Its Contemporary Vitality by Sandra B. Rosenthal (Editor), Carl R. Hausman (Editor), Douglas R. Anderson (Editor), (Univ of Illinois Press, June 1999), ISBN: 0252067606
  • Online—for you to print out at home or school—PDF's of articles online at Blackboard, perhaps elsewhere on the 'net.


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

Course Objectives: Ideally, by the end of this course students should gain the following skills:
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 the above 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.

Participation/presentation  20%
Short Writings (10 total) 15%
Paper #1 max: (1000-1300 words pages) 30% (Due Feb. 26 in class)
Paper #2   graduate students: 2500-3250 words  35% (due: NOON, 5/12, philosophy department office)
undergraduate students: 1500-2000 words 35%  (due: NOON, 5/12, philosophy department office)

Attendance: More than two unexcused absences over the course of the semester will lower your final course grade, approximately 3 points per absence. (E.g., having three unexcused absences would lower a 90 course average to an 87, and so forth. An excusable absence is a medical illness or emergency that is completely unavoidable.

Participation/Presentation: 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. "Participation" can also include the following kinds of things: attendance, e-mail dialogue, and participation in any group work we have.

Important: part of this grade will be determined by your presentation of your short papers: 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.)

Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading.Very important: please try to set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.

Short Papers (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. These assignments should be:

What to write on short papers:
* Short papers should be: one-page, 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 that are 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 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 March 12th. Students who have not done 5 papers by this date 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 (100) or U-unsatisfactory (50). 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.

Papers: There will be two longer papers required for this class. You will need to start thinking about paper topics well before their due date. NO late papers without prior arrangements. You may email me at any time to discuss your progress on ALL papers/assignments or we can discuss them in office hours.

Plagiarism/ Academic Dishonesty 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 will be an automatic “F” for this course.
Academic dishonesty is the intentional disregard of course or university rules. This may include (but is not limited to) collaborating with others when rules forbid or using sources/experts not permitted by an assignment. 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. I have set out my standards of what a grade means on my FAQ section of my website.

Access, Disability, Communication: The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who want academic accommodations must register with Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 177 Arts Building, 303-556-3450, TTY 303-556-4766, FAX 303-556-2074. I will be happy to provide approved accommodations, once you provide me with a copy of DRS’s letter. [DRS requires students to provide current and adequate documentation of their disabilities. Once a student has registered with DRS, DRS will review the documentation and assess the student’s request for academic accommodations in light of the documentation. DRS will then provide the student with a letter indicating which academic accommodations have been approved.]

Students called for military duty: If you are a student in the military with the potential of being called to military service and /or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact your school/college Associate Dean or Advising Office immediately.

Course Communication: In addition to announcements made and written handouts distributed in class, I may need to contact you between classes, which I'll do through individual and group email messages. One of the requirements for this course is that you maintain an email address, check it regularly for messages, be sure it is working, and let me know if you change your email address. You are responsible for any messages, including assignments and schedule changes, I send you via email. You also may contact me via email, in addition to seeing me during office hours or calling me.

Civility: Turn off beepers and cell phones during class. Text messaging, web surfing, and other electronic distractions may result in expulsion from class and will count against the participation grade. Students who are speaking deserve your attention and respect as much as I do. Listen to one another. Adherence to the Student Conduct Code is expected.

Contact Information and Office Hours
Phone : 303-556-8558
E-mail: hilde@yahoo.com;

Website: http://davidhildebrand.org
Office and Hours: Plaza M108; Hours TTh 1130-1230 p.m. or 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.Please note: All course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Course Schedule

(a rough guide—you will  need to keep track of where exactly we are)


T 20 Course introduction
Th22 Peirce –Introduction (PCAP), "Some Consequences" (54-67)

T 27 Peirce–Theory of inquiry (PCAP) "Fixation of Belief" (67-76)
Recommended: "Genuine Doubt and the Community in Peirce's Theory of Inquiry.", here: http://davidhildebrand.org/articles/hildebrand_peirce.pdf
Th29 Peirce – Theory of Inquiry "How to Make Ideas Our Clear" (77-88) (PCAP) Lachs "Inquiry as Social Life" (CAP


T 3 Peirce-Pragmatism (PCAP) "What Pragmatism Is"
Recommended: Hausman piece in (CAP)
Th 5 James— Pragmatism "The Present Dilemma in Philosophy" [ONLINE]

T 10 James—"What Pragmatism Means" (193-202) (PCAP)
Th12 James--Stuhr, "William James's Pragmatism: Purpose, Practice, and Pluralism" (CAP)

T 17 James-Applications of Pragmatism, "The Will to Believe" (230-41)
Th 19 James- Seigfreid, "Sympathetic Apprehension of the Point of View of the Other" (CAP)

T 24 James, "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life" (PCAP) Ruth Anna Putnam, "The Moral Life of a Pragmatist."
Th 26 Paper1 DUE Dewey— Introduction, Dewey introduction (431-43) (PCAP) "Need for Recovery of Philosophy (445-55) (PCAP)  Recommended: Hildebrand, "Introduction," from Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Press, 2008) ONLINE


T 3 Dewey—Experience "Postulate of Immediate Empiricism," (445-459) (PCAP)
Recommended: Hildebrand, pp. 35-39 from chapter "Experience," from Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Press, 2008) ONLINE
Th 5 Dewey—Inquiry "The Pattern of Inquiry" (482-491) (PCAP)  Recommended: Hildebrand, "Inquiry," from Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Press, 2008) ONLINE

T 10 Dewey—Inquiry Hickman, "Beyond The Epistemology Industry: Dewey's Theory of Inquiry" in Pragmatism As Post-Postmodernism (ONLINE)
Th 12  No class

T 17 Dewey—Morality "Three Independent Factors in Morals" ONLINE Recommended: Hildebrand, "Morality," from Dewey: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Press, 2008) ONLINE
Th19 Dewey—Morality "The Moral Self" ONLINE

T 24 Spring Break
Th 26 Spring Break

T 31  Mead—Textbook Introduction 540-555 (PCAP)


Th 2 Mead, "Mead_Mind_Self_Society_The_Self.pdf" ONLINE (A selection from this is in our textbook called: "Play, the Game, and the Generalized Other" (PCAP) but read this fuller, online version.

T 7 Mead: Aboulafia "Mead_and_the_Social_Self.pdf" ONLINE
Th 9  Mead: "Mead_Selected_writings_The_Social_Self_.pdf" (ONLINE)  Recommended: Rosenthal "Behavior and the Perceived World" (CAP)

T 14  Mead, "The 'I' and the 'Me'" (PCAP)
Th 16 Pragmatism and Feminism: Textbook introduction, Jane Addams, "Charitable Effort" (PCAP)

T 21 Neopragmatism—Rorty Consequences of Pragmatism: "Introduction" ONLINE
Hildebrand, "The Neopragmatist Turn," here: http://davidhildebrand.org/articles/hildebrand_neopragmatist.pdf
Th 23 Rorty—Consequences of Pragmatism: "Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism" ONLINE

T 28 Rorty—Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth "Solidarity or Objectivity" (ONLINE)
Th 30  Hickman, "Classical Pragmatism: Waiting at the End of the Road" in Pragmatism As Post-Postmodernism (ONLINE)


T 5 Hickman, "Classical Pragmatism, Postmodernism, and Neopragmatism" in Pragmatism As Post-Postmodernism (ONLINE)
Th 7 Rorty "Pragmatism as Anti-authoritarianism" by Richard Rorty (ONLINE)

Last updated Nov 21, 2010 02:49:PM