After a brief survey of central themes related to skepticism and empirical knowledge, this course will provide materials for one specific aspect of epistemology, to wit the intercultural variation in the acquisition and justification of knowledge. Drawing from anthropological records brings new vistas to classic philosophical themes; i.e., the nature of perception and introspection; the role of testimony for acquiring beliefs; the possibility of a priori knowledge, the role of systemic memory for developing intelligence; and so on. Philosophy majors are advised, additionally to enroll in a traditional course on epistemology that focuses exclusively on historic and analytic dimensions of epistemology, since the materials presented in this course, although mind-provoking and relevant for comprehending human intelligence, cannot replace the themes of traditional discourse in epistemology. This course is open to all students interested in higher learning. Actively reading the listed materials and engaging in activities that improve your comprehension of the subject matter will be inevitable. Be prepared to discuss the assigned readings in class.
Research Paper 25%, Review Essays 25%, Final Exam 25%, Participation and Relevant Contributions to In-Class-Activities 25%, from a total of 400 pts.
The Two Cultures by C. P. SNOW, Cambridge UP 1998.
Tribal Epistemologies by Helmut WAUTISCHER, Avebury Press 1998.
Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology by Henrietta MOORE, Blackwell 2005.
Natural History by Justinna ROBSON, Randomhouse 2004.
Use the University Library to secure primary readings for research assignments, bibliographical references, and to substantiate discussions. All librarians keep regular office hours which are posted on the library’s website, and they will make appointments with students for one-on-one assistance sessions.
The final semester grade will be based on the four performance aspects listed above under “key.” It is essential to understand that the class has no tolerance for cheating or plagiarism, and the violators will, therefore, be dismissed from class immediately and permanently with a disciplinary grade of "F".
Clear your topic with the instructor. Format: 15 pages, double-spaced and typed, 1 inch margins on all four sides, stapled, no cover page or folder or clear cover. The assignment must be well written, showing a high degree of English proficiency and analytical skills, authentic and honest, properly and appropriately referencing all sources, and crediting the ideas, words, and works of others. Any delay in submitting your project past the posted due date will result in a deduction of 10 points for each day. Primary target is development of your writing skills, comprehension of complex materials, and eloquence in supporting your beliefs. Helpful information for writing essays is at http://www.sonoma.edu/programs/writingcenter, you will also find additional information at http://www.sonoma.edu/users/b/botterel/hints.html.
You will write in class five essays about reading materials assigned for the corresponding weeks. Each essay is 25 points, and I will count four of the five essays for this performance aspect. Primary target is your practice of philosophical argumentation based on complex thought structures. If you are absent for one of these essays, the remaining four will count for the grade. More than one absence will result in zero points for that segment of writing.
There will be two sections, one relates to your description of technical terminology as we have used it throughout the semester, and the other section relates to specific questions tailored to your research paper. If you have not submitted your paper by the due-date, you will answer a different set of questions about the materials covered in class. Your answers will link philosophers with their ideas, explore philosophical concepts, use key terminology related to epistemology, and demonstrate your thinking ability and comprehension of materials addressed in class discussions.
Attendance and Discussion
You will receive up to 30 points for attendance and up to 70 points for philosophically sound and relevant contributions to in-class discussion based on the assigned readings. Please take this feature very serious, since I will not reward your silence in class.
It is helpful to schedule approximately 4 hours of active studying per week outside the classroom to receive a CR or a C grade. For every grade step add two additional hours per week.
Grade requirements and description of grades
F failure 199 pts. and below, or with proven plagiarism.
D barely passing 200 pts.
C average 250 pts. Indicates adequate fulfillment of requirements, and average, but not notable work.
B very good 310 pts. Is earned by fulfilling the course requirement with more than adequate scholarship.
A- outstanding 350 pts., A outstanding 375 pts., To earn an A or A-, the student must demonstrate outstanding scholarship above and beyond fulfilling all the course requirements.
CR same as grade C- (230 pts.) or better.
W Withdrawal prior to the posted deadline.
I Incomplete. Only in exceptional cases. Has to be removed
one calendar year.
Phil 305 is an upper division philosophy elective course primarily designed for philosophy majors; however, it is also enjoyable for any student who loves philosophical reflection about complex and rewarding subject matters. There are no prerequisites, but students are asked to be responsible and motivated to acquire all necessary skills for scholarly debate. All assigned readings must be completed prior to the class meetings. It is helpful to have had some exposure to philosophical reflection, a critical thinking course, or a general introduction to philosophy. In the absence of such preparatory exposure to philosophy, please be very motivated to fill-in the gap through personal motivation and diligence.
(1) Students with disabilities must communicate all requests for special accommodations during the first three days of class.
(2) All exams can be reviewed throughout one calendar year and will be recycled thereafter.
(3) Preferred contact is office visit, then phone message, lastly by <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
(4) Please visit the following hyperlinks for SSU policy information: Grade Appeal Procedures Policy, Cheating and Plagiarism Policy, Campus Diversity Vision Statement.