Los Angeles Valley College, Spring 2006        K.L. Ross, DrKelley@AOL.com
Philosophy 14, Modern Philosophy                Office:  Campus Center 224
W 6:45-9:55 PM (3316), CC 205                       Phone:  (818) 947-2467

       Classics of Western Philosophy, Steven M. Cahn
       The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, Arthur Schopenhauer
       The Fatal Conceit, F.A. Hayek (recommended)

       Handouts for this class, with some web links and extra graphics,
       are on the World Wide Web at: http://www.friesian.org/valley/

CONTENTS:  The course is intended as a survey of modern Western
           philosophy, with emphasis on background, fundamental
           themes, and selected topics.

        Unit 1:  a) the first modern philosophers, the Continental
                 Rationalists--Descartes, Spinoza, & Leibniz.
                 b) the theory of scientific method--Francis Bacon & Karl
                 Popper.  Background handouts:  the beginnings of modern
                 science--Copernicus and Galileo.  Tentative midterm
                 March 15

        Unit 2:  a) value, meaning, understanding, and interpretation in
                 recent philosophy:  Existentialism and deconstruction-
                 -Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, & Richard Rorty.
                 b) the British Empiricists, the "Scottish Enlightenment,"
                 Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume; the synthesis of Rationalism
                 and Empiricism--Immanuel Kant.  Tentative midterm
                 April 19

        Unit 3:  a) the Idealist reaction to Kant and its consequences--
                 Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, & the Fall of Communism.
                 Liberal Economics:  Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, & F.A. Hayek
                 b) philosophy and the unconscious--Schopenhauer, Nietzsche,
                 Freud, and Jung.
                 Final:  Wednesday, May 31, 6:45 PM, CC 205.

ATTENDANCE:  This is primarily a lecture class:  tardiness
     and absences thus will result in missing material that cannot be found
     in the texts or in other sources.  The texts are primary
     sources which are not self-explanatory; and you will not
     find what I talk about in encyclopaedia articles or in most other
     books.  Believe me, you will not do well in the
     class unless you are present for the lectures or arrange to obtain
     lecture notes, and it is your responsibility to arrange with
     others to obtain the materials for classes that you miss.
     You may tape record lectures.

     Attendance will be taken for each class meeting.  Excessive absences
     (more than 3 weeks) may subject you to exclusion or reduction in grade.
     It is your own responsibility to drop the class if you wish to do so
     (final drop date:  May 5th).  You will not be penalized if absent
     for religious, work-related, or serious personal reasons, but I will
     exclude people if in my judgment their absences are so numerous as to
     preclude a proper understanding of the course.

     Holidays this semester are Lincoln's Birthday & Presidents' Day,
     February 17 & 20; Cesar Chavez Day, March 31; Spring Break, April 10-
     14; and Memorial Day, May 29.  The last day of classes is Friday,
     May 26th.

     Note well:  Anyone who persistently disrupts my class by talking,
     arriving late, leaving early, repeatedly leaving & returning, or
     through any other distracting or inconsiderate behavior may be
     instructed to leave the class.  If you do not want to be here,
     don't come in the first place.

OFFICE HOURS:  My office hours are MW 7:30-8:00 & 11:10-11:45 AM, TuWTh
    6:30-6:45 PM, and by appointment in CC 224.  The phone number is (818)
    947-2467.  This is a direct line, and no one else will answer the phone.
    You should call during office hours.  If you call at other times, you
    can leave messages on voicemail.  Do not report absences, or your
    reasons for them, by voicemail.  Do not leave messages for me to call
    you, without the times you can be reached at your number.  I will not
    return calls if all you want is to be brought up to date for classes
    you have missed.  Any inquiries by e-mail can be answered within a
    couple of days:  DrKelley@AOL.com.  Identify the class in the subject
    line of the e-mail.

TESTS:  There will be two midterm exams and a final.  The exams will
     include multiple choice, short answer identifications, and essay
     questions.  The final exam will be comprehensive.  Make-up tests
     will not given after the original tests are handed back (after
     about a week).  If you miss a test, you must take the make-up
     the day that you return.  Do not ask me for a make-up tests weeks
     later.  If you miss the final and cannot take it at another time I
     have scheduled, you cannot make it up during the current semester and
     will be credited with an F unless you request an
     Incomplete--which you may do simply by leaving a message for me
     before I turn in the grades.

     Point values are assigned to grades as follows:  F=0, D=3, C=6, B=9,
     A=12.  Minuses subtract one point, and pluses add one.  A C+ is thus
     worth 7. The grade on the final exam will be multiplied by two
     (Midterm I + Midterm II = Final).  The lowest midterm grade (or an F
     for a missed midterm) will be dropped if the grade is improved
     by the substitution of the grade of the other midterm or of the final
     with the penalty of one letter grade (sub-tracting 3
     points).  For instance, an A+ (13) on the final means that a
     midterm grade lower than a B+ (10) is replaced with a B+.  If the
     course grade is as much as 10 (B+), without rounding, an A will
     be awarded.  If a 7 (C+), a B; a 4 (D+), a C; and a 1 (F+), a D.

     In all tests in my classes, you are not expected to agree with
     me on any issue; but you are expected to know what has been
     presented in the course, both in the lectures and in the books, and to
     present reasons or arguments for any views you wish to advocate.
     Outside materials or opinions are welcome so long as they are not a
     substitute for awareness or discussion of the materials of the

     You are expected to do your own work, so do not prepare common essays
     with your study partners.  On a test, if I read an essay that I have
     already read, I will grade it down.  Do not simply reproduce the
     handouts or quote from them without attribution.  I reserve the
     right to exclude or fail anyone who turns in work that they have not
     done themselves, who plagiarizes, or who cheats in any other way.  I
     apologize in advance for the security measures it has become necessary
     to take to guard against cheating on examinations.  This is irritating
     and insulting for us all.

Return to Index