Los Angeles Valley College, Spring 2009 K.L. Ross, DrKelley@AOL.com Philosophy 30, Asian Philosophy Office: Campus Center 224 MW 9:40-11:05 AM (1529), CC 205 Phone: (818) 947-2467 SYLLABUS TEXTS: Asian Philosophies, by John M. Koller, Patricia Joyce Koller, & Patricia J. Koller Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps & Nyogen Senzaki A Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy, by John M. Koller, Patricia Koller (suggested) Handouts for this class, with some web links and extra graphics, are on the World Wide Web at: http://www.friesian.com/valley/#30 CONTENTS: A survey of the background, schools, and philosophers of Classical Indian and Chinese philosophy and of Buddhist thought in India, China, & Japan. "Asian Philosophy" does not include philosophy in Islâm. The course might better be called "South and East Asian Philosophy." The previous title of the class, "Oriental Philosophies," suffered from a similar ambiguity and is also now regarded as using an offensive term. Unit 1: The historical and scriptural background of Indian philosophy --the Arya and the caste system, Indian languages & the pronunciation of Sanskrit words. The Vedas and Epics. The philosophic schools of Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedânta. Tentative midterm: March 25. Unit 2: The historical background of Chinese philosophy, Chinese history and historiography, Chinese languages and dialects, and the pronunciation of Chinese words. Confucianism, Chinese moral and political philosophy. Taoism, the Way of Not-Doing. Tentative midterm: April 29. Unit 3: The non-violent resistance of Mohandas (Mahâtmâ) Gandhi. Buddhism, from the Buddha to Zen. Buddhist philosophic schools. Final: 9:30 AM, Monday, June 8, 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 say 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. After the third week attendance is no longer taken for each class meeting. However, attendance will be taken occasionally and randomly, and students with more than a week of absences may be excluded for non-attendance. Do not report absences to me. It is your own responsibility to drop the class if you wish to do so (final drop date: May 8/10th). Anyone on the roster at the end of the semester who has not been present for the tests will receive an F. It is your responsibility to obtain from other students any material or assignments you miss when absent. If you miss any examinations, including the due date for take home exams, and you return within the period when a makeup is allowed, you must be prepared to take the test, or hand in any materials, promptly at the beginning of the class on the day you return. Holidays this semester are Presidents' Day, February 13 & 16; Chavez Day, March 31; Spring Break, April 6-10; and Memorial Day, May 25. The last day of classes is June 1. Note well: Anyone who persistently disrupts my class by talking, arriving late, 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, TuTh 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. You do not need to 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. Just return to class. Any inquiries by e-mail can be answered within a couple of days: DrKelley@AOL.com TESTS: There will be two midterm exams and a final. Make-up tests for the midterms will only be given before the original tests are handed back (usually after a week). 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. The exams will include multiple choice, short answer identifications, and essay questions. The final will count half of your grade and will be comprehensive (Midterm I + Midterm II = Final). 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 midterm grades will be added together the grade of the final exam multiplied by two for the course grade = [Midterm I + Midterm II + 2x(Final)]/4. Missed tests will count as F's unless made up. The lowest midterm grade 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. 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 course. In this respect we may have a particular problem in this class, for it is not difficult to find much of the material we will be dealing with presented elsewhere in extremely devotionalistic, oversimplified, and credulous fashion. Indian ideas especially are typically presented, both by Indians and by others, as part of a single esoteric doctrine upon which everyone in the know agrees (because its just The Truth). As you will see, there is much disagreement between the various schools in Indian philosophy. If you have had "authoritative" people tell you things about Yoga or meditation or their metaphysical foundations, you do not need to forget it, but you must be ready to contrast it with what we will be looking at in this course. Authoritative assertions from a guru will not be a substitute for historical awareness and philosophical argument. You are expected to do your own work, so do not prepare communal essays with your study partners. 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 measures it has become necessary to take to guard against cheating on examinations. This is irritating and insulting for us all.
Return to Index