PHIL 120: Introduction to Philosophy: Democracy, Violence and the Political

Earlham College, Fall Semester 2012-2013 
Tuesday, Thursday, 10:30-11:50, Carpenter 322
Instructor: Ferit Güven 
Office: Carpenter 328 
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday: By appointment 
Office Phone: 983-1399 (voice mail) 
web page:
Moodle Page:

Course Description: The aim of this course is to introduce you to philosophy by investigating two political concepts: democracy and violence. We will study the political concept of democracy in relation to Western philosophical thinking. Is philosophy compatible with democracy? On the other hand, what is the relationship between democracy and violence? Does democracy exclude violence or does it require it in order to ground and preserve itself? Is philosophical thinking since the Ancient Greeks opposed to violence? Is the philosophical engagement with ideas necessarily a non-violent activity? Is it possible to conceptualize a form of polity that is not democractic but not violent? In short we will investigate the conceptual connections between philosophy, democracy, violence and the question of the political.

Required Texts: All of the required readings for this course will be available on Moodle

Course Requirement and Evaluation: 
You are expected to write three 5-6 page papers: I will provide paper topics for each assignment. Your papers must be double-spaced and typed in 12-point font (There should be approximately 250-300 words per page). In order to be fair to students who pass in their papers on time, late papers will be graded down one notch (e.g. B to B-) for each day late (including weekends). You are responsible for making copies of your essays.

Since you will be writing your papers on the texts we read in this course, there is no need to do additional research beyond these texts, that is, you do not need to use secondary sources. Plagiarism, [i.e., copying or paraphrasing the ideas and language of others (without acknowledging the source) from a book, from an article, from the Internet, etc., and thus implicitly presenting them as one's own] will not be tolerated. You will receive an F for that assignment, and may be subject to academic disciplinary action. For further clarifications on plagiarism, read The Student Handbook under "Procedures and Penalties for Academic Violations." Plagiarism can be deliberate or accidental. It is your responsibility to know what plagiarism is and avoid it. If you are not clear about plagiarism you should discuss it with me.

For each week, two students will work together in order to prepare a two page (single-spaced) protocol of the material discussed during the previous week. A protocol is a carefully edited summary of the previous class sessions written in full sentences. Protocols will be photocopied by the student who wrote it and handed out to all students at the beginning of each Tuesday to be read aloud, and will serve as a cumulative record of the course. The students who prepare the protocol should come to class a couple of minutes early, so that the protocols will have been distributed by the beginning of the class (i.e., at 10:30). In addition to reviewing the material covered in the previous classes, the protocol should include questions raised in class, and future questions for the material to come. The best protocols will be those that do not simply reproduce word for word everything that was said during class, but those that rearrange the material thematically, editing out what was unimportant, and emphasizing what was significant. The point of this is not only to get you to work together, but also to allow you to think during class, and not just take notes; because someone will be taking notes for you, you can concentrate on the ideas being presented, and participate without having to write frantically. Also you will have a summary of every class which will help you with writing papers and studying for quizzes.

There will be no final exam.  However, there will be quizzes either at the beginning or at the end of the sessions in order to make sure that all students complete their reading on time.  There will be no make-up for these quizzes.

Your grade will be calculated according to the following distribution: 1st Paper: 20%; 2nd Paper: 20%; 3rd Paper: 20%; Protocol: 15%; Class Participation, Quizzes: 15%; Attendance 10%.

Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing., etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and Disability Services Office (Academic Support Services) at the beginning of the semester. Accommodation arrangements must be made during the first two weeks of the semester.

Participation and Attendance: 
This is primarily a discussion/seminar course.  The success of the course depends on your contribution.  Participation is not equal to “just speaking” in class.  Your remarks have to contribute to our understanding of the meaning, or of the implications, or of the importance of the text. In order to be an effective participant you need do the following: 
In preparing for class: Complete the reading assignments for the day; Mark important passages in the text so that you can refer to them; Bring questions to class. 
In discussion: Listen to what classmates say carefully so that you can rephrase their ideas; Challenge ideas that you think are incorrect; Demonstrate a thoughtful engagement with the texts; Take notes. 
In speaking: Respond to the question under consideration; Connect your remarks to what others have said; Support what you say through textual evidence; Vary your style of participation, sometimes lead, sometimes hold back, sometimes push your ideas, sometimes help others to develop their ideas.

If you miss more than 3 classes you will lose 10% of your grade (i.e., your entire attendance grade). If you miss more than 4 classes you will fail this course regardless of your grade. You must bring your texts to every class. 
Our sessions will start at 10:30 am. Students are expected to come on time. Walking into (and out of) the classroom while the session is in progress is very disruptive for everybody. For every two late attendance (or early exit) you will be marked as absent for one class session.

Calendar: The calender and the reading assigments will be posted on Moodle. 
There may be some modifications to the calender. It is your responsibility to be aware of these changes. Make sure you follow these changes on Moodle.

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