Wednesday, September 6, 2017

CMI (F17)

Contemporary Moral Issues (PHIL 350:01)

Fall, 2017

MWF 2-2:50
Bowman 222

Professor:            Dr. David K. Braden-Johnson                      
Department:        Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Modern Languages
Office:                   Office #2, 100 Porter Street
Office Hours:      MWF 9-10
Phone:                  (413) 662-5448
Email:                   d.johnson@mcla.edu
Blog:                      http://www.critojazz.blogspot.com

Required Text: Cohen & Wellman, Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics

Focus of Course

This is an upper-division philosophy elective in applied ethics – the self-consciously concrete and worldly application of normative (evaluative, moral) thought and language to human affairs.  We will briefly examine the nature of ethical language and thought (so-called “meta-ethics”), the challenge of relativistic ethics, and competing ethical principles and theories (virtue theory, deontological and consequentialist/teleological theories, etc.) before considering in detail a variety of moral dilemmas involving the infliction of serious harm or death on sentient beings (humans included), such as capital punishment, abortion, animal use/abuse, euthanasia, war, suicide, etc.

Online Activities
My blog listed above contains links to all supporting course handouts and assignments, including a noninteractive page that lists weekly writing assignments for this course (“Q&As: CMI”).  Since I prefer to devote class-time to the exposition and analysis of student and textual positions, I typically reserve my own views for this online medium.

Class Policies and Expectations
Carefully review Handout CL and the honors Director’s short essay, designed for honors students but to my mind applicable to good students everywhere, “What Makes Honors Students Honorable?” in Thesis XII Online (http://thesisxii.blogspot.com)

Cancellations
I will attempt to email the entire class to warn of any unanticipated cancellations.

Laptop/Cell Phone Policy
Like a concert hall or theater, our classroom is reserved for face-to-face interaction. Thus, barring special needs or circumstances, you may bring but not use your laptop during class. The same policy applies to cell phones, IPods, and all other distracting gadgets. Please print out in advance any electronic material required for class.

Essays
Each week, students will complete short, highly-polished, critical (See Handouts CR1, CR2, and CR3) writing assignments (typically based on a specific reading from our text) called “Q&As” (see Handout QAHO).


My grading policy is, therefore, transparent and simple, based solely on the scores of your Q&As. (See Handouts QAHO and CL, “grading”).  Note: there will be no examinations/quizzes in this course.

Art and Philosophy (F17)

Art and Philosophy (PHIL 120:01)
Fall, 2017
MWF 10-10:50
M 303

Professor:            Dr. David K. Braden-Johnson                      
Department:        Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Modern Languages
Office:                   Office #2, 100 Porter Street
Office Hours:      MWF 9-10
Phone:                  (413) 662-5448
Email:                   d.johnson@mcla.edu
Blog:                      http://www.critojazz.blogspot.com

Required Text:  Neill & Ridley, Arguing About Art

Focus of Class
This is an introductory yet rigorous seminar in the philosophy of art (often called “aesthetics”).  In the context of a philosophical (essentially theoretical, rather than a more narrowly historical, psychological, or sociological, etc.) approach to the products and processes of human artistic efforts, this course surveys and employs a variety of traditional and contemporary concepts for describing accurately our experience, understanding, and appreciation of all forms of art.

Our philosophical inquiries will set out from two central questions of aesthetics: “What is art/the aesthetic?” and “What is the source of art’s unique value to humans?”  We will then take up several related, domain-specific, or applied questions such as:

What are the significant connections between artists and their audiences, society, history, politics, and the so-called “art-world”?  What is the nature of artistic innovation and/or creativity?  How are emotions/feelings, knowledge, truth, taste, beauty, and interpretation related to the arts?

Online Activities
My blog listed above contains links to all supporting course handouts and assignments, including a non-interactive page that lists weekly writing/reading assignments for this course (“Q&As: Art and Philosophy”).  Since I prefer to devote class-time to the exposition and analysis of student and textual positions, I typically reserve my own views for this online medium.

Class Policies and Expectations
Carefully review Handout CL and the honors Director’s short essay, designed for honors students but to my mind applicable to good students everywhere, “What Makes Honors Students Honorable?” in Thesis XII Online (http://thesisxii.blogspot.com)

Cancellations
I will attempt to email the entire class to warn of any unanticipated cancellations.

Laptop/Cell phone Policy
Like a concert hall or theater, our classroom is reserved for face-to-face interaction. Thus, barring special needs or circumstances, you may bring but not use your laptop during class. The same policy applies to cell phones, IPods, and all other distracting gadgets. Please print out in advance any material required for class.

Examinations
Every other week, typically on Fridays, we will have a short, half-hour quiz.  All will be objective-style (T/F; multiple choice, short answer, etc.), cumulative quizzes on the content of both our readings and class discussions.  Each will be worth the same, amounting to roughly 50% of a student’s final grade for the course.

Essays
On non-quiz weeks, students will complete short, highly-polished, critical (See Handouts CR1, CR2, and CR3) writing assignments (typically based on a specific reading from our text) called “Q&As” (see Handout QA).  Each will be worth the same, typically due on Fridays, and amounting to roughly the remaining 50% of a student’s final grade for the course.

My grading policy is, therefore, transparent and simple, based solely on the scores of your quizzes and Q&As. (See Handouts QA and CL, “grading”).




Art and Philosophy-Honors (F17)

Art and Philosophy-Honors (PHIL 120H:01)
Fall, 2017
MWF 11-11:50
M 303

Professor:            Dr. David K. Braden-Johnson                      
Department:        Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Modern Languages
Office:                   Office #2, 100 Porter Street
Office Hours:      MWF 9-10
Phone:                  (413) 662-5448
Email:                   d.johnson@mcla.edu
Blog:                      http://www.critojazz.blogspot.com

Required Text:  Neill & Ridley, Arguing About Art

Focus of Class
This is an introductory yet rigorous seminar in the philosophy of art (often called “aesthetics”).  In the context of a philosophical (essentially theoretical, rather than a more narrowly historical, psychological, or sociological, etc.) approach to the products and processes of human artistic efforts, this course surveys and employs a variety of traditional and contemporary concepts for describing accurately our experience, understanding, and appreciation of all forms of art.

Our philosophical inquiries will set out from two central questions of aesthetics: “What is art/the aesthetic?” and “What is the source of art’s unique value to humans?”  We will then take up several related, domain-specific, or applied questions such as:

What are the significant connections between artists and their audiences, society, history, politics, and the so-called “art-world”?  What is the nature of artistic innovation and/or creativity?  How are emotions/feelings, knowledge, truth, taste, beauty, and interpretation related to the arts?

Online Activities
My blog listed above contains links to all supporting course handouts and assignments, including a non-interactive page that lists weekly writing/reading assignments for this course (“Q&As: Art and Philosophy”).  Since I prefer to devote class-time to the exposition and analysis of student and textual positions, I typically reserve my own views for this online medium.

Class Policies and Expectations
Carefully review Handout CL and the honors Director’s short essay, designed for honors students but to my mind applicable to good students everywhere, “What Makes Honors Students Honorable?” in Thesis XII Online (http://thesisxii.blogspot.com)

Cancellations
I will attempt to email the entire class to warn of any unanticipated cancellations.

Laptop/Cell phone Policy
Like a concert hall or theater, our classroom is reserved for face-to-face interaction. Thus, barring special needs or circumstances, you may bring but not use your laptop during class. The same policy applies to cell phones, IPods, and all other distracting gadgets. Please print out in advance any material required for class.

Examinations
Every other week, typically on Fridays, we will have a short, half-hour quiz.  All will be objective-style (T/F; multiple choice, short answer, etc.), cumulative quizzes on the content of both our readings and class discussions.  Each will be worth the same, amounting to roughly 50% of a student’s final grade for the course.

Essays
On non-quiz weeks, students will complete short, highly-polished, critical (See Handouts CR1, CR2, and CR3) writing assignments (typically based on a specific reading from our text) called “Q&As” (see Handout QAHO).  Each will be worth the same, typically due on Fridays, and amounting to roughly the remaining 50% of a student’s final grade for the course.

My grading policy is, therefore, transparent and simple, based solely on the scores of your quizzes and Q&As. (See Handouts QAHO and CL, “grading”).