Los Angeles Valley College, Fall 2008        K.L. Ross, DrKelley@AOL.com
Philosophy 14, Modern Philosophy                Office:  Campus Center 224
MW 9:40-11:05 PM (1523), 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: https://www.friesian.com/valley/#4

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 beginning of modern science--Copernicus and Galileo.
                 b) the first modern philosophers, the Continental Rationalists
                 --Descartes, Spinoza, & Leibniz.  The theory of scientific
                 method--Francis Bacon & Karl Popper. Tentative quiz, October 8

        Unit 2:  value, meaning, understanding, and interpretation in
                 recent philosophy:  Existentialism and deconstruction
                 --Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Heidegger, & Richard Rorty.
                 Tentative midterm, November 12

        Unit 3:  the British Empiricists, the "Scottish Enlightenment,"
                 Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume; the synthesis of Rationalism
                 and Empiricism--Immanuel Kant.  Tentative quiz, December 3

        Unit 4:  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: Monday, December 15, 9:30 AM, 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.

     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:
     November 21/23th).  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 Veteran's Day, November 10; and Thanksgiving,
     November 27-28.  The last day of classes is December 14.

     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 one midterm exam, two quizzes, and a final.  The
    major exams will include multiple choice, short answer identifications,
    and essay questions.  The two quizzes will be all multiple choice.  The
    final will be comprehensive.  Make-up tests and quizzes will
    only be given until the exams are handed back.  If you miss a test, you
    must take the make-up the day that you return.  Do not ask to make up a
    test weeks after it has been given.  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 midterm grade will be multiplied by two and the grade of
    the final exam by four for the course grade = {[(Quiz I) + (Quiz II) +
    2x(Midterm) + 4x(Final)]/8}.  Missed tests or quizzes will count as F's
    unless made up.  For the purpose of the following rule, the grades of
    the two quizzes will be combined:  If that grade or the Midterm grade
    are more than one letter grade lower than the other, or than the Final,
    they will be replaced with the highest grade with the penalty of one
    letter grade.  For instance, an A+ (13) on the final means that a
    Midterm grade, or a combined quiz 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