Syllabus for HUM-101

INTRODUCTION TO THE HUMANITIES I: PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Introduction to the Humanities: Philosophical Thought examines the question: How do we live a meaningful life? Drawing from a range of Western philosophers, the course examines the basic tension between the  Greco-Roman tradition of secular humanism and the traditions of  theistic religion (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Students will absorb and digest philosophical ideas from Plato, sacred texts (the Bible and the Koran), Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, Frankl, and Weil, among others. Course content consists of a series of half-hour video lectures along with text readings. Throughout, the course challenges students to consider and reconsider what constitutes a meaningful life. This course is based on the course "Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life" from the Teaching Company. 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

 

  1. Discuss the roles that philosophy and religion play in the search for a meaningful life. 
  2. Describe the contrasting metaphors of hero and saint. 
  3. Discuss philosophical development from the Greek heroic ideal through Plato's citizen-hero and the philosopher-ruler of Stoic thought. 
  4. Differentiate the saint from the hero through further study of the "religions of the book": Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 
  5. Discuss the development of philosophical concepts of individualism, humanism, skepticism, and secularism from the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment. 
  6. Examine the effects of cultural and historical traumas of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on the search for meaning . 
  7. Discuss philosophical concepts of freedom, responsibility, and suffering introduced by existentialism and the Holocaust. 
  8. Examine the philosophy of Simone Weil and her quest for wholeness and social justice. 
  9. Apply philosophical ideas about a meaningful life to contemporary problems. 

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Videos (streamed for you within the course)

  1. Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life (The Great Courses Series) by Dr. Francis J. Ambrosio, Georgetown University. 36 half-hour videos.

Textbooks

  1. Cahn, Steven M. Classics of Western Philosophy, 8th ed. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2007.


ISBN-12: 978-1-60384-743-8

Note: the next three texts are available from multiple publishers (and sometimes in multiple translations), and each edition will have its own ISBN number. The following are three available editions.

  1. Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. Seattle, WA: Pacific Publishing Studio, 2010.


ISBN-10: 1453727426

  1. Guignon, Charles B., ed. The Grand Inquisitor, with related chapters from the Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1993.


ISBN-10: 0872201937

 

  1. Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search for Meaning. New York,: Pocket, 1985.


ISBN-10: 0671023373

 

 

COURSE STRUCTURE

Introduction to the Humanities I: Philosophical Thought is a three-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Introduction

  1. Module 2: The Greco-Roman Tradition 

  1. Module 3: The Judeo-Christian and Islamic Traditions

  1. Module 4: Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment Thought

  1. Module 5: The Mid-Nineteenth Through the Early Twentieth Century

  1. Module 6: The Twentieth Century: Existentialism and the Quest for Meaning

  1. Module 7: The Secular Saint in Contemporary Culture 

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in seven (7) graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded "Introductions" forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussions.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete seven (7) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the written assignment rubric used to aid in the grading of all written assignments.

Final Paper

There is no midterm or final examination in this course. A paper of 2,000 to 2,500 words acts as your final assessment and is worth 30 percent of your grade. You may begin work on this paper at any time during the course, but you must submit it by the last day of the semester.

The final paper will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of course objectives and concepts. It gives you the opportunity to use what you have learned during the semester to discuss your view of the question: How does a person live a meaningful life?

 

A full description of the paper is provided within the course. Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the final paper rubric used to aid in the grading of the final paper.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (7)—28 percent
  2. Written assignments (7)—42 percent
  3. Final paper—30 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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