Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


The course should really be called "God, Knowledge, Consciousness, Freedom, Survival, and Doing the Right Thing," because that is what we're going to be talking about. One goal is to give you a sense of what famous philosophers have said about these topics. Some of it is wild; some of it is profound; a lot is both at the same time (and some is doubtless neither, though we try to avoid that). A second goal is to get you thinking, and writing, and arguing, in a philosophical way yourself.


Buy at Amazon Feinberg, Joel, and Russ Shafer-Laundau. Reason and Responsibility. 14th ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2010. ISBN: 9781439046944.

Requirements and Grading

Talking and writing about the assigned readings are the central activities of this class. There is a reading assignment for each lecture. Lectures will presuppose familiarity with the assigned articles. So you should do the reading beforehand.

Communication intensive subjects in the humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS-CI) require at least 20 pages of writing divided among 3-5 assignments. Of these assignments, at least one should be revised and resubmitted. HASS-CI subjects should further offer students opportunity for oral expression, through presentations, student-led discussion, or class participation. In order to guarantee sufficient attention to student writing and opportunity for oral expression, sections of 24.00 are capped at 18 students.

Grades are calculated on the basis of papers, section, and exam (see below). Satisfactory work in each of the three components is required to pass the course. Late work will be accepted only under exceptional circumstances; it will be penalized 1/3 grade per day, e.g., from B+ to B, unless an extension is granted in advance.

Papers (3) 45%
Argument detection project 10%
Recitation attendance, participation 15%
Final exam 30%


Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are deplored and not tolerated. If in doubt about what counts as plagiarism, or about how to properly reference a source, consult the instructor or your TA. Other forms of academic dishonesty include: cheating on exams, double submission of papers, aiding dishonesty, and falsification of records. If academic dishonesty is proven, at the very least you will fail the course and a letter will be sent to the Committee on Discipline documenting the dishonesty. (Sometimes plagiarism might seem the only way out of a crisis. It is always better to speak to your TA, the professor, your advisor, the academic deans, or the counseling center; they will help you find another way out.) See the statement on academic misconduct on the course Web site for a fuller picture.