PHIL 3160/ENG 3160

Philosophy in Literature and Film

Dr. Janet Donohoe

Spring 2012


1.  Learning Outcomes:  The aim of this course is to address the theme of knowledge and tradition in philosophical and literary texts as well as in film.  We will attempt to grasp how authors understand the relation of tradition to what we know and how we know it.  We ask these questions in an effort to come to a deeper understanding of ourselves as human beings and our own relationship to our traditions.  By the end of the semester students will be able to:



2.             Requirements:  Because this is a Discipline Specific Writing course, the writing element will be substantial and will involve informal response papers as well as formal paper writing.  The requirements for the class are fivefold.

                                a)            class discussion and participation                                    10%

                                b)            response papers                                                                   20%

                                c)             in-class written midterm exam                                          20%

                                d)            final paper of 3000-3600 words (including draft)         25%

                                e)             in-class written final exam                                                 25%


In order to meet these requirements, it will be necessary to attend class regularly and to do the assigned reading.  It will be evident if you have not done the reading and this will not be beneficial to your success in this class.  Papers absolutely will not be accepted after the due date unless you have discussed it with me prior to the due date.  You must turn in a rough draft of your final paper.  If you do not turn in a rough draft, you will not be allowed to turn in a final draft of the paper and will receive a zero for this part of your grade. 


Primarily, your term paper should be focused on a text or texts that we have discussed in class.  The goal is for you to express your own understanding and analysis of a text or texts.  If you want to do research into secondary sources, the best way to do so is to consult the Philosopher’s Index to see what kinds of articles might have been published that would be pertinent to your issue.  I would highly recommend that you not rely on the Web to get information on your issue.  Web sources are notoriously unreliable and can often be overly simplistic in their presentation of any philosophical view.  Scholarly articles and books are the best sources to consult.  Be sure that if you consult any secondary sources you cite those sources.  Failure to do so can have dire consequences. 


The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the thinking of others as it is presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course and may result in further consequences of being expelled from the University.


3.             Availability:  I am available outside of class during office hours, or by appointment.  If there are questions or problems, do not hesitate to see me.


Hours:  MWF 9:00-10:00 am, MF 12:00 noon-1:00 pm.

Office:  TLC 2230

Phone:  678-839-4743



4.             Book List:  The books listed below should be available in the bookstore. 

Sophocles                      Antigone

Plato                               The Trial and Death of Socrates

Eco                                 The Name of the Rose

Stoppard                       Arcadia


The following pieces will be available on electronic library reserves.

Hawthorne                    “The Birthmark”

Heidegger                      “The Question Concerning Technology”

Benjamin                      “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

Derrida                           Differance


The following films will also be available on reserve in the library.


“A Man for All Seasons” by Fred Zinnemann

“Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin

“Thin Blue Line” by Errol Morris

“The Apostle” by Robert Duvall


1/9                  Introduction to themes of the course: Tradition, Knowledge, Truth.  Discussion of genre and philosophy.

Section I.       Knowledge/Truth vs. Tradition

1/11                                                Discussion of Themes of the Course.  Begin Sophocles               Antigone

1/13                                                Antigone

1/16                                                MLK Day—No Classes

1/18                                                Antigone

1/20                                                Plato       Crito (1st response paper due)

1/23                                                Crito

1/25                                                “A Man For All Seasons”

1/27                                                “A Man For All Seasons”

Section II.     Revealed Truth/Knowledge vs. Reason

1/30                                                Eco         The Name of the Rose

2/1                                  The Name of the Rose

2/3                                  The Name of the Rose

2/6                                  The Name of the Rose

2/8                                  The Name of the Rose

2/10                                                The Name of the Rose

2/13                                                The Name of the Rose

2/15                                                “The Apostle” (2nd response paper due)

2/17                                                “The Apostle”

2/20                                                Midterm Exam

Section III.   Scientific Knowledge vs. Artistic Knowledge.  Where is Truth?  What is Tradition?

2/22                                                Hawthorne            The Birthmark (3rd response paper due)

2/24                                                The Birthmark

2/27                                                Heidegger “The Question Concerning Technology”

2/29                                                “The Question Concerning Technology  (Last Day to Withdraw with a W)

3/2                                  “The Question Concerning Technology”

3/5                                  “The Question Concerning Technology”

3/7                                  Benjamin “The Work of Art” (4th response paper due)

3/9                                  “Work of Art”

3/12                                                “Work of Art” 

3/14                                                “Modern Times”

3/16                                                “Modern Times”

3/19-3/23                      Spring Break—No Classes

Section IV.  Is Knowledge possible?  Is there Truth?  Is there only Tradition?

3/26                                                Stoppard               Arcadia

3/28                                                Arcadia

3/30                                                Arcadia

4/2                                  Arcadia

4/4                                  Differance(Rough Draft of Paper Due)

4/6                                  “Difference”

4/9                                  Differance

4/11                                                Differance

4/13                                                Differance(Final Paper Due)

4/16                                                “Thin Blue Line”

4/18                                                “Thin Blue Line”

4/20                                                Summary Conclusions/Review


Final Exam is scheduled for Friday, April 27, 2012 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm.