UWG Philosophy Program

 

PHIL 4300-01W

SENIOR SEMINAR (3 hours)

Fall 2013

TR 12:30-1:50pm

Classroom: Pafford 112

Prerequisite: Senior standing

http://www.westga.edu/~rlane/senior

Email: rlane@westga.edu*

Instructor: Dr. Robert Lane, TLC 2247

Office Hours:

T: 8:30-9:15am; 11am-12:15pm; 3:30-4pm

W: 9-9:55am; 1-4pm

R: 8:30-9:15am; 11am-12:15pm; 3:30-4pm

and by appointment

My office telephone: (678) 839-4745
English/Philosophy telephone: (678) 839-6512

 

*All email communication must be conducted from your official UWG email account. Students are obligated to check their UWG email accounts on a regular basis and to ensure that their mailboxes do not become full.

 

 

This is a Discipline Specific Writing (DSW) course, fulfilling one of two DSW requirements for the College of Arts and Humanities. All DSW courses require that students write a minimum of 4,000 words across multiple assignments, not including revisions. There will be multiple written assignments that will be evaluated for subject matter, grammar, punctuation, spelling, thoroughness, and organization, among other things.

 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION. This course serves as a “capstone” to the study of philosophy at UWG. It is required for all philosophy majors. This year, our topic is different conceptions of human identity and their implications for selected issues within bioethics.

 

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES. Students in this course will: read and discuss David DeGrazia’s Human Identity and Bioethics (2005); develop, research, and execute a rigorous philosophical argument relating to one or more issues dealt with in that book; and develop the skills of leading class discussion and presenting an academic paper. By the end of the semester students will be able to:

·         clearly frame a philosophical question or issue for investigation;

·         conduct research into primary and secondary sources relevant to the issue of human identity and its implications for bioethics;

·         state and critically analyze philosophical arguments; and

·         present a philosophical argument in both written and oral form.

These course-specific learning outcomes contribute to the departmental learning outcomes of the Philosophy Program by enabling students better to

·         incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications; 

·         critically outline and analyze philosophical issues; and

·         exhibit critical thinking skills. 

 

 

REQUIRED READING

·         David DeGrazia, Human Identity and Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

·         Additional readings may be placed on course reserve throughout the semester, at http://westga.docutek.com/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=1267

 

TIME REQUIREMENTS: UWG grants one semester hour of credit for work equivalent to a minimum of (approximately) one hour (50 minutes) of in-class or other direct faculty instruction AND two hours of student work outside of class per week for approximately fifteen weeks. For this three credit-hour course, students are required to spend (approximately) three hours (160 minutes) in class each week and to conduct at least an additional 6 hours of work relevant to this course outside of class each week. You should expect to spend more hours than this outside of class during periods when you are preparing for an in-class presentation or working on drafts of your seminar paper.

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METHODS OF ASSESSING LEARNING IN THIS COURSE

 

Seminar Paper, Associated Materials, & Presentation

70%

Synopsis & Leading Class Discussion

15%

Class discussion & participation (including peer editing)

15%

Intellectual Autobiography and Resume

not graded, but required for passing grade in this course

 

Seminar Paper, Associated Materials, & Presentation. Your seminar paper must be an original philosophical work dealing with the human identity and/or issues within bioethics. It should represent active engagement with recent work in the metaphysics of human identity and/or bioethics. The final draft of your paper should be a high-quality essay suitable for inclusion in your senior portfolio (see "Intellectual Autobiography and Resume," below) and for submission to undergraduate philosophy conferences and philosophy graduate programs. More details.

 

Prospectus & Annotated Bibliography

10%

October 1

First draft (minimum length: 1500 words; to be peer-reviewed during class on October 22; not graded by me, but you will be penalized 5% off of your final course grade if you do not come to class with a printed copy of a substantial term paper draft on that day).

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October 22

Second draft (minimum length: 3000 words)

10%

November 5

Oral presentation

20%

various dates

Final draft (minimum length: 3000 words)

30%

December 12

SEMINAR PAPER TOTAL

70%

 

 

Some seminar papers will be included in this year’s Senior Seminar Anthology. (You have paid a special course fee of $20 to cover the cost of this anthology.) For this reason, you must submit your final seminar paper to me both in hard copy and as a Microsoft Word file via email. In order for your paper to be included in this collection, you must successfully complete all steps in this process and meet minimum criteria for the paper. Not every paper is guaranteed to be published in the anthology—only those of sufficient quality will be included.

 

The work of this paper takes up the majority of the class after midterm. So you must choose a project early and you must complete a draft early. You must also show extreme discipline and maturity about scheduling and work.

 

Because the seminar paper may be published in a collection and preserved by Philosophy Program, your writing is a very public activity. The class is now your peer group of editors; we begin with a healthy respect for each other’s work, but part of your job is to criticize—in helpful ways—your peers’ projects and in the same way be willing to use others’ criticism of your own work.

 

 

Synopsis & Leading Class Discussion. Each student will be required to lead discussion of a reading assignment once during the course of the semester. The student who is leading a given day’s class will begin by presenting a synopsis of that reading to the class. The presentation should last about 15 to 20 minutes; the synopsis should be between 1500-2000 words. More details.

 

 

Class Discussion & Participation. All students are expected to be fully prepared at the beginning of each class (this includes having read the assigned material for that day) and to make significant contributions to class discussions on a DAILY basis. In addition, there will be one class meeting during which students will engage in reviewing and helpfully criticizing each other’s work. This will require that you write answers to questions I will provide about the work that is being turned in on that day by one of your peers. Your grade for participation will be based in part on these written comments.

 

 

Intellectual Autobiography and Resume. For purposes of Philosophy Program Assessment, the Philosophy Program completes a Senior Portfolio for each philosophy major during his or her senior year; after the student graduates, the Portfolio is kept on file in the office of the Program Director. This Portfolio consists of: (a) a printed copy of the final version of the student’s senior seminar paper, (b) a completed advising sheet (kept on file by your advisor until you graduate), (c) an intellectual autobiography, and (e) a resume. You will write your intellectual autobiography and resume as part of this course.

·         The intellectual autobiography should be at least 1000 words long and should address your growth as a scholar. The intellectual autobiography might include: your reasons for majoring in philosophy; a discussion of a favorite philosopher; your first memory of scholarly interest; the impact of a mentor; and/or one or more topics of past, present, or future research interest. A printed copy is due at the beginning of class on September 3. Please remember to include a word count at the end of the paper.

·         A printed copy of your resume is due at the beginning of class on September 10. UWG’s Office of Career Services provides online resources that you may find helpful in composing your resume, including guidelines and sample resumes. See http://careerweb.westga.edu/index_6094.php .

 

 

GRADING SCALE

 

100 – 90.1%  A              90.0 – 80.1%  B             80.0 – 70.1%  C             70.0 – 60.1%  D             60.0 - 0%   F

 

 

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MISSED DUE DATES / MISSED CLASS / WORK FROM OTHER COURSES / EXTRA CREDIT

·         Papers (including drafts) and other materials will not be accepted late. Due dates are non-negotiable.

·         Missed class presentations cannot be made up. If you are absent on the day that you are scheduled to present your synopsis or your seminar paper, you will receive a grade of 0% for that presentation.

·         Work completed for other courses will not be accepted in this course.

·         Extra-credit work will not be given under any circumstances.

 

 

ATTENDANCE, LATE ARRIVAL, EARLY DEPARTURE

·         You may miss two class meetings with no effect on your grade (accept for days on which Seminar Paper Presentations are scheduled; see next bullet point). Beginning with your third absence, you will lose 3% from your final average for every class meeting you miss. I will make exceptions for absences necessitated by UWG-sponsored events or by other circumstances that were absolutely outside your control. I will make these exceptions only if ALL of your absences can be accounted for in one of these ways (e.g., if you miss three classes and you have documented, acceptable reasons for only two of those three absences, your third absence will still count against you, even if it would otherwise be excused). Documentation will be required in all cases in which I make an exception to this absence policy.

·         Each absence on the day of a Seminar Paper Presentation will result in the loss of 5% from your final course average, whether or not you have missed any previous classes. I will waive this rule only if you have received my explicit advanced permission to be absent, and I will give that permission only in extraordinary circumstances. See course schedule (below) for specific dates.

·         Students who miss 6 or more class meetings will receive a grade of “F.” In this case the reason for your absences is irrelevant, even if many of your absences are necessitated by participation in UWG-sponsored events. If participating in UWG-sponsored events will require that you miss more than two weeks’ worth of class meetings, you should drop this class immediately, before the end of the drop-add session. If you are unable to attend class for three weeks due to medical reasons, a family emergency, or any other reason, you should withdraw from class; if the withdrawal date has passed, you should apply for a hardship withdrawal from all of your classes.

·         An early departure or late arrival may be counted as an absence, depending on the circumstances. I will decide in each case whether an early departure or a late arrival counts as an absence. If you know before class that you will not be able to stay for the entire class session, please inform me of this before class and sit as close to the door as possible, so as to cause as small a distraction as possible when you leave.

·         From the UWG Undergraduate Catalog:  “Class attendance policies are determined by each instructor for his or her own classes, subject to the following principles: class attendance policies shall be stated clearly during the drop-add period; each student is responsible for everything which happens in class and is responsible for making specific arrangements with the instructor for the work missed, including that missed during illness or university-sponsored activities; students absent from class while officially representing the University should not be penalized in the calculation of final grades; students may be dropped from the class by the instructor for violation of the instructor's attendance policy with a grade of W up to the midpoint of the semester or with the grade of WF following the midpoint of the semester; any student who is unable to continue attendance in class should either drop the course, withdraw from the University, or make appropriate arrangements with the instructor; any student who must be absent for more than three successive days is required to notify the Student Development Center, Parker Hall, telephone 678-839-6428. It is also recommended that the student notify the instructor or department. Faculty members have the authority to drop students who do not contact them or attend the first two class meetings for classes which meet daily (or the first class meeting for classes which meet less frequently). Faculty do not, however, automatically drop students who miss these first classes. Students who do not intend to remain in a course must drop the course before the end of the official drop/add period. Failure to drop a course during the drop/add period may result in grades of F in courses not attended.”

 

 

COMMON COURTESY (ELECTRONICS, ETC.)

·         You may not use cell phones, including smart phones, while class is in session, for any reason (talking, texting, Tweeting, etc.).

·         Cell phones must be turned off and put away at the beginning of each class.

·         You may use a laptop computer to take notes during class, but I reserve the right to change this policy if your laptop use becomes distracting to me or to other students, or if you abuse this privilege by looking at material during class that has nothing to do with class.

·         Do not leave the room during class unless it is absolutely essential that you do so. Leaving the classroom while class is in session (e.g., to visit the restroom) is both disrespectful and distracting. So when you come to class, be prepared to remain in the classroom for the full duration of the class period.

·         Do not study material from other classes while this class is in session. While you are in this class, I expect your attention to be focused on it rather than on your other courses.

·         Students may be dismissed from any class meeting at which they exhibit behavior that disrupts the learning environment of others. Such behavior includes – but is not limited to – arriving late for class, allowing cell phones to ring, speaking disrespectfully to the instructor and/or to other students, and using personal audio or visual devices. Each dismissal of this kind will count as an absence and will be applied toward the attendance policy described above.

 

 

CONVERSION TO HONORS CREDIT

·         Any student wishing to receive honors credit for this course must get the approval of the professor and complete all the necessary paperwork by September 3. That is the deadline set by the Honors College. No honors forms will be signed after this point.

 

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Please carefully review the following information at this link: http://tinyurl.com/UWGSyllabusPolicies. It contains important material pertaining to your rights and responsibilities in this class. Because these statements are updated as federal, state, and accreditation standards change, you should review the information each semester. Topic covered include:

The Americans with Disabilities Act

UWG’s Email Policy

UWG’s Credit Hour Policy

UWG’s Honor Code

 


 

COURSE SCHEDULE

 

THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE IS TENTATIVE AND MAY CHANGE AS THE SEMESTER PROGRESSES. If the class finds a specific reading or topic especially interesting or difficult, then we may spend more than the allotted time on that topic. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to keep up with test dates, due dates, and reading assignments. You are responsible for reading the indicated material before coming to class on the corresponding day and for participating in class discussion of that material.

 

“HIB” = David DeGrazia, Human Identity and Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005.

 

Aug.

Topic

reading due

assignments due

27 T

Introduction to course topic & to research methods;

assignment of dates for student-led class discussions and seminar paper presentations; discussion of intellectual autobiography assignment

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begin thinking about seminar paper topic

29 R

The Psychological View: Locke and Parfit

HIB pp.1-22

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“ * ” indicates a student-led discussion

 

Sep.

Topic

reading due

papers due/tests

3 T

The Intuitive Case Method; Essentialism; the Constitution View; discussion of resume assignment

HIB pp.23-46

intellectual biography due

5 R

*The Biological Approach

HIB pp.46-65

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10 T

*Alternative Approaches: Johnston and McMahan

HIB pp.65-76

resume due

12 R

*Narrative Identity

HIB pp.77-89

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17 T

*Self-Creation

HIB pp.89-114

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19 R

*Death: Appeals to Essence

HIB pp.115-130

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24 T

*Death: Appeals to Identity

HIB pp.131-141

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26 R

*Death: the Organismic Conception; Policy Options

HIB pp.142-158

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Oct.

Topic

reading due

papers due/tests

1 T

*Advance Directives: the Nonidentity Thesis & the Someone Else Problem

HIB pp.159-173

prospectus & annotated bibliography due

3 R

*Advance Directives: Narrative Identity; Precedent Autonomy

HIB pp.173-189

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8 T

*Advance Directives: Time-Relative Interests

HIB pp.189-202

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10 R

*Enhancement Technologies

HIB pp.203-228

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15 T

*Enhancement Technologies: Identity, Core Characteristics

HIB pp.229-243

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17 R

*Prenatal Identity: Our Origins

HIB pp.244-54

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22 T

--

--

first draft due [peer editing]

24 R

*Prenatal Identity: Genetic Interventions

HIB pp.254-268

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29 T

*Prenatal Identity: The Non-Identity Problem

HIB pp.268-279

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31 R

*Prenatal Identity: Abortion

HIB pp.279-294

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Nov.

Topic

reading due

papers due

5 T

Seminar Paper Presentations

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second draft due

7 R

Seminar Paper Presentations

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12 T

Seminar Paper Presentations

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14 R

Seminar Paper Presentations

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19 T

Seminar Paper Presentations

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21 R

Seminar Paper Presentations

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26 T

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY: NO CLASSES

--

--

28 R

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY: NO CLASSES

 

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Dec.

Topic

reading due

papers due

3 T

Seminar Paper Presentations

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5 R

Seminar Paper Presentations.

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Final draft of seminar paper due (hard copy AND electronic).

12 R

Selection of anthology title. Completion of the Philosophy Program’s Exit Survey.

 

 

IMPORTANT DATES:    August 22-Sept 2            Open Drop/Add period

October 1                     Last day to apply for spring 2014 graduation

October 18                   Last Day to withdraw with grade of "W"