Intellectual Heritage B (Spring 2008) - Syllabus

Description

The goal of this course is to introduce students to influential works of poetry, drama, philosophy, and literature that have had a profound impact on modern civilization. Our focus will be both philosophical and historical. Students will gain familiarly with key texts that challenge them to evaluate some of their most fundamental beliefs. In the first section on the Enlightenment, we will explore the philosophical basis for modern liberal democracy by looking at the political philosophy of John Locke. After looking at Enlightenment celebrations of the power of human reason, in the second section we will study key works in the romantic reaction, from figures such as Blake, Wordsworth, Dickinson, and Whitman. In the fourth and largest section of the course, we will examine several revolutionary works from the intellectual giants of the late 19th and early 20th century: Darwin, Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. In the last section of the course we will look at two novels: Conrad's brilliant but troubled critique of colonialism, Heart of Darkness; and Camus' The Stranger, which will serve as our introduction to existentialism.

Texts

There are five required texts for this course:

    1. Temple University Intellectual Heritage 52, 4th edition. [IH52]
    2. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto
    3. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
    4. Conrad, Heart of Darkness
    5. Camus, The Stranger

Coursework

There will be three forms of coursework: (best 20 out of 25) daily quizzes, two papers, and two examinations. I will give a short quiz at the beginning of each class that will require one or two sentence answers. There will be two papers of 3-4 pages on assigned topics. There will also be a mid-term and a final examination.

Quizzes (10%) + Paper 1 (20%) + Paper 2 (25%) + midterm (20%) + final (25%).

Attendance Policy

If you miss 6 or more classes, you will receive a 0 for your quiz grade. If you miss 12 or more classes, you will receive an F for the course.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism--claiming someone else’s ideas or written work as your own--will not be tolerated. Anyone caught cheating will be given a failing grade in the course.

Schedule

Section I (The Enlightenment)

    • Week 1 The Enlightenment and Natural Law
    • t (1/22): Introduction; The Liberal Arts
      • r (1/24): Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” [IH]; John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, selections [IH, ch.1-4]
    • Week 2 Private Property and Social Contract Theory
    • t (1/29): John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, selections [IH, ch.5,7-9]
      • r (1/31): John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, selections [IH, ch.10-12]
    • Week 3 Revolution and Democracy
    • t (2/05): John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, selections [IH, ch.18-19]; Continental Congress (Thomas Jefferson), The Declaration of Independence [IH]
      • r (2/07): James Madison, Federalist Papers, 10 and 51 [IH]; Constitution of the United States of America: Articles I, IV (1788); Amendments 1-10 (1791), 13 (1865), 14 (1868), 15 (1870), 19 (1920) [IH]
    • Week 4 Civil Rights
    • t (2/12): Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women, selections [IH]
      • Paper I Due
      • r (2/14): Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” [IH]

Section II (Romanticism)

    • Week 5 The Problem of Evil
    • t (2/19): William Blake, all poems in the reader [IH, pp. 147-153], Images on Blackboard
      • r (2/21): William Wordsworth, all poems in the reader [IH, pp. 153-167]
    • Week 6 Self and Society
    • t (2/26): Emily Dickinson, all poems in the reader [IH, pp. 181-189]
      • r (2/28): Walt Whitman, all poems in the reader [IH, pp. 191-206]

Section III (Revolutionary Thinkers)

  • Week 7 Evolution
    • t (3/11) Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, selections [IH, pp.211-230]
      • r (3/13) Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, selections [IH, pp.230-260]
    • Week 7
      • t (3/11) Spring Break
      • r (3/13) Spring Break
    • Week 8 Marxism
    • t (3/18): Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto [secs. I and II]
      • r (3/20): Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto [secs. III and IV]
    • Week 9 The Unconscious
    • t (3/25): Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents [ch.1-4]
      • r (3/27): Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents [ch.5-8]
      • Midterm Due
    • Week 10 Slave Morality
    • t (4/01): Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals [IH, pp.277-282]
      • r (4/03): Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals [IH, pp.282-292]
    • Week 11 Liberation
    • t (4/08): Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, introduction [IH]
      • r (4/10): Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”[IH]

Section IV (Imagining the World)

    • Week 12 Colonialism
    • t (4/15): Conrad, Heart of Darkness [Part I]
      • r (4/17): Conrad, Heart of Darkness [Part II and III]
    • Week 13 Existentialism
      • t (4/22): Camus, The Stranger [Part I]
      • r (4/24): Camus, The Stranger [Part II]

Paper II due

    • Week 14 Love and the Meaning of Life
      • t (4/29): Richard Taylor, "The Meaning of Life" (tbd)
      • r (5/01): Chris Marker, "La Jetee"
    • Week 15
      • t (5/06): (NO CLASS: Last day of classes M 5/05)

End of Classes

    • Week 16 5/08-5/14 (Final exam week)