PHIL2317: History of Philosophy II

Matthew M. Daude, Ph.D.

Synonym: 13494
MW, 12:00-1:15 PM
RGC 017

Spring, 2004

Contact Information

Office Rio Grande Campus
Peach Street Office Building, Room 2-I
ACC email
Instructional email
Instructional Web

Instructional Office Hours

Monday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I
Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00 AM online (Windows Messenger or Blackboard)
Wednesday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I

Other times by appointment

Course Description

Students will be introduced to the history of early modern Western Philosophy focusing on the attempt to understand the source, nature, and limits of human knowledge as pursued by the rationalists, the empiricists, and Kant.

History of Philosophy is intended for philosophy majors. Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL1301) is required for registration in History of Philosophy II. A passing score or the equivalent on the reading and writing portions of the TASP is required.

Required Texts/Materials

Cahn. Classics of Western Philosophy (ISBN0-87220-637-8)

The text is available in the ACC bookstore. Handouts and additional readings will be posted to my instructional web.

Instructional Methodology

The class will consist predominantly of discussion of the readings, led both by me and by class members. I will use a variety of media in my presentations, including web material, etc. There may also be group work and group presentations to the class.

The major forms of individual assessment will be exams and writing assignments (essays, etc.). The exams will be online. I may also use online forms to gather information about your progress in the coursework. Course assignments should be submitted by email wherever possible.

Course Rationale

Philosophy is one of the principal forces that have shaped Western civilization and history, so a deeper understanding of the methods, subjectmatter, and history of philosophy affords a deeper understanding of ourselves and an informed grasp of the present. In addition, critical thinking skills are so central to the methods of philosophy that the study of philosophy provides an excellent opportunity to learn and practice those skills in a focused way.

Course Objectives

Departmental Course Objectives

  1. Students will demonstrate improved critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.
  2. Students will be able to reason philosophically about issues of both personal and universal significance.
  3. Students will be able to identify major divisions and concepts in the history of philosophy.

Coursework and Grading Policy

Your grade for this course will be based on quizzes and written work demonstrating pursuit of the objectives of the course. (See the Coursework Guide for a more detailed explanation of the written work.)  The online quizzes and essay/presentation form the basic component and are required of all students. You may complete additional components for a higher grade, as indicated in the following table:

To earn a C
  1. Complete the online quizzes
  2. Complete the essay/in-class presentation
  3. The average of your grades must be at least a C
To earn a B
  1. Complete the online quizzes
  2. Complete the essay/in-class presentation
  3. Complete the Analytical Essay
  4. The average of your grades must be at least a B
To earn an A
  1. Complete the online quizzes
  2. Complete the essay/in-class presentation
  3. Complete the Analytical Essay
  4. Complete a Research Essay
  5. The average of your grades must be an A.

In any case, the average of your grades will determine the course grade. (For example, if you completed the quizzes, the Analytical Essay, and the Research Essay, but your average is a B, your course grade will still be a B. Quality should be of greater concern than quantity!) The grading criteria chart gives a detailed exposition of how I evaluate essay assignments. Additional guidelines for assignments and for due dates may be found on my instructional website.

The calculation of your grade depends on the grade you pursue. Here is the relative weight of each component for each plan:

  C plan B plan A plan
Quizzes 75 60 50
Essay/In-Class Presentation 25 20 16.67
Analytical Essay   20 16.67
Research Essay     16.67

Due dates for written work and exam dates will be posted online on the calendar page for our course. Please note that I will not accept work after the stated due date, except by prior agreement. All written work done outside of class must be submitted by email. Please see my Course Policies for further information.

I expect everyone to participate in class discussion. Class participation should be informed. By this I mean that everyone should come to class having read and thought about the assignment.


Review my Course Policies online. There are links to the Course Policies on the main page of my instructional web and on the main page for this course. The Course Policies page is part of this syllabus.

Course Outline

This is a very brief overview of the course content:

  1. Introduction: Why study the history of philosophy?
  2. Descartes and the rationalists
  3. Reactions against rationalism: The Empiricists
  4. Hume
  5. Kant
  6. Philosophy after Kant
  7. Conclusions

You will find a complete course calendar in the online classroom.

First Assignment

Your First Assignment for this course is to complete a web-based form. Have the following information information ready:

  • the course in which you are registered and the five-digit synonym number
  • your full name as reflected in ACC records
  • a telephone number at which you can be reached
  • your primary email address

This information is required, but there is also a voluntary (fairly brief) survey in the First Assignment form. I encourage you to complete the survey, as it provides information that may help me support your work in this course.

When I receive your First Assignment, I will verify your enrollment. If you are officially enrolled in the course, I will send you a password to the online "classroom." If there is a problem with your enrollment, I will notify you. If you do not hear from me within 48 hours (not including weekends!) of submitting your First Assignment, contact me.

Please note! Submitting a First Assignment is your certification that

  1. you accept the policies and procedures set forth in the Syllabus and the Course Policies, and
  2. you agree to communicate by email with me regarding matters related to this course. This means that certain confidential information, including your grades, will be transmitted by email.

Read this information carefully, and if you have questions or concerns about the policies and procedures for this class, please let me know before you complete this First Assignment.

The First Assignment is due in the first week of class. Click here if you are ready to submit your First Assignment now, or you may submit the First Assignment from the main page for this course.

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This page was last updated 08/23/2009 08:16:54 PM by mdaude.