I. PHI 498, 499 Senior Seminar in Philosophy
Program: Philosophy School: Arts and Humanities
II. Instructor: Instructor Name: Gary L. Angel
Office: Britt 211
Phone Number: 4343
Office Hours: MWF 2:45-5:15
III. Class Meeting Time: TBA
IV. Textbooks and Materials: None
V. Catalog Course Description:
This course is the final examination for philosophy majors. Its purpose is to draw the philosophy program together, showing each portion to be a part of a coherent whole, and to have the students demonstrate an essential understanding of the program, the discipline, and the students’ place within the discipline. The fulfillment of this twofold purpose will require that students pass a comprehensive examination, and write a publishable senior essay which they will defend in a professional type of setting.
This course is designated Writing Intensive; a grade of C or higher in this course is required for this course to count toward the six credit-hour Writing Intensive graduation requirement for Ferrum College. A student cannot earn a grade of C or higher in this course unless he or she earns a C or higher on the writing assignments required by the course.
Prerequisite for 498: Philosophy major and Senior Status
Prerequisite for 499: Passing grade in 498
Two hours, two credits each.
This course is both a capstone course and a program assessment mechanism. No student should graduate from
with a degree in philosophy without the essential knowledge presented throughout the curriculum, including the knowledge of how to write philosophically at a professional level. As this course is the final instructional element in the students’ advancement toward this knowledge, the achievement of which it is also assessing, no student will be allowed to graduate who has not passed it. This course may be repeated as many times as is necessary for a student to pass it. Ferrum College
VII. Instructional Methodology and Use of Technology
Students will be directed by their professors in their preparations for three oral comprehensive examinations and the writing of a senior essay that will be presented and defended in a public setting. Each of the three exams may be taken up to three times during the course. The exams will cover no new material. Only material encountered in some other portion of the philosophy program may be on the exams.
VIII. College-wide Outcomes
Students will demonstrate an integrated knowledge in the liberal arts
Students will think critically and solve problems through analysis, evaluation, and inference.
Students will communicate with unity of purpose and coherent organization consistent with standard rules and recognized conventions using appropriate methodologies
Students will demonstrate a depth of knowledge, capability and ethical reasoning in a chosen field.
All outcomes are assessed by means of comprehensive exams and the senior essay.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of the philosophical standpoints of the major thinkers in the history of philosophy including the following: Socrates, Plato, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzshe.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic understanding of the essential positions, movements, and schools of thought in the history of philosophy including the following: realism, idealism, materialism, dualism, rationalism, empiricism, Marxism, analytical philosophy, phenomenology, and existential philosophy.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of the fundamental problems of metaphysics, and their potential solutions, including the following: the ultimate nature of reality, the existence of God, the problem of universals, the nature of human existence, the mind/body problem, the freedom of the will, and death and immortality.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic understanding of the fundamental problems of epistemology, and their potential solutions, including the following: skepticism, the nature of knowledge, the nature of truth, the problem of induction, and the nature of science.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of the fundamental problems of value theory, and their potential solutions, including the following: the nature of moral judgments, the role of ethical theories, rights and obligations, the value of sovereign authority, and reasoning with respect to contemporary moral problems such as abortion, euthanasia, suicide, capital punishment, animal right, and sexual relations.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of logic including the following: the nature of argument, deduction and induction, validity and soundness, categorical logic, propositional logic, informal fallacies, tautology, contingency, and contradiction.
· Philosophy graduates will be critical thinkers who are able to formulate arguments and properly evaluate the arguments of others.
· Philosophy graduates will have a basic knowledge of the Socratic Method and the role of dialectics in philosophical inquiry.
IX. Course Requirements/Assignments:
i. Students who miss class should have their heads examined. However, responsibility for class attendance belongs exclusively to students; hence, class attendance will not be required. Yet, students should be advised that a choice to miss class is tantamount to a choice to fail the class.
ii. Examinations and quizzes are not optional. Students must take them when they are scheduled unless the professor is contacted in advance, by e-mail, alerting him to the reason for missing the assignment. Students should understand that only good reasons will be accepted, and that most reasons students offer for missing are not good ones. Make-up assignments will be given only if these conditions are met. If students miss pop-quizzes, there will be no make-ups.
iii. Illness is always a good reason for missing class, as well as tests. Moreover, in a time of a potential pandemic, students with potentially contagious illnesses must not attend class. If students come to class sneezing, coughing, snotting, or showing any signs of fever, they will have to leave.
i. Students must pass an oral exam on the history of philosophy aimed at the material identified in the first two program outcomes
ii. Students must pass an oral exam on the problems of philosophy aimed at the material identified in program outcomes three, four, and five.
iii. Students must pass an oral exam on logic and other methodologies aimed at the material identified in program outcomes six, seven, and eight.
iv. Students must write a senior essay that will be presented and defended in a public setting. This essay must defend a clearly stated thesis via original argumentation based on research in primary sources.
c. Assignments and Time Table Specific to PHI 498:
i. Students must publish the senior essays from the previous year in the department’s online journal before attempting any of the comprehensive examinations.
ii. Students must pass their comprehensive examination in logic. Three attempts are allowed with a minimum of a one week interval between each attempt. Although it may be done earlier, students must make their first attempt at passing this examination during the fourth week of the semester, and it must be passed by the end of the eighth week. Students must contact the philosophy faculty at least one week in advance of any attempt to arrange a date and time period during which the attempt will be made.
iii. A thesis statement for the senior essay must be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than end of the fifth week of the semester.
iv. The first draft of the prospectus for the senior essay, inclusive of the main argument and a description of the essential research, is to be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the beginning of the mid-term break. This draft should be no longer than one page.
v. The final version of the prospectus for the senior essay will be presented to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the eighth week of the semester.
vi. A complete general outline of the senior essay will be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the end of the ninth week of the semester.
vii. The first installment of the senior essay, inclusive of the introduction, will be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the twelfth week of the semester. This installment should be at least five pages long, but a larger installment is encouraged.
d. Assignments and Time table specific to PHI 499:
I. A second installment of the senior essay, including responses to the comments of the philosophy faculty on the first installment, will be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the second week of the semester. With this draft, the essay should be approximately half complete, the additional portion, of course, in rough form.
II. A third installment of the senior essay, including responses to the comments of the philosophy faculty on the second installment, will be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the fifth week of the semester. With this draft, the essay should be approximately three quarters complete, the additional portion, of course, in rough form.
III. Students must pass their other two comprehensive examinations. The order is at the discretion of each student. Three attempts at each examination are allowed with a minimum of a one week interval between each attempt. Although it may be done earlier, students must make their first attempt at passing their second comprehensive examination during the fourth week of the semester and it must be passed by the end of the eighth week.
IV. Although it may be done earlier, students must make their first attempt at passing their third comprehensive examination during the eighth week of the semester and it must be passed by the end of the twelfth week.
V. A fourth installment of the senior essay, including responses to the comments of the philosophy faculty on the third installment, will be submitted to the philosophy faculty no later than the end of the tenth week of the semester. With this draft, the essay should be complete, the additional portion, of course, in rough form.
VI. The final version of the senior essay, i.e., the version that is to be presented, must be presented to the philosophy faculty at least two days in advance of the presentation.
i. Entering the room late is disruptive and rude. Do not be late to class. If students are late, they might not be allowed to enter class.
ii. Cell phones are also disruptive and will be seen as mechanisms for cheating. Active texting or receiving text messages in class is prohibited. Cell phones must be turned off and all headsets must be removed. If students do not comply, they will have to leave class.
iii. Proper classroom attire is essential to a learning environment. Do not wear underwear as outerwear, and do not wear pajamas to class. If students do not comply, they will have to leave class.
iv. It is horribly rude to leave the room during class. Students may not leave to go to the rest room, to drink, or to engage in any other non-emergent activity. If students become aware of emergencies, they may leave without asking permission.
X. Evaluation and Grading Scale: Distinguished A=90
F= Below 70
XI. Academic Integrity:
In all instances, policies identified in the Ferrum College Catalog and the Ferrum College Student and Faculty Handbooks regarding the Honor System shall be followed. Students are expected to display academic integrity at all times and in all circumstances.
Statement on Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another writer including quoting without using quotation marks, paraphrasing without citation, using another’s ideas without giving credit. Plagiarism is one of the gravest offenses that can be committed in an academic institution, and the philosophy faculty will seek the severest penalties available for those committing this offense.
I. Disability Services:
Office of Academic Accessibility (OAA):
As directed by
’s policy, any student with a disability who qualifies for and seeks academic accommodations (such as testing or other services) must work through the Office for Academic Accessibility for accommodations. The office is located Ferrum College Lower StanleyLibrary, Office 110 and the director may be reached by phone at 365-4262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please remember that accommodations cannot be granted retroactively; they must be requested in a timely manner prior to when the accommodation is needed. Students who wish to use accommodations through OAA are encouraged to meet with the director during the first weeks of the semester to discuss the process, and are also invited to read the policy manual on www.ferrum.edu/disability for specific information.