Instructor: Tim O'Keefe
Office: 1105 34 Peachtree
Phone: (404) 413-6108 e-mail: tokeefe AT gsu DOT edu
Office Hours: 10:30-11:30 and 4:30-5:00 MW, and by appointment
This course will focus on some of the ethical theories of the Ancient Greeks and Romans: Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Stoics, and Pyrrhonian skeptics. We will examine how these thinkers address the following sorts of questions: what is happiness (eudaimonia), and how does one achieve it? How does happiness relate to human nature? What is the place of other people and of friendship in a happy life? What is the relationship between happiness and virtue? What attitude should we take toward death?
This class will be seminar format, and class discussion of the readings will play a major role. In each class we'll have some members of the class contribute a short reading response paper. I will rotate the schedule of reading response papers, so that every class two students (typically) will submit a paper. These papers will usually involve setting out and evaluating one of the arguments in the reading for that class day. You will post this paper to the class bulletin board. Everybody will be responsible for reading the reading response papers before the class meeting and posting a reply to one of the papers, or even a reply to one of the replies.
You can post several types of replies:
Typically, I will explain the material in the first part of the class, and the latter part of the class will be devoted to discussing the material, using the reading response papers and replies as a way to start the discussion. But this division is not meant to be hard and fast: discussions and evaluation will often break out during the first part of the class, and during the course of discussing the material in the second part, sometimes I may go back to clarify some points in the material.
The bulletin board also has a forum for posting questions about the material. If anything in the reading is unclear to you, or you have any other questions about the material, please post them in this forum. I will look over it before class.
The bulletin board, announcements, copies of this syllabus, regularly updated reading assignments, and a trove of other information is available from the course web site, http://www2.gsu.edu/~phltso/ancient-ethicsF09.html
|Reading response papers and participation||20%|
|First two paper (4-7 pages each)||30%|
|Final paper (15-20 pages)||50%|
Friday Sept. 18 First paper due
Friday Oct. 23: Second paper due
Friday Dec. 11: Final paper due
If you will be unable to turn in a paper when it's due, please let me know beforehand and let me know why you'll be unable to turn in the assignment on time. We can arrange for an extension (although your grade may be reduced). I'm usually much more understanding of people who come to me before an assignment is due and say they'll have difficulty completing it on time than I am of those who tell me afterwards that they were unable to do it. However, if you miss the deadline for an assignment, please contact me as soon as possible to arrange to make it up. Unless there is some compelling excuse (e.g., you had to be rushed to the hospital the night before a paper was due), there will be a penalty for tardiness, and there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to make up the assignment.
You're also responsible for attending class regularly. If you know beforehand that you'll be unable to attend a class, let me know so that we can arrange for you to receive notes, discuss the material, or do anything else necessary so that you do not fall behind. If you miss a class without notification, you will still be responsible for knowing course content discussed in the class that day, learning about any announcements made in class, etc. Please turn off your cellphone before attending class
Please also see the Philosophy department's general syllabus statement for more important information on matters such as withdrawal dates, academic honesty, etc.