Professor: Neil Mehta



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Philosophy and Political Thought

Neil Mehta’s Seminar Syllabus

(last updated 20 February, 2014)
Professor: Neil Mehta

Seminars: Mon 2:15-3:45 PM, Thu 2:30-4 PM, Seminar Room 6

E-mail: neil.jag.mehta@gmail.com

Course website: NeilMehtaPPT.wordpress.com

Office: RC4, 07-12B

Office Hours: Tue 1:30-3:30 PM or by appointment.


The adventure continues! We had an excellent beginning last semester, and this semester we will work together to develop skills such as the following:


  • Advanced interpretation

  • High-level writing

  • High-level speaking

  • Understanding and analyzing sophisticated arguments

  • Developing and expressing original, ambitious arguments

I would now like to give you a moment to reflect on your goals for this semester.


Assignments:


  • Discussion seeds: 20%

  • Participation: 5%

  • First paper: 15%

  • Second paper: 20%

  • Third paper: 25%

  • Symposium: 15%

Here is what these assignments entail; I have italicized changes from last semester.




  • Discussion seeds: Before each seminar, go to NeilMehtaPPT.wordpress.com. Post two original questions about the reading and answer one question posted by someone else. I will use some of your questions to generate discussions in class, so you should aim to post questions well-suited for this purpose. You should feel free to answer a question that someone else has already answered. Also, if you are the first person to post questions, then you may answer one of your own questions.

  • Participation: The only way to learn how to engage with philosophy and political thought is by practicing. Accordingly, I greatly value your in-class contributions. I care much more about the quality than the quantity of your contributions, and I also care that you listen to one another respectfully and with an open mind. I encourage you to think of this classroom as a community, and to think of your participation as shaping this community.

  • Papers: There will be three paper assignments of increasing length.

    • First paper: 2 pages, due on Sunday, 16 February at 6 PM. All students must discuss a draft of this paper with me during office hours. This draft will account for 50% of the first paper grade.

    • Second paper: 3 pages, due on Sunday, 23 March at 6 PM.

    • Third paper: 4 pages, due on Sunday, 20 April at 6 PM.

  • Symposium: This will be a creative group presentation at the end of the semester.

Below is the schedule of readings and assignments. Before each seminar, I will tell you what to skim and what to read closely.


Week of Monday, 13 January:

Section: Dōgen Zenji, Genjō Kōan

Lecture: Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yaqzān, pp. 95-166

Section: Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yaqzān

Week of Monday, 20 January:

Section: Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yaqzān

Lecture: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 1-3

Section: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 1-3


Week of Monday, 27 January:

Section: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 1-3

Lecture: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 4-6

Section: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 4-6


Week of Monday, 3 February:

Section: René Descartes, Meditations in First Philosophy, Meditations 4-6

Lecture: David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding , sections 1-7

Section: David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding , sections 1-7


Week of Monday, 10 February:

Section: David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding , sections 1-7

Lecture: John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Chs. 1-5; Ch. 7; Ch. 8,

sections 95-106, 119-122; Ch. 9-12, 14; Ch. 19, sections 211-230, 241-

242

Section: John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, ibid


Sunday, 16 February, 6 PM: first paper due

Week of Monday, 17 February:

Section: John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, ibid

Lecture: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, pp. 1-70

Section: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, pp. 1-70

Week of Monday, 3 March:

Section: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, pp. 1-70

Lecture: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chs. 1-3

Section: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chs. 1-3
Week of Monday, 10 March:

Section: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chs. 1-3

Lecture: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Chs. 4-5

Section: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Chs. 4-5


Week of Monday, 17 March:

Section: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Chs. 4-5

Lecture: Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Preface, Essay 1, Essay 3

Section: Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Preface, Essay 1, Essay 3


Sunday, 23 March, 6 PM: second paper due

Week of Monday, 24 March:

Section: Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Preface, Essay 1, Essay 3

Lecture: Liang Qichao, “On Rights Consciousness”; Chen Duxiu, “The

Constitution and Confucianism”; Mou Zongsan et al., “A Manifesto for a

Re-Appraisal of Sinology and the Reconstruction of Chinese Culture”

Section: ibid
Week of Monday, March 31:

Section: ibid

Lecture: Mohandas Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), pp. 35-130

Section: Mohandas Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), pp. 35-130


Week of Monday, 7 April:
Section: Mohandas Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), pp. 35-130

Lecture: Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, chs. 1-5

Section: Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, chs. 1-5
Week of Monday, 14 April:

Section: Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, chs. 1-5

Lecture: Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”

Section: Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”


Sunday, 20 April, 6 PM: third paper due

Week of Monday, 21 April:

Preparation for seminar symposium
Week of Monday, 28 April:

seminar symposium


List of required course books (available in the Co-op Bookstore, on reserve in the library, and elsewhere):

Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yaqzān, Translated by Lenn Evan Goodman, University of Chicago, 2009.

René Descartes, Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies, Edited by John Cottingham Ed, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, 1996.

David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Second Edition, Edited by Eric Steinberg, Hackett, 1993.

John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Edited by C.B. Macpherson, Hackett, 1980.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Translated by Donald A. Cress, Hackett Publishing, 1992.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and Other Essays, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, in On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, Translated by Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Press, 1989.

Mohandas K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009.

Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, Riverhead Trade, 2001.

Course readings on IVLE (in the workbin “Course-wide Readings on IVLE”):

Thomas Aquinas, Five Ways in Summa Theologica Part 1, Question 2, Article Three, Dominican Translation online.

20th Century Chinese Philosophy: Liang Qichao, “On Rights Consciousness” (1902) and Chen Duxiu, “The Constitution and Confucianism” (1916) in The Chinese Human Rights Reader, ed. and trans. Stephen Angle and Marina Svensson, M.E. Sharpe, 2001, pp. 5-15; 67-74 (18 pages); Mou Zongsan, “A Manifesto for a Re-Appraisal of Sinology and the Reconstruction of Chinese Culture” (1957) in The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought, Vol. 2., Carsun Chang Trans., Bookman, 1962, pp. 455-483 (29 pages).

Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” in Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3): 229-43. 1972.








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