Thursday, August 18, 2011

What are you teaching this Fall?

I'm stealing this great post idea from John Protevi over at New APPS.

What are you teaching this Fall? What are your course loads? Do you have a link to a course website or course material you'd like to share?

This Fall I'm teaching:

Exploration and Discovery. (LC's first year core program course) capped at 19. My section is titled "Wisdom and Folly." We read White Noise by Don Delillo, portions of the Hebrew Bible, Matthew from the New Testament, the trial and death of Socrates dialogues, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Freud's Civilization and its Discontents and the graphic novel Watchmen.

Early Modern Philosophy. This is a 300 level course capped at 35 (17 enrolled). It's so impossible to put two centuries of philosophy into a single semester. I have to leave out so much. Instead I focus on teaching students how to do the history of philosophy by focusing on fewer figures for longer stretches of time. My focus in this class is mainly on mind and metaphysics.


  1. Ethics in Contemporary Society...although it is really a poorly designed introduction to ethical theory. I usually have two sections each starting out with about 20 students.

  2. I teach at a medium-size state university. My courses for the fall are:

    Contemporary Moral Issues. Capped at 60; almost full. I'm running it as a mix of a critical thinking course and an applied ethics course—i.e., a course on thinking critically about ethical issues.

    Social/Political Philosophy. Capped at 40; about 30 enrolled. A 200-level course that surveys major views in political philosophy, with a special emphasis on applying those views to concrete, real world political issues.

    Ethical Theory Capped at 30; almost full. A 300-level course on ethical theory. A lot of normative theories and moral epistemology. I'm using Russ Shafer-Landau's Ethical Theory anthology, focusing mainly on contemporary work, but with a few days on major historical figures.

  3. Ethical Problems in Contemporary Life, 2 sections at 40 students per: About 6 weeks of ethical problems, starting with abortion and then doing the problems students choose via survey, followed by about four weeks of ethical theory.

    Senior Thesis I: The first course in a two-quarter thesis sequence for majors. The objective is to have a thesis proposal (working bibliography and 1500 word abstract) by the end of the quarter.

  4. I'm teaching two sections of a historical survey that also serves as the first philosophy class in a three-course sequence required of every student at a small Jesuit college. The first course covers Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics through 1650 (presumably to include Descartes but not Hobbes). The course description requires us to teach Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Descartes, and we have the freedom to do as much or little of them or anyone else we want, as long as those four appear at some point.

    I've generally taken two approaches. One approach is to move historically through the huge period, selecting representative readings appropriate for an introductory level to get a flavor of a few views on different issues from each philosopher or viewpoint that I'm covering. I usually give equal time to Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Augustine, and Aquinas, and I include a little bit less from the pre-Socratics, the Sophists, the Skeptics, and Descartes.

    The other approach is to select a few topics throughout the huge period and then to pick some readings by various figures on those topics but not to try to give any comprehensive flavor for each figure except as it emerges over the course. This works well in terms of having exams that cover a whole issue thoroughly, but it doesn't work well if I want the students to learn individual philosophers or viewpoints more fully. I usually prefer the first approach, but I sometimes do the second to vary things for my own sake.

  5. I'm in the UK, so what's meant by teaching a course might be slightly different, but here's what I have:

    One course on Mill's moral and political thought. Capped at 48, but expecting around 27. My job will be two lectures a week, plus I'll be taking the three weekly small group seminars (higher level course, so no TAs). This is a new prep.

    Also I'll be contributing a total of six lectures over the semester to team-taught intro courses. Those are the ones with 100-250 students, but lectures are divided between us and all the seminars are taken by TAs.

    Finally, I'll be co-teaching a Masters level seminar with one colleague. It's basically just a reading group, with me (on average) having to run it every other week - though I'll try to attend most weeks unless I have a clash (which I do for two of the above lectures).

    So my weekly average contact hours are around 6.5 (plus two office hours). I don't know how that compares.


If you wish to use your name and don't have a blogger profile, please mark Name/URL in the list below. You can of course opt for Anonymous, but please keep in mind that multiple anonymous comments on a post are difficult to follow. Thanks!