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TUESDAY 3-5:50

FALL 2013

Course Description
Well, here we are. We can be so different from each other, but we have this one world to share.
How do we do it? What are the rules? Whats the point? How do we live together? The authors
we read will provide various answers to how we share our existence with others.
Office Hours
Office: Coates 117
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 12-1:30
o And by appointment
TA: Alex Braud
Office: Coates 312
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50
o I would prefer you email Alex the night before attending his office hours.
Course Texts (Amazon prices may be out of date)
Albert Camus The Stranger
o Amazon Price: $12
Alan Moores and Dave Gibbons Watchmen
o Amazon Price: $14
G. A. Cohens Why not Socialism?
o Amazon Price: $12
Anthony Kwame Appiahs Ethics of Identity
o Amazon Price: $18
Peter Singers One World
o Amazon Price: $11
Course Requirements (For more detail, see below)
Disagreement Paper (25%, 600 words max)
Take Home Exams
o Midterm (20%)
o Final (cumulative) (30%)
Participation (25%)
Learning Objective
To understand positions that humans have developed on fundamental issues, such as

goodness and values, and to arrive at an informed position oneself.
Grading Breakdown
o Every assignment will be given a letter grade, including pluses and minuses.
o Those letter grades can be translated to a 12 point scale as follows:
A = 12, A- = 11, B+ = 10, B = 9, B- = 8, C+ = 7, C = 6, C- = 5,
D+ = 4, D = 3, D- = 2, F+ = 1, F = 0
The course grade will simply be your grades on the 12 point scale
multiplied by the percentage the assignment is worth. Adding those scores
together will give you a new number that ranges from 0-12.
o Your course grade will be determined on this scale:
10.5 12 = A, 7.5 10.49 = B, 4.5 7.49 = C,
1.5 4.49 = D, 0 1.49 = F
Though I will not take attendance, there is a portion of your grade that depends on group
work and participation.
o If you miss a day, your participation scores will be zeros.
o Unless the following is true:
You have a LSU excused reason for missing class.
You send me, through email, proof of your excused reason either:
o Prior to the missed class.
o Or within 24 hours of the missed class beginning.
o Or, you send me proof after 24 hours of both why you
missed class, and why your proof had to come late (say, for
example, you were hospitalized for the next 48 hours, and
so couldnt send me proof within the required time frame).
Your proof must be in email form, and so you would have to scan
or take a digital picture of your proof.
o It isnt an acceptable excuse that the place you went to
didnt give notes. It is the students responsibility to find a
way to make proof.
OR You Opt Out.
Everyone gets 2 opts out for the semester.
You MUST give me your opt out either before class starts in email
or at the beginning of class. Late opt outs count as zeros.
o Exception: You can opt out of group work at the break if
you decide to leave early.
o This counts as a full opt out.
You are expected to make EVERY class, including the ones before
Fall Break and Thanksgiving, but you are free to use your two opt
outs for those two classes.

Course Requirements (Detailed)
Disagreement Paper (25%; 600 words max)
o Choose one of the positions a political philosopher gave for how we ought to live
together (Camus, Singer, Cohen, or Tolstoy) that you strongly disagree with.
o Give that philosophers position as strongly as possible (about one page).
o Give what you take to be the single best objection to that position (about one
o Late penalty: 1 point off 12 point scale for first minute late (as determined by
email) and additional point off every 3 hours late.
o Word count penalty: 1 point off 12 point scale for first word over, and additional
point off every 30 words over.
o Paper must be emailed to by the beginning of
class. You will get confirmation in class.
o You should be prepared to email me a copy at that moment if it didnt go through.
o Due: 3:00 pm, Tuesday of 14th Week.
Exams (20% midterm, 30% final)
o The two exams will be take-home.
You must bring a hard copy to class and email the exam to me at
The email must arrive before the time the exam is due and the hard copy
must be turned in at the beginning of the session (3 pm for the Midterm
and 8 pm for the final)
If it is one minute late, it receives a one point penalty (out of 12).
Then it receives another one point penalty every 2 hours it
continues to be late.
Email mistakes are the students responsibility and must be dealt
with at the beginning of the session when the exam is due.
A failure to have both a hard copy and an email results in a 2 point
deduction on the 12 point scale.
Suppose you only forget the hard copy, then you can take the 2
point deduction or go print it and get a one point deduction for
Suppose you only forgot the email, then you can take the 2 point
deduction or send the email within 2 hours and receive only a one
point deduction.
o Questions:
At least 25% of the questions on the exam will be answered in class during
group work.
The rest of the questions will be based on lecture and reading material.
All questions will be short essays (150-300 words each).
The exams will require more writing than the paper, but the answers
require less creativity the exams test how well you paid attention in
lecture, group discussion, and reading, as well as how good you are

applying the concepts.
Participation (25%)
o Every Tuesday meeting will consist of four parts:
Individual Questions on Reading (unless otherwise noted)
Meant to make sure you are doing your work.
Not meant to be overly challenging.
Lecture (or film)
Break (10-15 minutes)
Group work (below)
Group questions on lecture plus reading.
Group writing.
Group debates.
o Your participation grade will be a combination of grades on individual questions
and group work.
Course Rules
All rules in the syllabus and assignment prompts are binding.
Class conduct is governed by John Stuart Mills Harm Principle:
o The only purpose for which power can rightfully exercised over any member of a
civilized community, against his [or her] will, is to prevent harm to others.
In other words, if you do things that only harm yourself, I wont interfere
paternalistically, but you cannot do anything that could harm others, such as
talking in class, having distracting computer screens where others can see them,
violating rules of fairness, etc.
o There may be intense disagreements in this class, but you should never make them
If anyone or anything though makes you feel uncomfortable, you should tell me
right away in person or in email.
If you want to tell me anonymously, you can place a note in my box in Coates
102 or under my door at Coates 117.
All rules and procedures that regulate conduct and courses at Louisiana State University will
apply to this course (obviously, since its a course at Louisiana State University), and it is the
students responsibility to know such rules, which can be found at:
All work must be your own.
o You are never allowed to plagiarize or cheat. You cannot copy other students, written
sources, or any other sources without giving credit. All work must either be your own or
cited as to the original source.
o Even if you collaborate with other students in thinking about your work, the writing must
derive from you. Sit down to write when you are alone or at least not talking to anyone
else about the material at hand.
o If the thoughts originally derive from another student, you must cite that student.

Course Plan



9/3 and Logic

The Problem
of Living
9/24 Identities
10/1 Identities
Opting Out
No Exit
11/ Anarchism
11/ Anarchism
11/ & Anarchism
12/3 & Anarchism

Falling Down
Read definitions and skim bad arguments

Ursula Le Guin, Those who Walk Away

from Omelas

Individual questions on
syllabus, Falling Down,
and definitions.
Individual questions on
From here on, individual
questions on reading

Anthony Appiahs Ethics of Identity

Anthony Appiahs Ethics of Identity
Peter Singers One World

Midterm Due at 3 pm

Peter Singers One World

Camus The Stranger, Part I

Midterm Grades Turned In

Camus The Stranger, Part II

G. A. Cohen, Why not Socialism?
Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within
Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within
Alan Moore, Watchmen 1-6

Disagreement Paper Due

Alan Moore, Watchmen 7-12

Final Exam due at 8 pm in class

Final Exam due at 8 pm in


Camus difficult bc writing fiction making claim about finding the meaning of your life in the
face of death
Appiah says a lot

Singer says a lot
Tolstoy naturally inclined to disagree w him
First Page build them up (why are they have a strong argument)
Second Page tear this down
When you take an idea from them write the page where they said that
If paper is about one sentence quote it at the top of the page and dont include it in word count