University of Pittsburgh, Summer Term 1998
Ben Eggleston, Instructor
Philosophy 0320—CRN 01205: Social Philosophy (writing)
mailbox: CL 1001—office: CL 1428E
Mondays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in CL 340
office hours: Sundays and Mondays, 4:45 p.m. to
Almost everyone lives in society. But what is society? How should society
be understood? How does living in society change the way people think and
act? How does it change the way they ought to think and act? How should
it be set up, organized, and governed? We will consider these and related
questions through an introductory survey of influential works by writers
such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, Freud, and Huxley.
This course’s aims include (1) introducing you to the field of social
philosophy, (2) familiarizing you with some important works with implications
for social philosophy and (3) developing your abilities to argue, both
in conversation and in writing, about social-philosophical questions and
attempts to answer them.
Because this course has been specially designated as a writing
course, extra emphasis will be placed on developing your abilities to appreciate
and to employ some of the the distinctive conventions and strategies of
philosophical writing. It will be presupposed that you have mastered the
basics of English composition.
To advance these aims, you will be required to read certain texts, to
participate in class discussions, and to complete some written assignments.
The following five books are sold by the Pitt Book Center. Although
each of these books contains required reading, other suitable editions
of the same texts, or other books containing suitable editions of the required
reading, may be used instead. For a list of the required reading, see the
Hackett Publishing Company, 1994
Basic Political Writings
Hackett Publishing Company, 1987
Brave New World
John Stuart Mill
Hackett Publishing Company, 1978
Civilization and Its Discontents
W. W. Norton & Company, 1961
We will meet eleven times from May 11 to July 27, on Mondays in room
340 of the Cathedral of Learning. Due to a university holiday, we will
not meet on May 25. Class will start at 5:45 p.m on May 11 and at 6 p.m.
thereafter, finishing by 9 p.m. Following is a list of the reading assignments,
each of which must be done before the class on the day on which
it is listed.
none (introductory class)
• “The Introduction” (by Hobbes, not the editor)
• chapter VI, paragraphs 1–7 and paragraphs 49–54
• chapters XIII–XV, through paragraph 15 of chapter XV
none (no class)
• chapters XVII–XVIII
• chapter XXI
Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
Huxley, Brave New World, chapters I–IX
Huxley, Brave New World, chapters X–XVIII
Mill, On Liberty, chapters I–III
Mill, On Liberty, chapters IV–V
Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, chapters I–V
Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, chapters VI–VIII
none (final exam)
In addition to reading the assigned texts on time, you will be required
to take quizzes and an exam, to write papers, and to attend class and to
participate in class discussions.
- Five quizzes will be given in class.
You will be required to write six papers.
- The dates of the quizzes will not necessarily be announced in advance,
but all of the possible quiz questions will be provided, as study questions
designed to aid you in your reading, at least a week in advance of the
dates when they may be asked on quizzes. In other words, the quizzes may
be surprises, but the questions won’t be.
- On days when quizzes will be given, quizzes will be available starting
at 6 p.m. and must be completed—without the aid of texts, notes, or other
people—by 6:20 p.m. On these days, students who arrrive late or who want
to study before looking at the quiz may do so without penalty, though of
course they must still finish by 6:20.
- If you miss a class, then you should contact me (by e-mail or phone)
within 5 days to find out whether you missed a quiz and (if necessary)
to arrange to take a make-up quiz. The questions on the make-up quiz will
be drawn not only from the list of possible quiz questions for the class
that was missed, but also from the lists of possible quiz questions for
the two previous classes. (Otherwise, students who take make-up quizzes
would be advantaged relative to students who do not—since they would be
studying a list of questions from which they know quiz questions
will be drawn—which would tend to encourage students to be absent. Naturally,
this effect must be avoided.)
A comprehensive final exam will be given in class on July 27. If you
miss the final exam, then you should contact me as soon as possible, and
not later than July 31, to arrange to take a make-up exam.
Attendance will be taken, and discussions will be held, in every class.
- Three of the papers will be reaction papers of about 2 pages
each. The other three will be analysis papers of about 6 pages each,
with one of the three analysis papers being a revision of an earlier analysis
paper. You can choose your own schedule of writing, with the following
- Each of your three reaction papers will be due at the beginning of
the class in which we discuss the text to which the paper is reacting.
So, reaction papers on the first Hobbes reading assignment will be due
on May 18, reaction papers on the second Hobbes reading assignment will
be due on June 1, reaction papers on the Rousseau reading assignment will
be due on June 8, etc.
- Each of your analysis papers, except for the one that’s a revision,
will be due at the beginning of the first class following the last
class in which we discuss the author whose work the paper is analyzing.
So, analysis papers on Hobbes will be due on June 8, analysis papers on
Rousseau will be due on June 15, analysis papers on Huxley will be due
on June 29, etc.
- Your analysis paper that’s a revision will be due at the beginning
of the first class following the class in which the paper that’s being
revised was returned to you with a grade. You will be required to turn
in not only the revision itself, but also the graded copy of the paper
that’s being revised. Because of time constraints near the end of the course,
no analysis paper on Freud may be revised.
- Since one of the analysis papers will be a revision of an earlier analysis
paper, your six papers will be on five different topics (three reaction-paper
topics and two analysis-paper topics). Each of the five topics that you
choose must pertain to a different author from the other four; this is
to ensure that you write a paper (either a reaction paper or an analysis
paper) on each of the five authors.
- Papers submitted later than their due dates but not later than July
31 will be accepted, but will be assessed a penalty of one quarter of a
letter grade per business day late. For example, a B paper due on a Monday
but turned in on the following Monday would receive a grade of C–. Exceptions
to this penalty rule may be made when a paper is late because of factors
which a student could not reasonably be expected to control, such as an
illness or a family emergency. A paper submitted on a day when class does
not meet should be marked with the date on which it is being submitted
and placed in the mailbox marked EGGLESTON in room 1001 of the Cathedral
of Learning between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- If you anticipate that meeting any of these deadlines will be a problem,
then you should contact me and request an extension at least a week before
the deadline(s) in question; reasonable advance requests will be accommodated.
Last-minute requests for extensions will not be granted, except in cases
in which you would be exempt from the late-paper penalty anyway.
- Suggested topics for papers will be provided at least a week before
their due dates.
Final grades will be determined by these factors. The papers will be
50 percent more important than the quizzes (and class participation) and
the final exam; and the quizzes (and class participation) will be 50 percent
more important than the final exam. So, 60 percent of the final grades
will be determined by papers, 24 percent by quizzes and class participation,
and 16 percent by the final exam. The papers will be weighted as follows: 6
percent for each of the three reaction papers, 18 percent for the analysis
paper that doesn’t get revised, 10 percent for the analysis paper that
does get revised, and 14 percent for the revision.
It is possible that these requirements will change, as may other plans
reported on this syllabus. Revisions will be stated on the World Wide Web
site at the address given above. For more about the Web site, see “VI.
Additional Resources,” below.
VI. Additional Resources
I’ll have office hours in area E of room 1428 in the Cathedral of Learning
on Sundays and Mondays from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. and will be available
at other times by appointment.
Furthermore, the World Wide Web site at the address given above includes
links to several useful documents, including
- this syllabus
- revisions to the requirements and other plans reported on this syllabus
- study notes for each author, including
- background information about the author and reading assignment(s)
- study questions from which the quiz questions will be drawn
- suggestions for further reading
- topics for reaction papers
- an outline of topics to be covered in class
- topics for analysis papers
- guidelines for writing a philosophy paper
It also includes links to independent sites related to the authors and
texts of this course.