Saturday, August 23, 2008

Welcome BSU Students!

Greetings, I just wanted to say hello and welcome you all to my blog. In this entry, there are two matters to address:
  1. Identification: Students in my classes, PHIL 101.001, MWF 9 - 9:50 am, will be identified as (001); PHIL 101.002, MWF 10 - 10:50 am, will be identified as (002); PHIL 207.001, TR 1 - 2:20 pm, will be identified as (207); HIST 115.005, 9:30 - 10:50 am, will be identified as (115); and GOVT 250.001, MWF, 1 - 1:50 pm, will be identified as (250). By "identified" I mean, when I create a post for a given class, next to a given title, like the one above "Welcome BSU Students," I will be posting your class "identification" number in parentheses next to the title to let you all know who a given post pertains to, like "Welcome BSU Students" (207), etc. Note: Sometimes, especially for students in my PHIL 101 classes, the posts will pertain to both classes, such that I will identify you all in parenthesis as (001 and 002).
  2. Resources: On the right-hand column of this blog, you will find resources that can prove useful-- covering philosophy, webcasts, history links, rhetorical links and news links.
Stay tuned. In class, I will provide further instructions.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Welcome! (PGCC, All)


I just wanted to welcome those students in my summer courses at PGCC.

Surely, when you get a chance, do not hesitate to view the links to the right to view the resources that can help you understand philosophy and do well in the course.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Picking up Your Finals... (All)

Greetings, I hope that you all are doing well.

For those students that would like to pick up your Final Research Project (FRP) and your Final Learning Assessments (FLA), I want to share the following notes:

  1. For BSU students: On Thursday, May 29, 2008, I will be in my office from 3 to 4pm to drop off/deliver your FRP's and FLA's.
  2. For PGCC students: Your FRP's and FLA's are available for pick up with the department's secretary.
I look forward to visiting with students on the former matters.

Have a safe and restful summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Your Grades (All)

I understand that your grades were mailed out to you all yesterday, 5.19.08. Any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the administrative offices at PGCC.

I just posted your grades via PeopleSoft and they should be available online. Any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the network administrators at BSU for how long it will take for online grades at PeopleSoft to become available.

Have great, and safe, summer!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

On Finishing Up! (All)

The following notes pertain to all, in different ways.

On Your Final Research Projects (FRP)
1. Be sure that you write your FRP consistent with ALL the expectations/guidelines.
2. As such, use the FRP exercises (1-5) that we did in class (and/or see former blogs) as a "check-list" for what should be included in each section of your FRP.
3. Work with a fellow Learning Community (LC) member or peer and edit each other's work.
4. Be sure to add an Introduction (short paragraph or two framing the text at the beginning) and Conclusion (short paragraph or two as a concluding reflection) into your text, letting the reader know what the text is going to cover (Introduction) and what the big ideas were (Conclusion) all about.

Final Examination Day/s
Note: (1) On the following days, you all will be handing in your FRP and taking your Final Learning Assessments (FLA). On the FLA be sure to make arrangements to bring in your own typed copies of the FLA to class. (2) Be sure to call and/or e-mail me with relevant questions.
1. BSU@9, Friday May 16, 2008 at 1oam.
2. BSU@10, Monday May 19, 2008 at 10am.
3. PGCC@12, Monday May 12, 2008 at 12pm.
4. PGCC@6pm, Monday May 12, 2008 at 7pm.


On Extra Credit
1. Be sure to hand in all Extra Credit (EC) texts on Monday, May 12, 2008.
2. Remember that all EC assignments need to have appropriately cited endnotes, if you want any credit.

Office Hours
1. MWF from 9 - 11am, except on the day of a given final examination period.
Note: Be sure to visit with me so that we can ensure that we are on the same page pertaining to the comments on your FRP drafts that I intend to hand back on Monday.

Final Words

Thanks for the opportunity to learn and grow
, I only hope that you all were afforded the same opportunities that I have been afforded.

Again, to ensure your success, taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, be sure to do extra credit work this weekend (BSU students) to get the best grade possible.

Friday, May 2, 2008

No Readings for the Weekend! (1124, 1125, 2205)

Note: This post applies to all, accept the PGCC students 2215 @6.

THE READING FOR THIS WEEKEND HAS BEEN CANCELED!!! so that you all can work on turning in your (optional) Final Research Project (FRP) Drafts.

Remember, turning in FRP Drafts can become opportune for a variety of reasons: (1) You can earn ten extra credit points -- five for the effort and five for five extra credit critiques, and (2) You can get comments from me to maximize your final FRP text.

Take note of the following: (1) Consult the exercises for sections 1 - 3 and 4 - 5, so that you can find out exactly what I am looking for in each section of your FRP, (2) Have a Learning Community (LC) member or peer review your text, before submittal, to maximize your capabilities; and (3) Be sure that your drafts have appropriately cited endnotes.

Turn in your drafts, so that I can help you help yourself, consistent with my pledge to you all during the first week of class, about wanting everyone to do well, creating as many opportunities for success as possible.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

For the Outline and Final Research Project (ALL)

Given that you all are developing your outlines and Final Research Projects (FRP), it is imperative that you all clearly know what I am looking for, for each section of your FRP. What follows is an outline that contains the particulars that I am looking for, which will ensure maximum points (but, be sure to put what follows in your own specific-words in your outlines):

Section One: Introduction to Philosophy
1. Clearly define philosophy.
2. Introduce the reader to MEAL and BWRITES.
3. Write about what does and/or does not work for you in philosophy, focused on (hopefully) how it can work for you in the future (academically and/or professionally).

Section Two: The History of Philosophy
1. Review the history of philosophy, as framed by Law (Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern).
Note: Be sure to (a) integrate the interventions of Obenga (into Ancient section) and Magee (the whole framework) into this section to develop your analysis; (b) clearly distinguish what aspects of MEAL each section and/or each thinker is focused on; and (c) make sure your voice, via criticism ("SAC" but SAC that is not restrictive but "free," what works and what does not work), is privileged throughout the text.

Section Three: The Emergence of Africana Philosophy
1. Tell the story of the Africana World (see BBC and Azevedo).
2. Tell the story of Race (PBS and BBC Webcast), and Race and Philosophy (Eze).
3. Clearly define Africana Philosophy (Harris and Outlaw and where it fits within MEAL) and the various streams (voices) in the discourse. Also, be sure that your criticism, reactions to the texts, are clear throughout your analysis. I do not just want summary!
4. Feature the praxis of one thinker, focused on their big ideas and practices and your reactions to it-- as in, your arguments demonstrating why you agree and do not agree with it.

Section Four: Your Philosophy
1. According to you what is the nature of existence (metaphysics)?
2. How do you know what exists (epistemology)?
3. What is your core value (axiology)?
4. What is your praxis (praxis)?
5. Feature a critical analysis of one key philosopher.
Note: This section presupposes that you know and are comfortable working within the framework of MEAL. If not, consult the former blogs and resources that covers the meaning of MEAL. Also, be sure that you clearly develop each section of this section in a clear and compelling fashion.

Section Five: Special Topic
1. Develop a clear and concrete research question.
2. Clearly determine and express why you value your question and/or why knowing about it matters.
3. Make sure you express your text within the framework of a well developed Critique-- Intro-Thesis, Body (with critical analysis, "SAC," etc.) and Conclusion, privileging your voice.

To do well on your FRP, keep the following interventions in mind if you want to ensure success: (1) reach out to your Learning Community members if you have any questions and responsibly edit each other's texts; (2) reach out to me if you have any questions about the FRP (in class, office hours, blog, e-mail); (3) take advantage of the learning/writing centers that are available to you to help you help yourself (on writing well, ENDNOTES!!!, etc.)

Note: (1) Naturally, one can utilize the abovementioned framework as a guide to your outlines of sections one through three that are due. However, you must fill in the blanks. In other words, rewriting the abovementioned texts in your own words will not work, unless and until you fill in the blanks with respect to how you will be developing each section. (2) Do not forget that the early critiques that we wrote this term cover sections one through two of your FRP. Just clearly structure each section of your FRP, cut, paste, edit and integrate former Critiques into your FRP and make it work.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For the Last Week of Class (All)

Note: For PGCC students "2215" (M@6), our last day of class will be May 5, 2008; and PGCC students "2205" (MWF@12) our last day of class will be May 7, 2008. Taking these matters into account, the forthcoming texts are matters that are to be incorporated into your Final Research Projects (FRP).

The work that is posted below pertains to the last week of materials that I will be posting for our classes (for all BSU students the last day of class is Monday, May 12, 2008). It is being posted below for one primary reason, to help you all develop your section three outlines of your FRP (due this coming Monday April 28, 2008). As such, preview (you are not being asked to read) the following materials so that you can (1) incorporate them into your outlines that are due this coming Monday and (2) you may want to concentrate on one of the following thinkers or texts in section three of your FRP.

Week 14

  • Gathering Africana Philosophy, cont.
  1. For Monday: Read bell hook’s text “Black Women Shaping Feminist Theory” (Eze).
  2. For Wednesday: Read Cornel West’s “Prophetic Pragmatism” (class handout in first week of class) OR watch a webcast of him talking about his text Democracy Matters, 9-11 and Justice.
  3. For your FRP: Familiarize yourselves with the the United Nations' (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and read the former Secretary General (SG) of the UN Kofi Annan’s “Executive Summary” of his text In Larger Freedom. No outlines will be due for this week, just be sure that the above-listed texts are represented in your FRP, and be ready for a 3min Learning Assessment, or two...
Optional Resources

For those that want to learn more about the work of bell hooks, the aspirations of the former SG Kofi Annan and/or want to learn more about the philosophy of cosmopolitanism (Universal Citizenship), do not hesitate to view the following resources:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For Week 13

*Note: For PGCC students "2215" (M, 6 - 9pm), the following assignments are posted for you all to address after our class this coming Monday (4.28.08). Essentially, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned. Also, everyone's WELL DEVELOPED Final Research Project (FRP) outlines of sections one (Introduction to Philosophy), two ("The" History of Philosophy) and three (The Emergence of Africana Philosophy) are due on Monday.

Week 13

Gathering Africana Philosophy, cont.

  • For Monday: Read the last chapter of Kwame Nkrumah’s text (1965) “Neocolonialism, the Last State of Imperialism;" read excerpt from Frantz Fannon’s “Wretched of the Earth” (Eze). Optional! For those that would like to learn more about the Cold War, political and economic, challenges that Nkrumah faced in Ghana, do not hesitate to see the BBC webcast below, "Black Power"...

  • For Wednesday: Read about what Dr. King called the “Triple Evils” plaguing humanity (War, Poverty and Racism); listen/view/read Dr. King's "infamous" (1967) address “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence;" and read about Dr. King’s axiological conception of “The Beloved Community."
  • For Friday: Listen to Malcolm X’s speech (Warning! this speech may be interpreted as very offensive and provocative, due to the occasional use of sensational language, as such, listening to this audiocast is optional, but representative of a very influential stream in Africana praxis of old and new) “Message to the Grassroots” OR read the charter of his political organization the “Program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity;" and read the "10 Point Program" of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Instead of turning in an outline for this week, be ready to take a Learning Assessment on the week's texts and focus your energies on turning in an optional draft of your FRP for review and five extra credit points on Monday (May 5, 2008).
Optional Resources
  • For those that would like to learn more about the political, economic and conceptual emergence of "Black Power," do not hesitate to either listen to (the audiocast) or read a transcription of the the grounding text by the Pan-Africanist Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) on "Black Power."
  • For those that would like to learn more about the BPP, do not hesitate to view the following webcast of Bobby Seal, the co-founder of the BPP organization, speaking in 2005 about the origins, values and ideals of the BPP:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Developing the Spiritual Inclination (All)

For those of you all that are more inclined to a spiritual metaphysics, consider integrating what the pragmatist William James had to say about "The Will to Believe" into section four of your Final Research Project (FRP). In this respect, pragmatism (an American philosophy) and/or the interventions of James can be utilized as the feature philosophy or philosopher in the last section of section four of your FRP.

Negotiating the latter thoughts can be useful on at least two levels: (1) you can potentially better "ground" your spiritual beliefs philosophically, and (2) you can add value to your arguments in section four of your FRP. As such, feel encouraged to take a look at the following resources:

On Pragmatism

1. For a nice introduction on the emergence of pragmatism, see Louis Menand's webcast discussing his text The Metaphysical Club, at the Library of Congress.
2. For what James wrote about Pragmatism, read the text "What Pragmatism Means"(scroll down).

On Matters of the Spirit

Note: The Key Documents!!!

1. For a very useful text, arguing for the value of belief, see "The Will to Believe" by James.
2. For a compelling outline of "The Will to Believe," see the outline of professor Bob Corbett, by clicking "here."

Monday, April 21, 2008

On Your Final Research Project Drafts (All)

*Note: For PGCC "2215" @6pm, keep the following matters in mind as you all go about completing your Final Research Projects (FRP).

For your drafts of section four and five of your FRP that are due this coming Wednesday (4.23.08), keep the following three gestures in mind:
  1. Before you write your drafts, be sure that you clearly know what MEAL (metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and logic) is all about. Developing section four (on your philosophy) presupposes that you all have a good understanding of MEAL. Check out "What is Philosophy Anyway" (scroll down and see "Branches of Philosophy"), "A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names" and/or view the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy" for further reference.
  2. Simplifying section four of your FRP, remember that you all have options, but not allot of them: (a) on what exists, you are either going to be committed to a material, a spiritual or a world-view that is some kind of synonym or combination of the two; (b) on how do you know what exists, you are either going to be committed to a world-view that privileges the senses (including the faculty to reason), faith or some kind of synonym or combination of the two; (c) on your values, you have a host of options, but be sure that whatever you commit to is so core that without it you are divorced of a sense of purpose/meaning; and (d) on your praxis, be sure that it corresponds with your values-- in other words, your actions should follow from your core value/s.
  3. On section five of your FRP, keep the following in mind: (a) develop a clear and concrete research question; (b) clearly determine and express why you value your question and/or why knowing about it matters; and (c) make sure you express your text within the framework of a well developed Critique-- Intro-Thesis, Body (with critical analysis, "SAC," etc.) and Conclusion, privileging your voice.
Moving forward, feel encouraged to reach out to me and your Learning Community (LC) for further clarity. Further, to ensure that you are on the right path on section four of your FRP, be sure that you can clearly identify what your metaphysical, epistemological, axiological and praxiological commitments are in your text. If you (or your LC member) cannot, go back and make your ideas clearer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Next Week (All)

*Note: For PGCC students ("2215": M, 6 - 9pm), the following assignments are posted for you all to address after our class this coming Monday (4.21.08). Essentially, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned. Also, everyone's Final Research Project (FRP) drafts of section four (your philosophy) and section five (special topic) are due on (Monday or) Wednesday. (To lighten the workload, consider turning in section four on Monday and section five on Wednesday.) Imagine that you are "literally" writing both sections of your FRP, informed by my comments on your summaries and outlines and turn them in this coming (Monday or) Wednesday.

Week 12

Gathering Africana Philosophy

  • For Monday: Read “The Declaration of Independence” (1776) and Fredrick Douglass’s (1852) “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro."
  • For Wednesday: Read Booker T. Washington’s (1895) “Atlanta Compromise Speech;" read Marcus Garvey’s (1920) “Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World" (scroll down to bottom of webpage. Upon review of the latter Declaration, you will notice many references to the terror/ism of lynching/s in the U.S.: "17. Whereas, the lynching, by burning, hanging or any other disgrace to civilization, we therefore declare any country guilty of such atrocities outside the pale of civilization." For a visual representation of the horrors of that age, via pictures and commentaries of people being lynched, visit "Without Sanctuary" for further reference. Warning!, as one can imagine, the images at the former website are "outside the pale of civilization," and shock and awe the conscience. It is not required that anyone view the latter images! Yet, for those that are ready to move beyond the sanitized version of Western history, philosophy and "civilization," to understand the context under which a "philosophy born of struggle" emerged, do not hesitate to view the latter site for historical context.) Also, in the place of reading the former Declaration, you can watch one of the two documentaries on the praxis of Marcus Garvey below. The first, PBS's "Marcus Garvey: Look for me in the Whirlwind" (which lasts for 1hr and 20min) primarily focuses on what they believe did not work with his character and movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA); and the second (which starts at 1hr 2omin on the screen below, and lasts for about 1hr) focuses on what did work with his praxis, explicitly connecting him with African Independence struggles, Malcolm X and the black power movement:

  • For Friday: Read the NAACP’s biographical sketch of “W.E.B. DuBois” and his text on “The Talented Tenth." Turn in Outline/s (or Critique/s for extra credit and Outline credit), assessing the week’s texts.
At this point in the class, we are "gathering" (Outlaw) the principal texts in the Africana philosophy discourse. As we move forward, I want you all to be mindful of the following, as it pertains to understanding and interpreting the abovementioned texts, and beyond:
  1. We are developing Section three (The Emergence of Africana Philosophy) of your FRP.
  2. Africana philosophy is an axiological praxis, focused on social and political philosophy-- when it comes to MEAL. In this stream, texts within the Africana philosophy discourse are open to philosophical interpretation (privileging the social and political realities that inhere), as are many events in the social and political world. For example, take the tragedy of "9-11," 2001. As a point of fact, 9-11 is open to a variety of interpretations (readings). Philosophers can examine the definition/realities/consequences of terrorism/counter-terrorism; Economists can examine the economic impact of 9-11 and the Bush Administration's "war on terror" in Iraq, and beyond; Psychologists can examine the fear jointly produced by 9-11 and the "war on terror;" Sociologists can examine the structural conditions that inform terror/ism (i.e. Imperialism, colonial/military occupations, perceptions of injustice, nihilism...), etc. As we can see, events (texts) are open for a community of interpretations/readings.
  3. In light of the above, we will be examining the Africana world philosophically, via the rubric of Africana philosophy. IT'S ALL ABOUT PRAXIS!!! As such, when writing your outlines, in preparation for completing section three of your FRP, be sure to clearly locate/identify the praxis (social and political ideas/valuations and "corresponding" political practices/actions) of a given thinker. In other words, you have two tasks at hand for every text, (a) determine what kind of social, political and/or economic valuations/philosophies that are implicitly or explicitly being valued; and (b) determine what kind of social, political and/or economic practices that are implicitly or explicitly being proposed/implemented.
As we will see, beyond the gatherings/reflections of professional philosophers (Eze, Appiah, Outlaw, Harris, etc.), the actual Africana "philosophy born of struggle" (Harris), "at its best," has been rooted in word and (life-world changing, social/political/economic) deed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

For Next Week (All)

*Note: For PGCC students ("2215": M, 6 - 9pm), the following assignments are posted for you all to address after our class this coming Monday (4.14.08). Essentially, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned. Also, everyone's outlines are due on Monday for section four and five of your Final Research Projects.

Week 11
  • Defining Africana Philosophy

(a) For Monday: See the (3min) webcast “What is Africana Philosophy?":

read the PBS review of “What is Race?”, clicking the 10 “quick facts” at the bottom of the webpage to learn about the social construction of race; and read (ESSENTIAL READING!) “Modern Western Philosophy and African Colonialism” (Eze’s text, African Philosophy).

(b) For Wednesday: View the informative first part ("The Colour [sic] of Money") of the BBC documentary, “Racism: A History”:

highlighting the economic interests that (many argue) drove slavery/imperialism/colonialism and the rationale via philosophy, science and religion that followed; and begin Lucius Outlaw’s text (23 – 28) “African, African American, Africana Philosophy” (Eze).

(c) For Friday: Complete Outlaw’s text (29 – 39) “African, African American, Africana Philosophy” (Eze). Turn in Critiques, assessing the week’s readings.

For further reference, do not hesitate to assess the following OPTIONAL resources:

  • For those who want to explore race/racism and philosophy, and contemporary reactions in the virtual world, view the exchange at "Philosophical Misadventures," where you can look at the disturbing views on black people and Africans from thinkers like Kant, Hume, Schopenhauer, Hegel and Mills. Warning!, some of the links and comments can be viewed as "extreme" (there are links to hate sites), though, instructive insofar as we can see how people, old and new, are thinking and using the thoughts of various philosophers to rationalize white power (Eurocentrism).
  • View “Race Timeline" and click “Explore Timeline” to look at the social, philosophical and scientific origins of race; listen to the philosopher Kwame Appiah’s audiocast interview, “What is Race?” at “Philosophy Talk;” read Appiah’s text “The Illusions of Race” (Eze).
  • For those that want to see the other two parts of the BBC documentary "Racism: A History" ("Fatal Impact" and "A Savage Legacy") do not hesitate to click this link.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

(New) Extra Credit Options! (All)

Extra Credit Options are at hand! Three will be sketched in this blog, but concerning other options, do not hesitate to look at the syllabus for further reference.

*Note: Anyone who has missed critiques, has not done well on their general and three-minute Learning Assessments, and/or wants to ensure that they get the best grade/s available to them, be sure to take advantage of the extra credit opportunities at hand. Again, one can earn a total of 20points in extra credit points, with the potential to move your grade up one whole letter grade.

Two events, in particular, are forthcoming at Politics and Prose bookstore (5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 2008, 202.364.1919). Do not hesitate to click on the latter link and get on their event listserv:

1. On Saturday, 4.12.08. (This Saturday!), the renowned critical Historian Howard Zinn will be presenting his most recent text, A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaption with Mike Konopacki at 1pm. (If any one of you all plan to attend this or any other event, please let me know, through posting a comment at this blog, in class or sending me an e-mail, so that I can make arrangements to attend the event.) For those that want to read an excerpt of the text, do not hesitate to visit the following article/link Empire or Humanity? What the classroom did not teach me about American Empire; and for those that want to view a persuasive and engaging, animated adaption of the same text see...

2. On Friday, 5.9.08 at 7pm, Michale Eric Dyson, who Ebony magazine named as one of the hundred most influential Black Americans, will be presenting his most recent text, April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America. To get a glimpse of Dr. Dyson in action, he surely performs, do not hesitate to see his most recent Book TV webcast, In Depth: Michale Eric Dyson (when you click the latter link, on the upper right hand corner, click the little red link "watch" to view the webcast), highlighting his body of scholarship.

Recalling an exchange in some of my classes on Monday, I want to remind you all about another way to garner extra credit points that can accomplish many things at one time:

3. For those of us who have missed writing Critiques, go on and do them and submit them as Extra Credit Critiques (the syllabus specifies how many you can turn in). If you do this, you will be doing, at least, two things at one time. On the one hand, you will be earning extra credit points and on the other hand, you will be doing the critiques that you have to do already, focused on the complete development of the Final Research Project.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Final Research Project Dates (All)

What follows are dates that you all need to be mindful of, addressing Final Reseach Project (FRP) matters:

*Note: Before you turn in any of the following materials, be sure that you visit the prior blog post on what the expectations are for section four (on your philosophy) and section five (special research topic) of the FRP.

1. Monday, 4.7.08 (Tomorrow if you forgot!): Turn in a summary of section four (creating a narrative, within the framework as specified on prior post) and section five (introducing your topic, why you value it and how you intend to examine it) of your FRP.

2. Monday, 4.14.o8: Turn in an outline of section four and section five of your FRP-- informed by my commentary found in your summary, sketch a well developed outline of your projected final sections.

3. Monday, 4.21.08: Turn in a draft of section four and section five of your FRP-- in other words, write both sections and hand them in, as if you were completing both sections.

4. Monday, 4.28.08: Turn in a well developed outline of your total FRP (all five sections)-- at this point, you will have already done this for section four and five of your FRP, just make any potential adjustments and use this time to edit and integrate your former critiques into the FRP.

5. Monday, 5.5.08: Optional! Turn in Draft of completed FRP (though this is optional, doing this project will help ensure that you earn optimal points on the FRP and will serve as FIVE EXTRA CREDIT POINTS!).

Keep the following in mind: Look at the abovementioned dates optimistically! The latter dates are consistent with what I said during the first week of class: I expect everyone to get an "A," but I cannot want it more than you! In other words, if you do the summary, outline and drafts, you will earn more points for turning that work in (for those that have not done well on some Learning Assessments, have missed some critiques, or have been behind, this is a practical way to makeup lost points, helping you help yourself), I will have the opportunity to read your work and give you comments, to ensure that you get the best grade possible-- mindful that the final is worth 25% of your total grade.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

For Next Week (All)

*Note: For PGCC students ("2215": M, 6 - 9pm), the following assignments are posted for you all to address after our class this coming Monday (4.7.08). Essentially, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned.

Week 10

  • Exploring the Africana World: European contact, Civil War and Civil Rights, African Independence and Pan Africanism

(a) For Monday: Read the introductory page of “Africa and Europe” and the following links under the Index (“The European Scramble,” “Political Resistance,” “Forces for Change” and “Timeline”) at the BBC's “The Story of Africa.”

(b) For Wednesday: Read the text “Civil War to Civil Rights: The Quest for Freedom and Equality” (Azevedo).

(c) For Friday: Read the introductory page of “Independence” and the following links under the Index (“Towards Independence,” “French and British Colonial Styles,” “The Nation State,” “Post Independence,” “Independence Timeline”) at the BBC's “Story of Africa.” And read “The Pan African Movement” (Azevedo) OR finish viewing the John Henrik Clarke webcast on Pan-Africanism, "A Great and Mighty Walk." Turn in Critiques, assessing the week’s readings.

Optional: For those that want more information on the Africana world's contemporary challenges, do not hesitate to visit the following links.

On your critiques, keep in mind that you all are developing section three ("The Emergence of Africana Philosophy") of your Final Research Project (FRP). Towards this end, we are reading and writing about the realities of Africana history, before we assess the philosophical praxis of key people in the Africana world. Again, you are reading and writing section three of your FRP, right now!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On Forgiveness and Unconditional Love (BSU, 1124 @9am)

*Note: This is not a mandatory assignment.

Greetings, I hope you all are doing well.

To follow up on our classroom conversation on Monday, about the idea of being against the death penalty, except in exceptional circumstances, feel encouraged to visit the website of Bill Moyers Journal, assessing his piece "On Amish Grace."

At said website, you will find texts and a video-cast featuring the Amish community's steadfast commitment to (religious) principle in the face of tragedy. To the point, some five young Amish girls (in 2006) were murdered by an assailant, and the Amish community, although grieving, found a way to forgive the killer (though he killed himself). Even more, members of the Amish community went to the assailant's funeral, consoled the killer's family and did not seek revenge -- to the astonishment of the global public.

If your time allows, check out the former website to find out how the "impossible" is possible-- in this age of War and Terror.

Friday, March 28, 2008

For Next Week (All)

*Note: For PGCC students (2215, M, 6 - 9pm), the following materials are matters for you all to address after our class this coming Monday. In other words, you all do not have to do any new readings for this coming Monday, other than what has already been assigned.

To date, we have covered Western Philosophy, focused on the Ancients, the Medieval world, the Early Moderns, and the Modern period. Moving forward, we will be assessing philosophy in the social world (social and political philosophy), focused on the emergence (or genealogy) of Africana Philosophy. Towards this end, the first thing that we are going to do is learn more about Africa-- before we negotiate the Africana world (Africa and the African diaspora) within the context of philosophy.

For the following week, the syllabus has been slightly amended:

Week 9
  • Exploring Africa: Human Origins, Civilization/s and Slavery

(a) For Monday: Familiarize yourselves with the Map of Africa (click this link to the left and all corresponding links below). Read Ch. 3 “Africa and the Genesis of Humankind” (Azevedo). Note, for those students that have not purchased the Azevedo text (Africana Studies) read "Early History" (and the corresponding Index on the right-hand column of the web-page) at BBC's "The Story of Africa."

(b) For Wednesday: Read the information at the following links (on the left-hand column of the web-page) “Nile Valley,” “West African Kingdoms,” and “Central African Kingdoms” at "The Story of Africa."

(c) For Friday: Read the information at the link and index for “Slavery” at “The Story of Africa.” Turn in Critique/s, assessing the week’s readings.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Reading the Symbols on Your Papers (All)

With respect to reading the symbols that you all will find on the essays that I will be handing back (tomorrow), I want you all to take note of the following (additional) symbolic notations. In other words, if/when you see the following symbols in quotation next to a passage in your text (as in, "S," "T," "R," etc.) note that they correspond to the word next to it (as in, “S” = Structure, “T” = Transition, “R” = Relevance...):

“S” = Structure; “T” = Transition; “R” = Relevance; “D” = Details; “D/E” = Definition and Explanation; “CA” = Critical Apparatus (citations and endnotes); “Φ
” = Why Is Your Analysis Philosophical (MEAL-SAC)?; “C/A” = Criticism and Argumentation; “?” = Clarity Problem. Other symbols will be used to address the mechanics of your writing: “G” = Grammar; “Sp” = Spelling; “Pct.” = punctuation; “SL” = Sexist Language; “A” = Above (point already made above, why repeated?).

Friday, March 14, 2008

During Spring Break (All)

Concerning the upcoming (and needed!) spring break, I want you all to take into account the following matters:

1. Surely, get some rest and recuperate. For many of us, the term has been rewarding but taxing. Be sure to get a little sunlight so that your batteries can be recharged when class picks back up.

2. After you have taken the time out to rest, be sure that you read the next three chapters in Maggee ("The Great Rationalists," "The Great Empiricists," and the "Revolutionary French Thinkers") over the break and write a critique on the same topics to turn in on the first day of class (3.24.08). Again, be sure to read the text structurally and actively. Further, be able to "tell the story" of each chapter, identify key thinkers and philosophies (use the table of contents as a guide to the philosophical traditions and philosophies that you should be responsible for), and be able to write about each chapter within the context of MEAL-SAC.

3. Consider finishing the book and doing extra credit critiques over the break. Concerning the extra credit critiques, I would argue that it is in your interest to go through the Magee text and think about writing critiques on particular philosophies and/or philosophers that you can identify with. Taking advantage of the latter opportunity can prove beneficial insofar as you will be (a) learning and getting extra credit points (to make up for missed LA's, critiques, or just simply earning more functional points) and you will be (b) effectively completing section four (4) of your Final Research Project, on Your Philosophy.

4. If you have not done this already, make sure that you (take a brief) look at the links under "Philosophy Resources" and "Philosophical Webcasts" on this blog. Assessing the former links will help you (a) do well on your three minute Learning Assessments (LA's) and most importantly (b) it will help you know exactly where to go to develop (Section Four of) your Final Research Projects.

Be safe and have fun!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Towards the Final Research Project (All)

From now until the end of the semester, we will be focusing on creating the conditions for you all to write your Final Research Projects (FRP).

What follows are the five (5) sections that are to be fully developed in your seven to ten (7 to 10) page FRP. (All will work out!) To the degree that you all keep up with the readings and the corresponding weekly critiques, your FRP will come together, one week at a time.

Section 1: Introduction to Philosophy
In this section, you will be critically introducing the reader to philosophy and the discipline's four primary academic streams (MEAL). At this point in the project, you will be revising and integrating your first three critiques into this section.

Section 2: "The" History of Philosophy
In this section, you will be critically reviewing "the" history of philosophy. At this point in the project, you will be revising and integrating your midterm critique on Law and Obenga. Further, the three critiques that you will be writing on Magee (the text you are reading now) will be used to re/construct this narrative.

Section 3: The Emergence of Africana Philosophy
In this section, you will be critically reviewing the emergence of Africana Philosophy. At this point in the project, you will be revising and integrating the critiques that you all will be writing on the Azevedo (Africana Studies), Eze (African Philosophy), and related online texts.

Section 4: Exploring Your Philosophy
In this section, you will be self-consciously reviewing your philosophy, essentially, locating it on the map of philosophical history. As we discussed in class, you all will be asking yourselves and answering the following fundamental questions in philosophy: (1) What is there in the universe or outside of it (your metaphysics)? (2) What is knowledge, how may we reach "the truth" (your epistemology)? (3) How should we decide what is valuable (your axiology)? (4) How should we live our lives (praxis)? While negotiating the former questions, you all are expected to do some specific research on a particular philosopher or philosophy that coheres with your values. (Use the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy," "The Internet Classic Archive" and "The Value of Knowledge" links for further reference.) In other words, while writing about your metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and praxis, be sure to ground your reflections on that which came before you (and may be "to come," if you are contributing something truly original to the discourse!).

Section 5: Special Research Topic
In this section, you will be writing your own, self-critical, special research topic. At this point in the project, you will have plenty of autonomy. You can do research on a topic in philosophy, on a particular philosopher or philosophy, on a matter related to your academic discipline or career, on your religious values (or lack thereof), on a contemporary social and/or political issue (War, Peace, Terrorism/Counter-terrorism, Israel-Palestine, Social Justice and Security, Human Rights, Torture, Wealth, Poverty, the Presidential Elections, the Right to Vote, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia...) etc. As we get closer to the end of the semester, we will be working together to secure the horizon of this section. Further, as we discussed in class, you all will have the autonomy to express this in a medium that works for you. So, if you are an artist, let's see some art-work and your written interpretation. If you are a rapper and/or musician, let's hear what you have to share and your written interpretation. If you like to create "fiction," let's read about the 21st century "Allegory of the Cave." If you are a poet, let's read your poem and your written interpretation. Again, you all have options.

Note: Moving forward, keep two things in mind: (1) Do the weekly readings and critiques. (All else will come into place, if you do not let yourself get behind!) (2) Pay special attention to the philosophers and philosophies that intersect with your philosophical values (recall that in section four of the FRP, your task is to tell your story and locate it on the map of philosophical history). As such, you will need to do this by doing your own research-- which can be done by utilizing the resources on this blog.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Timeline of (Western) Philosophy (All)

For those that want another resource, focused on the history of (Western) Philosophy, do not hesitate to visit "Philosophy Timeline" found at the Website for the text Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering. (When you click on either link, note that the "Philosophy Timeline" is under the section labeled "Course Resources" on the left hand column of the webpage.)

This website can prove very useful. It gives a brief overview of key philosophers, it talks about their relationships to MEAL, and the visuals make the text very accessible. Moreover, going through the former link can give you all support for your Comprehensive Learning Assessment focused on Law's conception of (Western) Philosophy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Midterm Review (ALL)

The following reflections pertain to all classes, although for my PGCC class "2215" these matters will not be applicable until the week after next (3.10.08).

As we have discussed, the midterm has three primary components. Below, those components will be outlined with corresponding particulars:

1. Presentations and Text (next Wednesday and Friday):
(a.) Expect to present for five minutes and facilitate questions for five minutes.

(b.) Concerning the content of your presentations, be sure to (i) introduce your topic with a clear thesis statement, addressing "the problem" of the history of philosophy, using Law and Obenga as your primary texts; (ii) clearly review/present the arguments that Law and Obenga offer, concerning the history of philosophy-- the structure of their texts/claims/theses; and (iii) share your judgments/determinations with the class, concerning the "problem" of the history of philosophy, focused on whose arguments were most compelling, what worked and what did not work with their narratives.

(c.) During the presentation, be sure to (i) clearly introduce the topic, problem and the way your LC will address the problem at the outset of your presentation; (ii) utilize learning aids-- power point presentation, handouts, etc.-- so that your audience can follow along with your presentation (also, have a back up plan in the event that the expected technology is not available or breaks down); (iii) turn in a text of your learning aid for full credit; and (iv) make sure that everyone in your LC has an opportunity to speak.

Note: Everyone must be ready to present and have text in hand on Wednesday.

2. Comprehensive Learning Assessment (projected, next Friday):
Concerning the Comprehensive Learning Assessment (CLA), it will be on all that we have learned, from the first week of class, to date. Moving forward, think through the following:

(a.) The CLA will be similar to the Learning Assessments that we had on Law and Obenga (do not expect an open notebook).

(b.) Be sure that you all can think and write responsibly on the following: the definition of philosophy; MEAL; the SAC method; BWRITES; Socrates, the Socratic Method and praxis; Fallacies, all 13 that were posted on a former blog, to deploy them in real world circumstances; the key claims of Law and Obenga concerning the history of philosophy; and the axiological import of Dr. Clarke's webcast (see priory post for the video, also if it happens to be unavailable at a given moment, persist, it will eventually come back online).

3. Three to Five Page Writing Entry (next Friday):
As we discussed in class, the options with respect to how this paper can be written have been enlarged. What follows are a list of choices and "literary situations" that you all can put yourselves in to complete this writing entry. Using Law and Obenga as your primary resources, choose from one of the following options:

(a) Write an op-ed (opinion editorial, go to the "Opinion" section of a given paper for further reference) paper on the challenges of reconciling the claims that Law and Obenga make with respect to the history of philosophy, privileging your voice/judgment on what "the fact" of the matter is all about.

(b) Create a blog entry on the problem of the history of philosophy.

(c) Send an e-mail to a friend on the history of philosophy.

(d) Write a letter or send an e-mail to either author for further clarity on the history of philosophy, addressing the other author's account. For example, if I am writing to Obenga, I am writing him, with criticism, in such a way where I clearly write about his thesis and supporting claims (all of them!), but then ask him about Law and retrace Law's narrative (four eras, and supporting iterations). So, maybe my fundamental question for Obenga, on Law is: Why do you think Law does not talk about Egypt's influence on Greek Philosophy? (I can also ask him about problems that I have with his text.) If I am writing to Law, I would write to him clearly demonstrating that I know about his fundamental claims (again, four primary categories, etc.) with respect to the history of philosophy. Yet, I would ask him about Obenga, retracing his narrative (again, thesis and supporting claims/evidence), to get to the fundamental point: Why the absence of Egypt in your account of philosophy's history? Naturally, there are other questions that can be asked of either author, the former were just representative examples that can be used to develop.

(e) Draft a text, as if you were presenting it at an academic conference or lecturing a class, on the history of philosophy, and its "conflicting" narratives. Here, too, I want you to take a clear position on the matter, based on whose account appears to be developed best via reason, arguments, evidence, etc.

Note: When you turn in your papers, be sure to clearly indicate which literary situation you have assumed in your text.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fallacies Webcast, With Someone You May Know (All)

Two weeks ago, I encouraged you all to attend an event on Fallacies in the real world, presented by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, at Politics and Prose Book store: "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes." (Consider doing a book review for extra credit, see syllabus and me for further reference.)

Well, that webcast was filmed and televised on C-SPAN this past weekend. As such, I have posted the link "Here" that can prove informative: (1) It can help you all think through fallacies in new and practical ways, in preparation for the coming Midterm Learning Assessment and (2) There is chubby guy at the end of the video, that many of us may recognize, who is asking a question about fallacies that speaks to the lived-limits of informal-logic.

*Extra Credit: For the next class, if any students can turn in a text that restates the question posed by the chubby guy (me, hint hint) and assess the author/s' response determining if there were any fallacies committed, or any limitations, extra credit points will be earned.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

For Week Five (BSU: 1124, 1125; PGCC: 2205)

Given that many of us did not have class on Friday, 2.23.08, I want you all to take note of the following in preparation for Week Five:

1. Be responsible for the prior post (Thursday, February 21, 2008; 11:35am) for class on Monday.

2. For class on Monday, read the next 20 pages in Obenga's text, 67 - 87. Focus on each part of the text (structure or subheading). Be able to understand the key "thesis" of each part (its essential point/s) and be able to SAC (see syllabus) each part.

3. For class on Friday, see the first 3o:40 "minutes" of Wesley Snipes 1997 documentary on the late Pan-Africanist and Historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke: "A Great and Mighty Walk." Naturally, you are encouraged to view the documentary in its entirety (it covers "the story" of John Henrik Clarke's life and Africana - Africa and her Diaspora - history). But, for the purposes of this week, in preparation for your "Midterm," I want you all to take a critical note of his (political) interpretation of History, focused on the relationship between Greece and Nile Valley Civilization (culminating in Egypt).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Updates, PGCC: 2215, 6 - 9 pm

Note: The following post is only applicable to my PGCC class, "2215" (M, 6-9pm) for this coming Monday, 2.25.08. Further, this post may appear like allot of work, because it is. Recall that we have missed two weeks of class due to holidays.

For class this coming Monday, take note of the following:

1. Print the citation style manual for the course (see prior post), bring to class and be ready to take a Learning Assessment (LA) on how to make citations for our class.

2. Be ready to take a comprehensive LA on all 13 fallacies that we were exposed to in class (see prior post for further reference).

3. Be ready to turn in the following: Critique #3, Speech Analysis or Daily Show/Colbert Report Analysis (see prior post); assignment on 13 critiques in the world (see prior post... again, you can turn this in individually or as a Learning Community); Learning Community, or individual, Learning Assessment on ALL 13 fallacies.

4. Come to class having read the following for Week 3: the text on John Stewart (class handout); the link to the text, written by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, “Introduction: Who Are We?” (see prior post).

5. Come to class having read the following for this week, Week 4 (see syllabus): the text by Stephen Law (class handout, beneath the text "What is Philosophy") on "The History of Philosophy;" and Obenga's text (class handout), 51 - 66. For this week, you will not be writing a critique. Though, expect a Learning Assessment on the assigned readings.

Note: Any questions, be sure to reach out to me BEFORE class.

Updates: LA, Obenga, Extra Credit (BSU: 1124, 1125; PGCC: 2205)

For class this coming Friday, 2.22.08, take note of the following:

1. There will be a Learning Assessment (LA) on Law's text this Friday, in place of a critique. Be sure to know how the text is structured, the key features of each philosophical era, how each era relates to MEAL (see syllabus), what the SAC method is all about (see syllabus), and what "story" Law is trying to tell.
- For those that want to earn extra credit points (see syllabus) write a critique on Law's text for this week. It can be useful insofar as it can help you prepare for Friday's LA.

2. On this Friday's reading for Obenga, read pages 51 - 66. Upon reading said pages, you will need to know how his text is structured for class (which is about what points he is trying to prove, i.e. the "Etymology of the Word Philosophy," "Definition of the Sage...," "Egypt Contributed to the Birth of Greek Philosophy").
- To really understand Obenga's text, read the "Conclusion" (100 - 101). His primary intent and argument is made explicitly clear.
- You do not have to read the following texts for Friday. However, to facilitate your understanding of Obenga's text, in preparation for your "Midterm," take heed of the following links: on the limits of "philosophical reasoning" and the value of explaining certain moral truths through story and ritual, see “The Secrets of Obama’s Success and Why He’ll Keep Winning – He Listens to George Lakoff” (Pensito Review, February 20, 2008) (accessed February 21, 2008); and see the text Thinking Points (Rockridge Institute, 2007) (accessed February 21, 2008). In the latter text, focus on Ch. 1 for a critique on "philosophical reasoning;" Ch. 3 for how the brain works, concerning reasoning and emotion; and Ch. 8 on the contrast between "philosophical reasoning" vs. "narrative reasoning," in action.

3. For extra credit this Friday, come to class with a clear understanding of what fallacies are all about.
- The classroom link will not be posted, as we discussed. (It was intended to be a closed-notebook and "pop" extra credit opportunity.) Instead, you will have the opportunity to earn extra credit points in class tomorrow-- to the degree that you can demonstrate your understanding of fallacies. Also, start studying for the Midterm LA on all that we have experienced to date.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Event this Friday!

On Friday, February 15, 7 p.m., Thomas Cathcart and Allison Hampton will be presenting their text on “Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington" ( at Politics and Prose bookstore,, (5015 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, 202-364-1919).

Going to see this presentation can prove useful on a few levels: (1) it coincides with the theme of the week, on fallacies, and it can be an opportunity for you all to see "fallacies-in-the-world;" (2) it can serve as a five-point extra credit opportunity (see syllabus for further reference); and (3) you might just simply enjoy the event and the opportunity to talk about philosophy with your peers.

Note: for those that are thinking about attending, be sure to view the link to the text above so that you can have a general idea of the text being presented; and if you can, reach out to me, in class or via this blog, and let me know if you plan on attending.

Moreover, to get a flavor of this "dynamic duo" check out the following webcast, where they talk about their former bestselling book on philosophy and humor "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" and preview their current text, "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington":

Updates: For Friday 2.15.08 (BSU: 1124, 1125; PGCC: 2205)

Concerning class for this coming Friday (2.15.08), I want to remind you all of what the expectations are:

1. Come to class having read the text on fallacies in the world as mediated by "The Daily Show." (Class handout.)

2. Come to class having read George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s chapter, “Introduction: Who Are We?" (The link is in a prior blog.)

3. Come to class with Week Three's Critique (be sure to integrate appropriate citations this week), or one of the Substitution options. (Speech analysis; or an analysis of "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report"-- see prior post.)

4. Come to class ready to turn in the following projects: (a) at least five copies of your group's Learning Assessment on all of the 13 fallacies posted in a previous blog, ready to administer your Learning Assessment to your fellow Learning Community peers and (b) a group or individual text on fallacies (Monday's assignment on defining all 13 and finding-posting real world examples).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Week Three Critique Substitution (All)

For those students that are interested in doing the alternative assignment, in the place of Week Three's critique, the following resources can prove useful.

Option One:

Analyze a given political speech and identify at least six fallacies. In this respect, you are expected to turn in a document that:

1. Briefly summarizes what you are going to do;

2. A proper citation of the speech;

3. Alongside the following:(a) a list of the passages you are quoting, (b) an identification of the fallacy said passage represents and (c)your argument for why said passage is the fallacy that you have listed.

Further, here are links to representative speeches that can be assessed:

1. A webcast and text of Zell Miller's "controversial," "2004 Republican National Convention Address" (American Rhetoric, 2004) (accessed February 13, 2008).

2. George W. Bush's second inaugural address, "President Sworn-In to Second Term" (The White House, January 20, 2005) (accessed February 13, 2008).

3. And Stephen Colbert (from "The Colbert Report")"controversial" speech, "Colbert Roasts President Bush - 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner" (Google Video, C-SPAN, April29, 2006) (accessed February 13, 2008). Remember, Stephen Colbert is a satirist and is "trying" to be funny, though, at the same time he makes allot of fallacious claims.

Option Two:

You can analyze at least two episodes from "The Daily Show" ( or "The Colbert Report" ( and identify at least three fallacies in both episodes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Daily Show Links (All)

Per our class discussion today, I want to encourage you all to view the following links to see John Stewart of "The Daily Show" in action. Moreover, I want to encourage you all to see the following links (no more than 6min each) before you read the text on fallacies and "The Daily Show" to give you all some useful context:

1. See "Chris Matthews" (The Daily Show, October 2, 2007)
(accessed February 11, 2008).

2. See "Jonah Goldberg" (The Daily Show, January 16, 2008) (accessed February 11, 2008).

Note: To facilitate your learning, try to identify the fallacies that are being made and/or the reason why John Stewart is saying that a given claim that is being made (either by Chris Matthews or Jonah Goldberg) is fallacious.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Useful News Links

To put yourselves in positions to be more aware and conscious citizens, at the same time being able to contribute something to our classroom news updates, consider briefly reviewing the following news links:

1. For a daily report on world news, visit BBC News for further reference,

2. For a daily report on world news, see one of the most acclaimed resources in the Middle East,,

3. For what many call the U.S.'s "newspaper of record," visit the New York Times online,

4. For opinion journalism, consider the following links: Washington Post "Opinions,"⊂=AR; Common Dreams News Center,; Democracy Now, daily webcast,;The Weekly Standard,; The Wall Street Journal, Opinion,; and Town,

Naturally there are many other websites to consider. But for the purposes of the class, briefly reviewing the BBC or the New York Times websites will suffice.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Update: Finding Fallacies in the World (Bowie, 1124, 1125; PGCC, 2205)

In light of this Monday's tasks, concerning fallacies, consider the following:

1. Instead of only having the option to turn this assignment in as a group project, you all can also turn this in individually. However, working as a group can prove valuable for two primary reasons: (1) you can "divide and conquer" the task; and (2) it can put you in a better space to prepare for the week's collaborative Learning Assessment on fallacies.

2. Be sure to visit "The Colbert Report" (2008) (accessed February 8, 2008), on the net. Today, I saw a number of intentional fallacies (mindful that this show is a parody on "the day's" social and political matters), such that one can use this source to find many real world examples of fallacies.

Towards Week Three's Critique (All)

For Week Three (February 11- 15, 2008), two new texts have been incorporated into the week. As such, here are the readings and the corresponding matters to consider, "Towards Week Three's Critique" (all classes):

  1. Negate the text on the syllabus and read the text under, “Fallacies” (The Nizkor Project, 1991-2008) (accessed February 7, 2008). Have a clear idea on what "fallacies" are all about, as defined by the text.
  2. After reading said text, know the following fallacies, and be able to demonstrate representative examples (in the real world) of the following fallacies, at the abovementioned website: Ad Hominem; Appeal to Authority; Begging the Question; Burden of Proof; Confusing Cause and Effect; False Dilemma; Genetic Fallacy; Poisoning the Well; Red Herring; Slippery Slope; Special Pleading; Straw Man; and Two Wrongs Make a Right.
  3. And read George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s chapter, “Introduction: Who Are We?” in Philosophy in the Flesh (New York Times, 1999) (accessed February 7, 2008), to get a better idea on the strengths and weaknesses of classical philosophical conceptions of "reason." Note, the text is rich with new and technical language. Do not despair. Read the text such that it can be incorporated into your "Critiques," to the degree that it gives an account on how people reason (via emotion, ideology, values, context, etc.), as portrayed by the empirical evidence gathered by cognitive scientists.

Projected Course Schedule (All)

The following schedule is subject to modification, inasmuch as some topics may take more time, or less, to address than others.


1. Introduction to Philosophy

(a) Define Philosophy and review subfields, as the acronym MEAL (Metaphysics,

Epistemology, Axiology and Logic) defining the subfields of the discipline, applied as the acronym BWRITES (Being in the World, Writing, Reading, Thinking and Speaking) and the SAC method (determining if a given framework makes Sense, is based off of reasonable Assumptions, to assess its likely Consequences) focused on the skills that will be developed in the class.

(b) Read Stephen Law’s text “Introducing Philosophy” (handout, will be put on course-

reserve at the Thurgood Marshall Library; Law, 1 – 21).

- For more information on the branches of philosophy, see “Chapter 1: Web Links” Philosophy the Power of Ideas (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2007) (accessed January 24, 2008).


1. Socrates, The Socratic Method and Praxis

(a) Read “Socrates: The Masterly Interrogator” (20 – 23) in required text The Story of

Philosophy (Magee).

(b) Read, Benjamin Jowett’s translation of Plato’s “Apology” (The Internet

Classic Archive, 2000) (January 24,


(c) View, “Cornel West” highlighting Socrates and the 2005 text Democracy Matters

(webcast) (, at Sonoma State University, posted January 25, 2008) (accessed January 27, 2008).

- For further reference, view, “Socrates” (webcast), in History: In Our Time (BBC Radio 4, September 27, 2007)

(accessed January 24, 2008).

- For further reference on the Socratic Method, see Ken Samples text “The

Socratic Method” (Stand to Reason, 2008) (accessed January

24, 2008).

WEEKS 3 - 5

1. A Philosopher’s Tool Kit

(a) Read the text at the web-link “Logic and Fallacies” in Philosophy the Power of Ideas

(McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2007) (accessed January 24, 2008).

2. Comparative History of Philosophy

(a) Midterm review; read “The History of Philosophy” (handout, will be put on course-

reserve at the Thurgood Marshall Library, Stephen Law, 24 – 43).

(b) Read “The African Origin of Philosophy” (handout, will be put on course-reserve at

the Thurgood Marshall Library, Theophile Obenga, 50 – 101).

WEEKS 6 - 9

1. Read, The Story of Philosophy (Required text, Bryan Magee).

(a) Week 6: read “Introduction;” “The Greeks and Their World” (the

Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, The Cynics, The Sceptics, The Epicureans and The Stoics); “Christianity and Philosophy” (Saint Augustine and Medieval Philosophy).


(b) Week 7: Midterm presentations; read “The Beginnings of Modern Science”

(Copernicus to Newton, Machiavelli, Francis Bacon and Hobbes); “The Great Rationalists” (Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz); “The Great Empiricists” (Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Burke).

(c) Week 8: read “Revolutionary French Thinkers” (Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau); “A

Golden Century of German Philosophy” (Kant, Schopenhauer, Eastern and

Western Philosophy Compared, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche).

(d) Week 9: read “Democracy and Philosophy” (The Utilitarians and The American

Pragmatists); “20th Century Philosophy” (Frege and Modern Logic, Russell and

Analytic Philosophy, Wittgenstein and Linguistic Philosophy, Existentialism, Bergson and Recent French Philosophy, Popper and The Future of Philosophy).

- For access to comprehensive links on Western Philosophy and full-texts, see Brooke Moore and Kenneth Bruder’s companion website to the text Philosophy: The Power of Ideas, 7/e (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2007) (accessed January 24, 2008).

WEEKS 10 - 13

1. Read the following chapters in Africana Studies (Required text, ed. Mario


(a) Week 10: Final examination review; read, “Africa and the Genesis of Humankind”

(R. Hunt Davis, Jr.); “Legitimate Trade, Diplomacy and the Slave Trade” (M. Alpha Bah); “Diaspora Africans and Slavery” (Raymond Gavins);

(b) Week 11: read “European Exploration and Conquest of Africa” (Mario Azevedo);

“Civil War to Civil Rights: The Quest for Freedom and Equality” (Marsha Jean Darling); and (optional) “The Caribbean: From Emancipation to Independence” (Nikongo Ba’Nikongo).

(c) Week 12: read “Africa’s Road to Independence (1945 – 1960)” (Julius E. Nyang’oro);

“The Pan African Movement” (Michael Williams).

(d) Week 13: read “The Contemporary African World” (Luis B. Serapiao) and

“Contemporary Diaspora and the Future” (Alphine W. Jefferson).

WEEKS 14 - 16

1. Read the following chapters in African Philosophy (Required text, ed.

Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze) and web-links.

(a) Week 14: Final examination review; read “African, African American, Africana

Philosophy” (Lucius Outlaw);

and “Modern Western Philosophy and African Colonialism” (E. Chukwudi Eze).

(b) Week 15: see “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

( (Frederick Douglass); read “The

Illusions of Race” (Kwame Anthony Appiah); see “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to

Break Silence” ( (Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.).

(c) Week 16: Final Research paper reviews; read “Black Women Shaping Feminist

Theory” (bell hooks); “Colonialism and the Colonized: Violence and Counter-Violence” (Tsnay Serequeberhan); see “Executive Summary” of In Larger Freedom (Kofi Annan) (; read “Prophetic Pragmatism” (Cornel West) on course-reserve.