PHI 381: CLASSICAL AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY
                                                        §58792, Autumn 1999, Dr. Moen
 

Office: A204-I, phone x4528                                                            Office hrs: M,W  11:30-12:30
Home phone: 243-8261 M,                                                                                     W     4:30- 5:30
E-mail: moen@mail.hartford.edu                                                                            R     2:00- 4:00
Homepage: moen@mail.hartford.edu/~moen                                              & by appointment

 I. Description of Course Content: This course concentrates on major thinkers and themes
    during the "classical" period of American philosophy (1870-1945) in the United States. It
    sets the background for the classical period by introducing some earlier U.S. thinkers, and
    then turns to its focus on C.S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, John Dewey and G.H.
    Mead. It includes also W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Jane Addams, Charlotte P. Gilman,
    and George Santayana. The purpose of the course is to reach an understanding of the
    authors’ reasoning—an understanding that is both empathic and critical, and is mindful of
    the historical and cultural contexts to which the authors were responding. The course ends
    with discussion of the contemporary renewal of interest in "pragmatism"—the most
    distinctive strand of American philosophy—and diverse directions present within that renewal.

II. Texts:
    A. Required texts for purchase:
          1. Stuhr, John, ed. Classical American Philosophy: Essential Readings and
                Interpretive Essays. Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 1987. [hereafter "Stuhr"]

2. Rosenthal, Sandra, C.Hausman and D Anderson, eds. Classical American
    Pragmatism: Its Contemporary Vitality. Chicago: U Illinois Press, 1999.
    [hereafter "RHA"]
    B. Other required texts, and recommended readings:
          • Required readings from Du Bois, Locke, Addams, and Gilman will be on
            reserve in Mortenson Library.
• Other materials on reserve for the course in Mortenson will be mentioned
    from time to time as recommended readings. These materials will also
    serve as good starting points for your research papers.
    C. On-line resources: a list of recommended sites will be provided.

III. Goals and Objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will be
        able to meet the following objectives:
 
          • to identify main themes of classical American philosophy, its major
            contributors, and some specific contributions of each of the latter
          • to identify historical and cultural conditions in and through which those
            themes emerged, and those contributors attained voice and recognition
          • to compare and contrast distinct agendas and methodologies put
            forward by different thinkers within our classical period (1870-1945

to read and understand primary source material in philosophy, by practicing
    both  modes of analytical reading: the empathic and the critical
• to extract significant concepts and arguments from primary texts
• to begin to evaluate these arguments with regard to their strengths and
   limitations; their implications   for further inquiry; and their potential impact
    on ‘real-world’ issues

to conduct inquiry for a short independent project. This means to sense the
   presence of a conceptual and/or practical problem; to specify the problem;
   to gather relevant  information as needed and interpret that information
   conceptually
• to assess the results of the inquiry project and to suggest further directions
   of inquiry

to express the results of interpretive study, and the results of inquiry, in prose
   that is clear, logically sound, and effectively structured.

These specific course objectives are in keeping the the general goals of the
Philosophy Department, which are to foster students’ growth in four areas:
(1) basic knowledge of philosophical history and practice; (2) analytical-interpretive
reading; (3) design and conduct of inquiry; and (4) expression/communication,
especially in speech and writing.
 

IV. Assignments and Grading:
• Ten (10) "daily" writing assignments @ 10 points each                       100 points
These will average 1-2 pages each.

• Three (3) take-home exams (essays) @ 100 points each                   300 points
These should be 3-5 pages each.

• Independent research paper, 8-10 pages                                              100 points
You will also report briefly to the class on your research.

Participation: attendance, appropriate participation in class
discussions and small-group work, occasional on-line
assignments, and maintenance of a "portfolio" consisting
of your collected written work for the course.                                           100 points

                                                                                                            total: 600 points

V. Rules and Expectations:
1. Attend every class. Have assignments for the day completed. Be respectful of
    your  co-learners  (classmates and professor).

          Ordinarily late assignments will suffer a grade penalty and will not be
           accepted at all after one week. (Penalty: 20 points for each late day on
           exams and papers worth 100 points; 2 points per late day on daily writing
           assignments worth 10 points each.) Exceptions will be made in special
           circumstances such as serious illness, travel with athletic teams, etc.

2. You are encouraged to study together; you may brainstorm together in
    preparation  for papers; but in the end, your written work must be your own.
    Plagiarism consists of presenting someone else’s work as though it were
    your own. The penalty is failure for the entire course. While working on your
    independent research paper, be sure to  use proper documentation. Ask
    for advice if you are uncertain.
VI. Tentative Schedule: We will try to follow this schedule as closely as possible, but
        there will probably be changes. In case you miss a class, it is your responsibility
        to inform yourself about any changes in schedule so that you can come properly
        prepared to the next class. Repeat: be on the alert for announced changes!
 
  DATE        READING DUE FOR DISCUSSION  
              and other learning activities 
 WRITTEN WORK DUE
W 9/1 Introduction to the course and to one another   
M 9/6 LABOR DAY HOLIDAY - NO CLASS   
W 9/8 Read: Introductions to the two main texts.  
In-class viewing of video on Transcendentalism
Response to text "Introductions" (1 page) 
 
M 9/13 In-class viewing of video on the Pragmatists   
W 9/15 Discussion of text "Intro"s and of videos Response to the two videos. (1 page) 
M 9/20 INTRODUCING PEIRCE:   
Peirce (in Stuhr): [total = 12 pages]  
- p. 32, from "Some consequences..."  
- pp. 33-37, fr. "How to make ideas clear"  
- pp. 62-63, "Phenomenology"  
- pp. 81-84, "Methodeutic" (fr. "Fixation")  

Lachs (in RHA):   
- pp. 75-84, "Peirce: Inquiry as social 
  life"  
 

   
"Prep-sheet" on Peirce,   
pp. 33-37, from "How to   
make ideas clear"  

NB: precise format for prep-sheets is explained below, following this schedule.   
(probably 1-2 pages)

W 9/22 INTRODUCING JAMES:  
James (in Stuhr): [total = 14 pages]  
- pp. 125-29, "World of pure experience"  
- pp. 135-43, "What Pragmatism means"  
- pp. 152-54, fr. "Moral philosopher, 
   moral life"  
- pp. 171-72, fr. "Will to believe"  

Seigfried (in RHA):  
- pp. 84-95, "James: Sympathetic  
   apprehension of  the point of view 
   of the other"

   
Prep-sheet on James, pp. 135-43, "What Pragmatism means."  

 

M 9/27 INTRODUCING ROYCE:  
Royce (in Stuhr): [total = 13 pages]  
- pp. 224-232, fr. "The Body and its 
   members"  
- pp. 245-248. fr. "Loyalty to loyalty" 
   
Prep-sheet on Royce, pp.  224-232, "The Body and   
its members"
W 9/29 INTRODUCE SANTAYANA & DU BOIS:  
Santayana (in Stuhr): [total = 5 pages]  
- pp. 277-78 Preface-"Scepticism & 
  animal faith"  
- pp. 279-81 "Ultimate scepticism"  

Du Bois (on reserve in Mortenson Lib.)  
- exact readings T.B.A. (to be arranged) 

   
Prep-sheet on either Santayana, pp. 279-81, "Ultimate scepticism" OR  
Du Bois reading.
M 10/4 INTRODUCING DEWEY:  
Dewey (in Stuhr): [total = 21 pages]  
- p.359, fr. "Experience & philosophic  
  method"   
- pp. 383-88, "The Lost individual"  
- pp. 388-95, fr. "Search for the great  
  community"  
- pp. 400-405, "The Live creature and  
  aesthetic experience"  

Guinlock (in RHA):   
- pp. 224-236, "Dewey: Creative intelligence  
 and emergent reality"  

* Take-home exam #1 distributed at end of class. Due in 1 week. 

   
Prep-sheet on Dewey, pp. 383-88, "Lost individual"
W 10/6 INTRODUCING MEAD:  
Mead (in Stuhr): [ 13 pages]  
- pp. 430-32, "Social psychology, 
  behaviorism, and the concept of 
  gesture"  
- pp. 443-49, "The Nature of reflective  
  intelligence"  
- pp. 447-50, "The Self and the organism"  
- pp. 450-52, "Self, generalized other, ‘I’ 
  and ‘me’"  
  
Aboulafia (in RHA):  
- pp. 120-133, "Mead: Social experience 
  and  the individual"    

* Sign-up sheet provided in class —  
  appointments for individual conferences    
  next week.

   
Prep-sheet on Mead, pp.  
450-452, "Self, generalized other, ‘I’ and 
 ‘me.’"
M 10/11 Individual conferences to assess progress and plan independent research project.  ** Take-home exam #1  
due. 
W 10/13 Individual conferences continued. # Research paper topic and initial bibliography due. 
M 10/18 REVISITING PEIRCE:   
We will now read through most of the Peirce selections in Stuhr, including what we read before. The page numbers listed for particular days below are approximate. They are meant to help you pace your extended reading of Peirce. You will receive advice in class about what you should concentrate on and what, if anything, you may skip from the material on pages 13-48.   

You will be assigned to small, in-class groups. For purposes of your written response to this material, different groups will concentrate on different readings. Groups will work together for part of the class period, and then will report to the whole class.  

- Peirce (in Stuhr): pp. 13-48 (This includes a  
 brief introductory section by Ketner).  

Begin reading one of the following (to be  
assigned) from RHA:  
- Colapietro, "Peirce’s Guess at the riddle 
  of rationality: deliberative imagination as 
  the personal locus of human practice"  
- Anderson, "Peirce: Ethics and the conduct 
  of life"  
- Hausman, "Evolutionary realism and 
   Charles  Peirce’s pragmatism"

   
Prep-sheet on an assigned segment of today’s Peirce material from Stuhr.  

NB: everyone in a particular group will do a prep-sheet on the same material. Nobody   
is responsible for a prep-sheet on al l of the new Peirce material.  

Your group affiliation and your group’s precise assignment will be based on your particular interests and the instructor’s discretion.

W 10/20 Again, you will be instructed during the previous   
class period regarding which segments of the   
reading you should concentrate on most.  

- Peirce (in Stuhr): pp. 49-65   

- Continue working on one of the articles on  
Peirce in RHA (i.e. Colapietro, Anderson, or Hausman). 

# Prospectus for research paper due. (To be somewhat more developed than your original statement of topic.)  

 

M 10/25 (Segments for concentration to be determined).  
-Peirce (in Stuhr): pp. 66-91  

- Continue working on one of the articles on Peirce  in RHA (i.e. Colapietro, Anderson, or Hausman). 

Prep-sheet on an assigned segment of the Peirce  material OR on one of the articles from RHA.
W 10/27 REVISITING JAMES:   
(Segments for concentration to be determined).  
-James (in Stuhr): pp. 93-125  

Begin reading one of the following (to be assigned) from RHA:  
- Stuhr, "William James’s pragmatism:  
  purpose, practice, and pluralism"  
- Fontinell, "James: religion and 
  individuality"  
- Parker, "James: experience & creative  
  growth" 

# Annotated bibliography   
for independent research papers due.  

(The type and extent of  
annotation expected will   
be explained in class.)  

 

M 11/1 (Segments for concentration to be determined).  
-James (in Stuhr): pp. 125-76  

- Continue working on one of the articles on  James in RHA (i.e. Stuhr, Fontinell, or Parker).  

* Take-home exam #2 distributed at end of class. Due in 1 week. 

Prep-sheet on an assigned segment of today’s James material from the Stuhr  
anthology.  

 

W 11/3 REVISITING ROYCE:  
(Segments for concentration to be determined).  
- Royce (in Stuhr): pp. 178-244 
 
M 11/8 (Segments for concentration to be determined).  
- Royce (in Stuhr): pp. 245-67 
** Take-home exam #2 due.
W 11/10 REVISITING DEWEY:   
(Segments for concentration to be determined).  
- Dewey (in Stuhr): pp. 320-68  

Begin reading one of the following (to be assigned) from RHA:  
- Boisvert, "From the Biological to the  
  logical: John Dewey’s logic as a theory of 
  inquiry"  
- Hickman, "Dewey: pragmatic technology 
  and community life"  
- Alexander, "John Dewey and the 
  aesthetics of human experience"

 
M 11/15 (Segments for concentration to be determined).  
- Dewey (in Stuhr): pp. 369-87  

- Jane Addams: on reserve in Mortenson Library;  
  exact readings to be announced  
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman: on reserve in  
   Mortenson; exact readings to be announced   

- Continue working on one of the articles on  
  Dewey in RHA (i.e. Boisvert, Hickman, or  
  Alexander). 

Prep-sheet on an assigned segment of the Dewey  
material. 
W 11/17 (Segments for concentration to be determined).  
- Dewey (in Stuhr): pp. 388-417  
   
- Continue working on one of the articles on  
   Dewey in RHA (i.e. Boisvert, Hickman, or  
   Alexander). 
# Complete draft of   
research paper due.
M 11/22 AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY  
during the Classical Period  

- Du Bois: on reserve in Mortenson Library;  
   exact readings to be announced  
- Alain Locke: on reserve in Mortenson  
   Library; exact readings to be announced  

* Take-home exam #3 distributed at end of  
  class. (A little more than a week away.)

Prep-sheet on an assigned selection from Du Bois or Locke.
W 11/24 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY - NO CLASS   
M 11/29 REVISITING MEAD:  
(Segments for concentration to be determined).  
-Mead (in Stuhr): pp. 419-32; 443-50; 
  460-68  

Read one of the following from RHA:  
- Rosenthal, "Mead: behavior and the  
  perceived world"  
- Singer, "Mead: the nature of rights"  
- Cook, "Mead: the many faces of 
  processive creativity" 

 
W 12/1 THE CONTEMPORARY RESURGENCE   
of Pragmatism as a Philosophy  

Recommended readings on this topic will be on reserve in Mortenson Library. Specific recommen-dations will be announced; they will doubtless include Cornel West, Richard Rorty, Charlene Seigfried and Nancy Fraser. 

** Take-home exam #3 due.
M 12/6 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS  
Each student will be assigned a particular time on one of these last three days for sharing the results of his or her research project with the class. These presentations will be informal and should take no more than 5-10 minutes each. 
 
W 12/8 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS   
M 12/13 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS  
 
# Final Draft Research  
Paper Due.
   Back to Moen homepage.  
 

VII. Other Relevant Information Regarding Assignments:

A. "What’s a prep-sheet ?!" A prep-sheet is somewhat like a journal entry, but with a specific content
and format.

It enables you to come to class well prepared for listening and discussion.
Initially our discussions will be conducted as a whole class. Later you will
work together, on certain days, in smaller groups. The prep-sheets will greatly
facilitate productive small-group work.

Format for a prep-sheet: a prep-sheet has four parts: Analysis, Evaluation,
Directions for Inquiry, and Personal Response. Here they are in more detail:

1. ANALYSIS:

a. State what is being said. That is, summarize the author’s argument.
b. Situate what is said, in terms of its historical and cultural context
2. EVALUATION: a. Determine the strength of the argument. Consider both its internal
    logic and how well it stands up against your knowledge from other
    sources and your own reasoning.
b. Determine the significance of the argument. Ask yourself "What
    difference does it make?" Think both about the difference it would
    have made in its original context, and about what difference it might
    make today. To what contemporary issues and problems would the
    author’s ideas be relevant? How might we need to "reconstruct" any
    of those ideas to make them useful to us today?
3. INQUIRY: a. What questions for further inquiry does your evaluation of this
    argument suggest? What does the author need to explain or
    investigate next?
b. What uses might we make of the author’s ideas and arguments
    in relation to problems we face today? You may consider both
    social problems and conceptual problems. How would you
    reconstruct the ideas to make them more servicable in today’s
    world?
4. PERSONAL RESPONSE: Please add any thoughts and feelings you have about the material
that did not seem to fit in the previous sections of this prep-sheet.
If you have not already indicated what you found most interesting
in this material, do that here.
 
Here is one way to remember what should be on a prep-sheet:
I. Analysis: summarize and situate
II. Evaluation: strength and significance
III. Inquiry: suggestions for use and refinement
IV. Personal Response: (self)   Note:
The most important part of your prep-sheet is the Analysis—especially when
you are first learning to do a prep-sheet. Concentrate on that. As the course
goes on, the Analysis will become much easier. I will then ask you to concentrate
a larger portion of your effort on other parts of the prep-sheet.

• A prep-sheet will probably require 1-2 pages, if it is planned well. If you find
it helpful to write more than that, however, you are free to do so. Prep-sheets
should be typed, preferably on a word-processor.

• I will provide you with a sample prep-sheet or two, to help you understand
what you need to do.
 

B. Your Independent Research Paper: You will receive further instructions on the research paper in a separate handout.
This assignment should be especially fun for you! —it is here that you will
investigate a topic of particular interest to you. The possibilities are vast. You
might pick a specific aspect of the work of one of our primary authors, such as
Dewey’s theory of art, or James’s philosophy of religion. You might focus one
of the authors with whom we are dealing with in class less extensively, such
as Addams or DuBois. You might research a more general topic such as the
relationof Native American thought to American philosophy, or the contemporary
revival of classical American pragmatism (Of course you would narrow these
somewhat.)
 
C. Take-Home Exams (Essays): • These are intended to test your understanding of the assigned readings.
I will give you three questions. You will pick one of these and write an essay
(3-5 pages) answering it. These are interpretive-analytical essays. They
require careful reading of texts, and they require thinking. They do not require
research beyond assigned texts.

• Rewrites will normally be permitted, but only providing the paper was
originally submitted on time. Ordinarily there is no re-write option on
late papers.
 

D. Course Portfolio: This is not extra work. It is simply a matter of keeping all of your written work
for the course together in one place, organizing it, and re-submitting it to
me in a single notebook or folder at the end of the course. Portfolios are
especially useful in assessing a student’s progress.
 
E. Electronic Discussions and Use of Phi 381 Web-Pages : • Please make sure that you have an e-mail account. If you are not
comfortable using e-mail, or if you do not know how to access a web-page,
please let me know as soon as possible. The degree to which students use
these tools in this course will vary. For some of you it may be minimal; for
others, it will be extensive. But everyone does need to be able to use them.
I will help anyone who needs it arrange for basic instruction.

• When feasible, I will post "study help" on my homepage rather than using
hardcopy handouts. I will also post any changes in assignments, or other
relevant announcements, so that if you forget something that was announced
in class, you can consult the web page to refresh your memory. Another type
of help that you fill find on my web page is a set of links to sites of special
value to students of American philosophy.

• We will be organizing some mode of electronic discussion of course-related
issues. You will not be required to participate in this exchange. However,
intelligent participation may make you eligible for extra credit.

VIII. FINALLY: Do communicate with me! Make me aware of any course-related problems
                you are having. Give me your suggestions for improving the course. Tell me your
                likes and dislikes. I will exercise my judgment, but the more students I receive
                feedback from, the better my judgment can serve the class as a whole. Utilize
                my Office Hours (or make an appointment) whenever you want extra help with
                the course. If it is more convenient, consult me by e-mail.    Communicate with one another also! Study groups are usually very helpful in
    relation to philosophy. Think seriously about starting a group, or finding a study
    partner. Help one another out.          P.S. — I’m really looking forward to this!