Phil 107: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 107: Reflections on Human Nature

Fall 2009

CRN 62479 MW 5-6:20 PM Location: D205


Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: M 1:30-2:30 PM, W 3:00-4:00 PM or by appointment
Location: I will hold my office hours in the new coffee shop in the D-100 building

Course Objectives: This course explores the issues and problems exemplified in process of meaningful philosophical activity relating to the topic of human nature. Studies in this course survey representative theories and philosophical reflections relating to the notions of human nature, the individual person, and human characteristics in general. Material for this survey may be drawn from classical and contemporary thinkers; scientific and religious orientations. Students are encouraged to engage in independent research, analysis and formulation.

Texts: This course has one required and one recommended text. The required text is:

The Study of Human Nature: A Reader 2nd Edition. Edited by Leslie Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2000.

 The recommended text is:

Ten Theories of Human Nature 5th Edition. Leslie Stevenson and David L. Haberman. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Assignments: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on four types of assignments:

  1. Weekly Quizzes: Almost every Monday there will be a quiz at the beginning of class on the material we covered the previous week. These quizzes will collectively be worth 20% of your grade. These quizzes cannot be made-up if missed.
  2. Class Participation: This is worth 10% of your grade and is based on attendance and participation in class activities. Student who are very tardy or who leave early will be considered absent.
  3. Exams: There will be three exams. The first two exams on September 30 and November 18 are worth 15% each. The final exam on December 16 is worth 20%.
  4. Essay: This is worth 20% of your grade and is due on the last day of class, Wednesday, December 16. In addition to the final draft, there are a number of pre-writing assignments. These will be ungraded, but failure to complete them will result in an F on the essay. More details on this assignment will be announced in class.

Grade Scale:

        ≥ 90 = A
        ≥ 80 = B
        ≥ 70 = C
        ≥ 60 = D
        < 60 = F

Academic Integrity and Conduct: Miramar College students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct, Policy 3100.  In this course, cheating, plagiarism, disruptions of instructional activity, fraud and/or lying will result in, at a minimum, a grade of “F” for the assignment/test with no make up permitted.  Any of these infractions may result in an “F” for the course as well and formal disciplinary action by the Dean of Student Affairs as described in the code (as published in the catalog or online).

 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-7312.


All readings can be found in The Study of Human Nature: A Reader 2nd Edition. Edited by Leslie Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2000. Page numbers refer to this edition. Reading assignments are subject to change and are expected to be completed for the day on which they are assigned.

Week 1

Monday, August 24: Introduction
Wednesday, August 26: The Old Testament, pp. 1-8.

Week 2

August 31: Hinduism, pp. 9-21.
September 2: Confucianism, pp. 22-33.

Week 3

September 7: NO CLASS
September 9: Plato, pp. 34-55.

Week 4

September 14: Extra Day
September 16: Extra Day

Week 5

September 21: The New Testament, pp. 56-68.
September 23:  Islam, pp. 69-83. 

Week 6

September 28: Watch Film in class, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
September 30:  Discuss Film

Week 7

October 5: Review
October 7: Midterm 1

Week 8

October 12: Descartes and Hobbes, pp. 84-97.
October 14: Hume and Rousseau, pp. 98-116. Descartes Continued

Week 9

October 19: Kant, pp. 117-138. Hobbes, pp. 90-97
October 21: Marx, pp. 139-152. Hume, pp. 98-108

Week 10

October 26: Darwin, pp. 162-168.
October 28: Freud, pp. 169-184.

Week 11

November 2: Skinner, pp. 207-221. Sartre, pp. 185-206.
November 4: Sartre Continued

Week 12

November 9: Watch Film in Class: Blade Runner  (1982) Hero (2004) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2003) Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (1999)
November 11: Discuss Film

Week 13

November 16: Review for Exam
November 18: Second Midterm


Week 15

November 30: Bracken, pp. 257-269. Introduction of Essay Prompt
December 2: Mill, pp. 153-161; Holmstrom, pp. 288-302.
Watch Film in Class: eXistenZ (1999)

Week 16

December 7: Continue and Discuss Film
December 9: In-class peer editing

Week 17

December 14: Final Review
December 16: Final Draft of Essay Due; Final Exam

Ian Duckles,
Nov 29, 2009, 10:42 AM
Ian Duckles,
Nov 29, 2009, 10:44 AM