Phil 107 F12: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 107: Reflections on Human Nature

Fall 2011

CRN 88425 TTH 5-6:20 PM Location: H-104

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: TTH 4:30-5:00 in H-104 or by appointment

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.


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

Tuesday, August 21: Introduction
Thursday, August 23: The Old Testament, pp. 1-8.

Week 2

August 28: Hinduism, pp. 9-21.
August 30: Extra Day

Week 3

September 4: Confucianism, pp. 22-33.
September 6: Extra Day

Week 4

September 11: Extra Day 
September 13: Extra Day

Week 5

September 18: Plato, pp. 34-55.
September 20: Continue Plato

Week 6

September 25: Watch Film in class, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
September 27: 
Midterm 1 Discuss Film

Week 7

October 2: Review
October 4: Midterm 1

Week 8

October 9: Descartes, pp. 84-97.
October 11: 
Hobbes, pp. 90-97

Week 9

October 16:Hume, pp. 98-108.
October 18: Darwin, pp. 162-168

Week 10

October 23: Marx, pp. 139-152.
October 25: Marx Continued

Week 11

October 30: Sartre, pp. 185-206.
November 1: 
Sartre Continued

Week 12

November 6: ELECTION DAY, Watch Film in Class: Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (1999)
November 8:
Discuss Film

Week 13

November 13: Review for Exam
November 15: Second Midterm


Week 15

November 27: Introduction of Essay Topic; Watch Film in Class: Bladerunner
November 29: 
Watch Film in Class: Bladerunner Please read through the following two articles for our discussion: Download  Download

Week 16

December 4: Continue and Discuss Film
December 6: In-class peer editing

Week 17

December 11: Final Review
December 13: Final Draft of Essay Due; Final Exam

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

  • 20% Exam 1
  • 20% Exam 2
  • 20% Final Exam
  • 20% Weekly Quizzes: Almost every week there will be a quiz at the beginning of class on the material we covered the previous week. These quizzes cannot be made-up if missed.
  • 10% Class Participation: This is based on attendance and participation in class activities. Student who are very tardy or who leave early will be considered absent.
  • 10% Essay: This is due on the last day of class. 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

Student Responsibility to Drop/Withdraw
: It is the student’s responsibility to officially add, drop, or withdraw from the course stated in the class schedule. Failure to do so can result in a failing grade.

Attendance: During the first two weeks of class, students will be dropped for any unexcused absence. Starting during the third week, students may be dropped for missing two classes. In addition, students who arrive unreasonably late or leave unreasonably early will be marked absent.

Professionalism: It is assumed that students will conduct themselves in a professional manner with a positive attitude. An open mind is one of the most important tools required for success in academia. If a student is negative and feels as is there is nothing of value to be gained by the college experience or this course, he or she will not do well in this course.

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.

TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESS (Thanks to Professor June Yang):

  1. Be optimistic about your ability to learn from the textbook, the instructor, and each other.
  2. Do all homework. It will be collected every time, and spot-checked.
  3. Do all assigned reading.
  4. If you find you fall behind in your understanding, contact the instructor.
  5. Be prepared to spend at least two hours per hour spent in class in order to master this material. If you do not, you probably will not receive a grade of C or better.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Use all resources at your disposal.
  8. Remember that you are gifted with more education and intelligence than many persons on this planet. If you try, you are sure to get it, or at least most of it!
  9. Remember that we are all here to learn.
  10. Remember that you are being trained, or acquiring a skill. Studying, like anything else, is a craft, i.e. an activity. No one is born a good student; we must all transform ourselves into excellent students.