Home Up Syllabus Schedule


MUSE-Seminar / Phil 29 C

Fall 2004                                                                                                        





Instructor: Dr. Bo Mou

Time & Place:  Monday & Wednesday: 15:00 � 16:15; Hugh Gillis Hall (HGH) 227

Office Hours: (1) Regular Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 18:00 � 20:30. (2) Each student will be scheduled for one office-visit appointment during the early weeks of the course to discuss  how to best fulfill the course requirements in your situation. (3) If you are unable to make these times, we can schedule a time convenient for you. (4) Extra office hours will be arranged before each of midterm and final exams.

Office: Faculty Offices (FO) 225

Phone: (408) 924-4513



Course Texts and Materials

 A Spartan Scholar from the Start [SSS]

Course Reader [CR]

Course Description

This course presents a comparative study of two major philosophical traditions, Chinese and Western philosophies, examining a variety of wisdom that they constructively and complementarily provide on some perennial issues and fundamental concerns in philosophical pursuit, especially in connection with how to look at the world and ourselves.

The course has the following performance objectives: (1) to develop the capacity to look at things in a broad and dynamic way and to apply philosophical methods to deal with philosophically important issues and other intellectual problems; (2) to appreciate various distinct philosophical ideas, insights, and visions, their arguments and their historical and/or cultural contexts where they developed so as to construct one�s own philosophical world view; (3) to appreciate how those views and insights from different philosophical traditions can distinctively, but jointly in a compatible way, contribute to dealing with some philosophically important issues and concerns; (4) to develop the ability to enter and appreciate ways of thinking and perspectives that may be quite different from what students have already had; (5) to improve the ability to read and think critically and creatively and to write clearly and effectively.

Introduction to MUSE

University-level study is different from what you experienced in high school. The Metropolitan University Scholars� Experience (MUSE) is designed to help make your transition into college a success by helping you to develop the skills and attitude needed for the intellectual engagement and challenge of in-depth university-level study. Discovery, research, critical thinking, written work, attention to the rich cultural diversity of the campus, and active discussion will be key parts of this MUSE course. Enrollment in MUSE courses is limited to a small number of students because these courses are intended to be highly interactive and allow you to easily interact with your professor and fellow students. MUSE courses explore topics and issues from an interdisciplinary focus to show how interesting and important ideas can be viewed from different perspectives.

 GE / MUSE Goals

As a GE course, this course has the following goals:

To examine the interaction of analytical and creative processes in the production and perception of significant works of the human intellect and imagination.

To examine the significance of the historical and cultural contexts in which such works are created and interpreted.

To prepare students to participate in social and cultural communities associated with artistic and literary endeavors to enrich their personal and professional lives.

 As a MUSE course, this course has two more goals:

To enable students to establish a strong foundation for becoming a university level student and scholar.

To become acclimated to both the intellectual and social activities of university life.

Student Learning Objectives

As an Area C2 (Humanities & Arts � Letters) course in your General Education requirements, this course is designed to enable you to achieve the following learning objectives:

         To recognize how significant works illuminate enduring human concerns.

         To respond to such works by writing both research-based critical analyses and personal responses.

         To write clearly and effectively.

         To understand the learning process and your responsibility and role in it.

         To know what it means to be a member of a metropolitan university community.

Course Requirements

(1)   Class Participation: 10%

(2)  Two Critical Reading Reports: 10% (each 5%) 

(3)   Two Critical-Analysis Reports on Group Discussion Results: 10% (each 5%)

(4)   Two MUSE Events/Workshops Write-up Reports: 10% (each 5%)

(5)   Midterm Exam: 15% (10/27)

(6)   Spartan Quiz: 5% (11/24)

(7)   Research Term Paper: 20% (12/8)

(8)   Final Exam: 15% (12/13)


About Writing Assignments

(1) You will write two short critical-reading reports, which are due in hard copy in class-meeting times) and two short critical-analysis reports on group discussion results for assigned questions, which are due, via email attachment, by noon of the day after the next day of the group discussion day (each on one typewritten double-spaced page with 1 inch margin and font size 10 or 12; about 250-300 words each page). The way they are assigned and their timelines are to be explained in the 8/25 class.

(2)   You will write up two short reports (each with about 150 words) of what you have learned from attending two MUSE events/workshops.

(3)   You will write one research paper (3-4 typewritten double-spaced pages with 1 inch margin and font size 12, about 250 words each page) on one of the topics that will be assigned four weeks before the due time.

(4)   All the writing assignments (critical-reading reports, critical-analysis reports, MUSE event reports, and research paper) are to be word processed with 12 point font and 1� margins, submitted in hard copy, and due in class-meeting time.

       For how to do philosophy writings, see Appendix (4), �Some Suggestions for Writing Philosophy Papers,� in the Course Reader.

(6)  Writing will be assessed for correctness, clarity, and conciseness.


About Exams


You will take midterm and final exam both of which would combine multiple choice, short answer questions and essay questions. The  instructor will supply a study guide a week before each of the exams.

About MUSE Events / Workshops

You will attend three Muse events / workshops listed in your schedule; you will write up two short reports (about 150 words for each) of what you have learned for two of them, and get a �proof of attendance� for the other. Registration for workshops occur on-line at the MUSE website.

About Class Participation and Oral Presentations

The student�s active class participation consists of the following: (1) Attending scheduled classes regularly (two bonus points will be given for perfect attendance; one bonus point will be given for only-one-class-missing attendance); (2) Asking questions in class or volunteering answers to philosophical questions raised by classmates or instructors; (3) Being active in group discussions; (4) Earnestly completing in-class oral presentations of your group-discussion reports.

(5)  There is one major oral presentation assignment in a special discussion forum (in the 12/6 class) on how some distinct visions and views in Western and Chinese philosophies can/could complementarily contribute to your understanding of, and dealing with, some issue in our lives. Each needs to bring to your classmates copies of one-page handout, which highlights major points and explanation, and has 2-3 minutes presentation time.

Late Writing-submissions and Missed Assignments

Writing submissions that are one class session late will be demoted 5% of the total points for them; papers that are later will receive 10% cut. Exceptions are made if you have a doctor�s note or if you have been given a prior extension. Students who miss a mid-term will need a serious excuse and to schedule a make-up exam.

Help from Logic and Philosophy Lab

You are encouraged to visit the Logic and Philosophy Lab (FO 231; 924-4466) where graduate students of philosophy on duty shall be glad to help you with advice about philosophical writings (criticism and construction of arguments and explanation). You can bring in your philosophical writings for comments before you submit them.