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PHILOS 1A03 Philosophical Text

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Barry Allen

Email: bgallen@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 301

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23463


Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

Class location: CNH 104

The Course

A historically based survey of western philosophical works from Plato to Nietzsche.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts

Philosophical Texts (Coursepack available from the bookstore)

Class AVENUE page for slides and assignments

Method of Assessment:


1st Writing Assignment .................... 20%

2nd Writing Assignment ................... 20%

3rd Writing Assignment ................... 20%

Final Exam ..................................... 30%

Tutorial .......................................... 10%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Please be aware of these points:

We require a printed copy of your assignments. We also require you to submit electronic copies to the dropbox on the Avenue page. Please find the dropbox appropriate to your tutorial and send your file there. These files will be processed by the Avenue2Learn originality checker. If you do not want to submit your paper under these terms, then please inform me, including a statement of your reason, and send your TA an electronic copy in addition to the printed copy delivered in class on the due date.

Late assignments subject to penalty of 3% per day (including weekends).

No electronic submission of papers. Do not submit assignments to the Philosophy Department office. The office staff do not accept them, nor do they return assignments to students. Do not place papers in the department drop-box. The box is not secure, is not regularly checked, and you paper may be lost. Submit your papers in class.

In order to receive a passing grade in this class, you must complete all the assignments and write the final exam. Failure to complete any writing assignment in addition to the final exam will result in a failing grade for the course.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Dates for assignments are provisional and may change.


Week 1

Introduction. Who is Socrates? Reading: Plato, Euthyphro

Philosophy before Socrates

Week 2

Plato, Apology

Plato, Phaedo

Week 3

Plato, Phaedo (continued)

Plato, Symposium

Week 4

Plato, Republic

Aristotle, Metaphysics



Week 1

Aristotle (continued)

Epicurus, Principal Doctrines + Letter to Menoeceus

Week 2

Mid-Term Break

Week 3

Epicurus (continued)

Stoics. Epictetus, Encheiridion


Week 4

Stoics (continued)

Descartes, Meditations 1+2



Week 1

Spinoza, Ethics

Week 2

Spinoza, Ethics (continued)



Week 3

Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section 1-5

Week 4

Hume, Enquiry, Section 8, 10-12



Week 1

Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Week 2

Nietzsche (continued)


Other Course Information:

The instructor and the University reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term, including the dates and deadlines for course work. Reasonable notice will be given with explanation and the opportunity for student comment. It is the responsibility of students to check their McMaster email during the term and note any changes.