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PHILOS 2G03 Soc.&Polit.Issues

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. James Sikkema

Email: sikkej@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 314A

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26465

Website:

Office Hours: By Appointment



Course Objectives:

Description

In his Democracy and Education, John Dewey maintains that “since a democratic society repudiates the principle of external authority, it must find a substitute in voluntary disposition and interest; these can be created only by education.”  If a democratic society is, at least ideally, dependent on a citizenry both free to, and capable of, participating in the political process, then what sorts of ‘dispositions and interests’ should its educational system cultivate?  By what methods should these goals be achieved?  According to what guiding principles?  Who should ultimately decide these matters?  It is to these and related lines of inquiry that the present course will be dedicated.  Through an exploration of primary sources in both the history of philosophy, contemporary philosophers, and educational policies, this class will conduct a philosophical investigation into the relation of, and intersection between, education and (democratic) political formation. 

Objectives

By the end of the course students will have:

  • developed an understanding and appreciation of basic problems in the philosophy of education and their relation to issues in social and political theory and practice

  • become better readers of, and writers on, philosophical texts


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Classic and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Education, 2nd Edition.  Edited by Steven M. Cahn.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012 (Paperback).  *Available in the Campus Bookstore

 


Method of Assessment:

  • Tutorial Attendance & Participation – 10%

  • Weekly Reading Assignments – 30%

  • Research Paper (8-10 pages) – 30%

  • Final Exam – 30% - TBA


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Note on Participation

This class will require that you do a good deal of reading, so it only seems fair that you receive more than a meager 10% for participation.  However, since participation is both difficult to elicit and assess, your participation will additionally be judged on the basis of the completion of Weekly Reading Assignments

No more than a page in length (standard format), reading assignments should 1) select a portion of text to investigate, 2) identify the context within which the selected portion takes place, 3) provide an articulation of your understanding of the main claims in the selection, and 4) pose one or two critical questions

Beyond providing an incentive to perform the weekly readings, the main rationale for these assignments is to invite you to enter into conversation with the authors of the texts we will be reading.  No philosopher worthy of the appellation demands that you accept his or her ideas on the basis of authority, nor do they wish for you to blithely adopt them without the slightest critical scrutiny.  The only demands that any philosopher makes of you is to think along with them, to investigate a problem with them, to criticize their ideas, repudiate them, or ameliorate them.  This assignment serves as a way of honoring these demands.

In order to receive credit reading assignments must be submitted in the tutorial corresponding with the weekly reading.  Reading assignments will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis; a Pass will be given to assignments submitted in class and completed according to the stipulated guidelines.  You must submit 10 reading assignments in total.  For every missing assignment you will lose 10% (e.g., 9 submissions = 90% … 3 = 30%, etc.).

Note on Research Essay

By enlisting one or more of the philosophers we will be studying, research essays should make a critical investigation into a piece of educational policy (e.g. Residential Schools in Canada in relation to Foucault, Brown v. The Board of Education in relation to Freire, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario in relation to Gutman, No Child Left Behind in relation to Dewey, etc.).  That is, you are being asked to identify the philosophical ideas (both educational and socio-political) tacitly or explicitly present in these policies (either in part or whole) and to critically evaluate their viability as educational means for realizing what you understand to be the ideals of socio-political formation. 

Papers should be between 8-10 pages in length (standard format: double spaced, 12 font, Times New Roman, 1-1.25 side margins, 1 inch top/bottom margins) and should consult at least 5 sources (at least 2 primary; i.e. one philosopher and one policy). 

*Submit to Avenue by 11:59, April 3*

Note on Final Exam

The Final Exam will be cumulative and will consist of 25 short answer questions of which you must answer 20.


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:

Reading Schedule

 

 

  • January 9 – Plato, Protagoras (Readings, pp.24 – 30); Aristotle, Politics (Readings, pp.93-103)

 

  • January 16 – John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (Readings, pp.105-121); Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Pedagogy (Readings, pp.153-167)

 

  • January 23 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile (Readings, pp.122-152)

 

  • January 30 – Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women (Readings, pp.174-184); John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrews (Readings, pp.185-210)

 

  • February 6 – John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum (Readings, pp.221-228); Democracy and Education (Readings, pp.228-233)

 

  • February 13 – John Dewey, Democracy and Education (Readings, pp.233-265)

 

  • February 20 – NO CLASS – MID-SEMESTER BREAK

 

  • February 27 – Amy Gutman, Democratic Education (Readings, pp.328-344)

 

  • March 6 – Israel Scheffler, Moral Education and the Democratic Ideal (Readings, pp.345-350); Sidney Hook, The Content of a Liberal Education (pp.405-410)

 

  • March 13 – Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (Readings, pp.375-378); Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Readings, pp.379-386)

 

  • March 20 – Nel Noddings, Caring (Readings, pp.387-391); Martha Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity (Readings, pp.445-446); bell hooks, Democratic Education (available on Avenue)

 

  • March 27 – Maxine Greene, The Passions of Pluralism: Multiculturalism and the Expanding Community (Readings, pp.420-427); Richard M. Rorty, Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching (Readings, pp.428-437)

 

  • April 3 – Henry Giroux, Higher Education and Neoliberal Temptation and Beyond Pedagogies of Repression (available on Avenue)

 

*The instructor reserves the right to change course content to suit the needs of the course

 

Important Dates

  • January 10 – First Class

  • February 20 – No Class

  • March 10 – Last Day to Drop

  • April 3 – Final Class *Research Essays Due*

 


Other Course Information:

Modification of course outlines

 

McMaster University reserves the right to change or revise information contained in course outlines in extreme circumstances.  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.  It is the responsibility of students to check regularly their primary email account via their @mcmaster.ca alias and course websites.

 

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.  If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean’s office.

 

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.