Syllabus-- Ancient Philosophy 2011

Submitted by Jyl Gentzler on Wednesday, 9/7/2011, at 8:31 PM

Amherst College
Philosophy 217
J. Gentzler
Fall 2011


●    Prerequisites: This course has no prerequisites.

●    Books to Purchase: Books for this class are available at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street.
        Barnes, J., ed. Early Greek Philosophy, 2nd ed. Harmondsworth:  Penguin Books, 2001.
        Harvey, Michael.  The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing.  Hackett Publishing, 2003.
        Plato. Five Dialogues, 2nd ed, trans. Grube and Cooper. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002.
        Plato.  Protagoras, trans. C. C. W. Taylor.  Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 2009.
         Plato. Republic, 2nd ed.  trans. Grube and Reeve. Indianapolis:  Hackett Publishing, 1992.
         Aristotle. Aristotle: Selections, ed. and trans. Fine and Irwin. Indianapolis:  Hackett Publishing, 1995.

●    Required Written Work:

    1.     Three medium-length (5-7 pages) papers. I will assign the topic, but you will have some choice.

    2.    Short on-line essays: For almost every class, I will post a question in the Assignment section of  our course  Web site at

    for you to answer in a short essay.  These questions are designed to focus your reading, encourage thoughtful in-class discussion, and give me a sense of your comprehension and writing skills. Though they will not be graded, completion of these essays will count toward your final grade and they cannot be made up (without prior consent from me or a request from the Dean of Students Office).  Unsatisfactory work receives no credit.  Please submit your essay to me through the Dropbox function on our course Web site, and  please bring a copy of your essay to class on the day that it is due.

    You will have the option of rewriting the first two medium-length papers.

●    Deadlines:                         

    1.     Papers: Upload all of your writing assignments to the Dropbox on our course Web site.  You can hand it in at any time on the day that they are due.
        Thursday, October 13:  First medium-length paper due.
        Thursday, November 17:  Second medium-length paper due.
        December 22: Third medium-length paper due.

    2.    Rewrites:  The optional rewrites of the first two papers are due by December 22, though I encourage you to hand them in earlier.

    3.    Extension option: With the exception of the first paper, I will distribute paper assignments at least seven days before their due date. Seven days should be plenty of time, but unexpected problems may arise that will prevent you from meeting certain deadlines.  So, I now grant you, in advance, the following extension option: You may hand in one of your first two medium-length papers up to one week late.  BEYOND THIS THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSIONS, ALMOST NO EXCEPTIONS (a passionate and eloquent plea from the Dean of Students or your Class Dean is the only thing that will have any impact on me);  late papers (not covered by the extension option) will be penalized one-third of a letter-grade (3 points) per day. THE EXTENSION OPTION DOES NOT APPLY TO THE THIRD MEDIUM-LENGTH PAPER.  For the purposes of due-date only, the third medium-length paper counts as a take-home final exam.

    The extension option is not without its price.  If you look at the schedule, you will see that the three medium-length papers are fairly evenly spaced throughout the semester.  If you take the extension option, then, depending on how long it takes me to comment on your papers (and it always takes me a ridiculous amount of time to comment on your papers), you may find yourself beginning work on your next paper without the benefit of my comments on your earlier paper.  This is the only price.

●    Grading:

    Your final grade for the course will be calculated in the following way:

    15%      On-line essays  
    85%:     Three medium-length papers (if you rewrite a paper, your grade for that paper will be an average of the grades that you receive on the original and rewrite).

    This is not a correspondence course:  class attendance and informed participation are necessary conditions for counting as taking this course.

●    No Electronics in the Classroom:

    Unless you have a documented special need, you must turn-off all electronics (laptops, cell phones, i-pads, Ipods, ITouches, Blackberries, etc.) at the door.