Introduction to Philosophy
Class epigraph: It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again. Yeah, I’m talking to you, snowflake. See this family-sized bottle of Lubriderm on my desk? I’m not shitting you here. Start rubbing. The epigraph in my upper-division courses is “arbeit macht frei.” You’re getting off easy.
Purpose of this course: To bring you up to speed on what’s happened in the past 2500 years of human thought about the great questions. We’re doing Thales to Kripke, motherfuckers. Strap yourselves in and get ready for the ride.
Requirements: You have to write a 2000 word précis on each week’s reading, due that Friday. Yes, that’s every week. No, I’m not going to tell you how to structure your papers, read your bullshit first draft, or wipe your nose for you. You learned how to write in high school, right? Now stand and deliver. There is also a 30-page term paper and a three-hour final exam. In the term paper I expect to see serious critical engagement with primary sources as well as the most recent secondary literature. Don’t give me any goddamned book report either. I want to see some original thinking. On the final exam the questions will range from providing an analysis of Aristotle’s influence on the theology of Aquinas, to contrasting Spinoza’s necessitarianism with Leibniz’s, to explaining why Wittgenstein rejected his own views in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, to proving the soundness and completeness of first-order quantified modal logic.
Grading: Your grade will be whatever you’ve earned by the sweat of your brow. The only curve I give is down. Don’t even think about asking for extra credit, telling me how much you need a B to keep your scholarship, or how much you “deserve” a better grade. Read the sign on my office door: Cash Bribes Only.
Class etiquette: From now on, you will speak only when spoken to. And the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be “Sir.” Do you maggots understand that? The door will be locked promptly when class starts. And then I own your asses.
Electronic devices: A physicist buddy of mine built me an electromagnetic pulse generator. If I see even one of you looking at, holding, touching, or thinking about a cell phone, laptop, iPod, vibrator, or anything else that runs on electricity, I’m turning it on and permanently frying every piece of equipment in this room. My finger is on the button and it’s feeling itchy.
Academic dishonesty: Are you fucking kidding me? I will, guaranteed, catch you. Don’t tell me how you didn’t know that buying your term paper online was cheating. I don’t want to hear your whiny bullshit excuses. When I catch you I am going to fricassee your testicles and feed them to a goat. Nah, not really. What I’m really going to do is much worse.
Finally, let me say: welcome to college. Now drop and give me 20.