Course Description /152 Western Philosophy ONLINE / SPRING 2014

Dr. John Holladay

Western Philosophy 152--Monroe County Community College

Dr. John Holladay, Humanities Professor

Three Credits

Online office hours for the spring session:

ONLINE Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.


You will need a password to reach the class site in BLACKBOARD. This will be provided the first day of the semester. 

Texts and Supplies
(All should be available in the MCCC Bookstore, often at used-book prices.)
Each student must purchase the following three texts for this course:

1.     The Enduring Questions, Rader, 7th edition / Wadsworth / ISBN 0-15-506286-7

2.     The Republic & Other Works, Trans. Jowett / Anchor Doubleday / ISBN 0-385-09497-3

3.     Irrational Man, Barrett / Anchor Doubleday / ISBN 0-385-03138-6

Also students must have a recent version of MS Word or any other full-function word processor that saves in RTF (Rich Text Format).

A realistic place to start is probably with this observation.  Since we are working with technology, expect the technology to fail on occasion.  We will almost certainly encounter times when the MCCC server is not working properly.  We will probably face days when our home service is delayed or interrupted.

Most of the time, computers work, and they work well.  Occasionally they fail.

Do not despair.  Do not "flame."  Relax.  Leave a message on my voice mail.  Once in a great while, we will have to make allowances for technical problems. 

If the college Blackboard system goes down, as soon as it becomes available again, I will post an announcement on the course's home page notifying you of any changes in due dates for assignments.

If your work is frequently late (more than two times) because of technical problems at your end, you will have to do your work on a reliable computer somewhere else, perhaps in one of the MCCC labs.  If that does not work, you may have to drop the course (or purchase a new computer).

ATTENDANCE: You must work online several times a week and show evidence of this in the online classroom.  I recommend that you visit our class site at least five days a week to check the announcements; visit every day if possible.


The most successful method of studying philosophy is through systematic and detailed discussions of each source.  As much as possible we will be using group discussions and the Socratic method of learning.  The Socratic approach requires that we continually question each premise in our effort to reach an understanding of any philosophical concept.  If we are to write intelligently, we must all have carefully read the assigned material by the assigned dates. For many people the assignments may require more than one reading. A second reading is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of commitment and dedication.

Study questions will provided for each reading assignment in the hope that they will facilitate our understanding and our discussion of each work. When asked to write out your answers to study questions, you must answer each question in your own words.  Do not copy quoted passages from the reading.  That will not indicate that you understand the passages you are copying. 

Submitting assignments: Since perfect "attendance" can be achieved by working on your assignments any time of the day or night, seven days a week, you should have no "good" reason for missing the deadline for an assignment.  Don't blame it on the computer.  Submit things early, and have a back-up computer available when yours fails.

But, of course, occasionally some people do fail to complete assignments on time: personal crises, computer crises, and failure to start the assignment until the last minute. When you fail to submit work on time, this has an impact on other people: it creates problems for your fellow students and your teacher.

You will do best if you have no late work this semester, but if it is absolutely necessary, you will be allowed two late assignments with no penalty. However, after the second late assignment, every late assignment will receive a zero.  No late assignments after the second are "excused."

Follow the assignment schedule unless the instructor informs you it has been altered.  Assignments are posted under the Assignments button on the Blackboard home page for this course.



                                    Midterm Exam on Campus = 25%

                                          Final Exam on Campus = 25%        

                                          Essay = 10%

         Study Question Responses = 30%

                          Discussion Boards and Responses = 10%

Grading:  100-90=A / 89-80=B /79-70=C / 69-60=D / Below 60=F

[If a student is unable to get to campus for the two tests, he or she will need to make other arrangements to take the test locally.  Contact the instructor if this becomes necessary.  If arrangements cannot be made, the student will be required to drop the course.]

Be aware of the College's policy on withdrawals as printed in the Student Handbook: In the spring, if you drop any class before the end of the fourth week, you will receive an automatic grade of W.  If you drop any class after the fourth week, you will receive an E in the course. This is now the policy in all MCCC courses.

I support the College's emphasis on writing across the curriculum.  Taking notes, answering study questions, writing summaries, and writing micro-themes can help one come to a better understanding of new and difficult concepts.  In addition, all writing assignments, quizzes, tests, and research papers must be written in standard, edited American English.  To this end, you should revise and edit your drafts until they are clearly college-level work in both content and form.

Feel free to email me at any time I will respond as soon as I can.  I will be ready to respond quickly during my office hours: Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.

A few reminders:

A) Your primary responsibility in this class is reading the assigned philosophers and writing your responses to those assignments. You will be asked to write frequently and vigorously.

Remember, this spring class will cover in six weeks the material usually covered in a fifteen-week semester. So expect to spend between fifteen and twenty hours a week on this class.

I recommend you follow this sequence each time you visit our class site:

1)      Read the announcements.

2)      Check the assignments page.


         I will try to post your assignments at least a week before they are due--usually two or three weeks before they are due.  If you have trouble with any of the Blackboard functions, email me.  I will try to help.  If all else fails, we will rely on email until the Blackboard functions are working again.


 People will sometimes disappoint you.  Others may not be as dedicated or as talented as you are.  We will be working in peer-response groups.  If someone is not carrying his or her share of the load, let me know, but be polite. Students can be dismissed from the class for bad netiquette.

STUDENT CONDUCT: Appropriate student conduct as defined by the Monroe County Community College Student Conduct Code will be expected of students at all times.  See the MCCC Catalog.

Plagiarism:  Any act of plagiarism will cause the student to fail the course.

Students with Disabilities

We will make appropriate accommodations based on a student's disability.  If you do have a disability but have not voluntarily disclosed the nature of your disability and do not have the support you need, you are invited to contact the coordinator of the Learning Assistance Lab.

The Learning Assistance Lab is located on the college's main campus and is in the Campbell Learning Resource Center Building, room - C218 (campus map). The lab provides a variety of support services FREE of charge to currently enrolled Monroe County Community College credit students. For more information please call (734) 384-4167 or 1-877-Yes-MCCC.

I am looking forward to getting to know each of you through your writing. If you write honestly and enthusiastically about a variety of philosophical topics, you will find the course to be a stimulating, educational, and rewarding experience.

Please send comments or additions/corrections to:


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John Holladay, Ed.D., Humanities Professor
Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Road

Monroe, Michigan 48161


Orientation materials will be sent to each student's MCCC email account on the first day of the session!  Check your student email before noon that day.  Make sure the orientation materials have not been placed in the student email's spam filter.  

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