Phil 206-01 (CRN 449)
Philosophy of Life and Death
4:00 - 6:30 Th -- Fitzelle 206
Professor:Douglas Shrader, Ph.D.
Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy
507 Fitzelle, 607-436-2690 or 2456
Office Hours:Tu: 1:00 - 2:00 & 3:15 - 4:00
Th: 1:00 - 2:00 & 3:15 - 4:00
and by appointment
Course Description:Philosophical examination of life and death. Topics include the meaning of life, the nature of death, the morality of euthanasia, the rights of the terminally ill, and the possibility of life after death. Special consideration will be given to the contrast between Western and non-Western perspectives of life and death (e.g. Polynesian culture and Tibetan Buddhism).FormatThe class will be conducted as an extended seminar, once each week. I anticipate an abundance of open, but nonetheless intelligent and philosophically fruitful discussion. Students are expected to have different values and perspectives; we will explore as many as possible. Readings will be complemented by videos, internet sources, etc..Grades
Based on the following:
- Attendance/Participation (5%). Students are expected to attend all class meetings: mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.
- Two take-home essay exams (35% each). Questions and guidelines will be posted on the web approximately 10 days prior to each due date (March 18 and May 13).
- Service-Learning (25%). To facilitate integration of course assignments with "real life," students will be asked to complete 25 hours of community service in a program designed and administered by the Center for Social Responsibility and Community. Timesheets and reflection papers are due March 11 and May 13.Note: Interim reports will be based on the first service-learning assignment, class attendance and participation. Students are encouraged to meet with the professor throughout the semester to discuss assignments, expectations, and grades.
TextsMitch Albom - Tuesdays With Morrie (Doubleday 1997)Course Attributes
Paul Pearsall - The Pleasure Prescription (Hunter House 1996)
Beauchamp and Veatch - Ethical Issues in Death and Dying (Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 1996)
The Dalai Lama - Sleeping, Dreaming, And Dying (Wisdom 1997)LA (Liberal Arts) and WS2 (Writing Skills)
First class meeting -- establishing a foundation on which to buildJan 28:Tuesdays with Morrie (all)Feb 4:
The Pleasure Prescription -- Part I: The Pleasure Paradigm (pp. 1-96)
Feb 11:The Pleasure Prescription -- Part II: Learning Aloha (pp. 97-180)Feb 18:The Pleasure Prescription -- Part III: Living Aloha (pp. 181-232)
Part II: Ethical Issues in Death and Dying
March 4:Pages 1-63 -- The Definition of DeathMarch 11:
Pages 119-148 -- SuicideMarch 18:
Service-Learning Timesheets and Initial Reflection Papers DuePages 151-173, 186-198 -- Physician-Assisted Suicide and EuthanasiaMarch 25:
First Exam Due
Pages 211-229, 253-262, 269-272, 286-301 -- Forgoing Treatment and Causing DeathApril 1:
Pages 305-317, 325-337, 342-345, 362-375 -- Making Decisions for Others
Part III: Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying
April 15:Cover-Chapter 2 -- What's In a Self?, Brain's SleepApril 22:
Chapters 3-4 -- Dreaming and the Unconscious, Lucid DreamingApril 29:
Chapters 5-7 -- Consciousness, Death & Christianity, Bodily DeathMay 6:Chapter 8-Coda -- Near-Death Experiences, Reflections on the Journey
May 13: (11:00 - 1:30)Final Exam Due
Service-Learning Timesheets and Final Reflection Papers Due
Although this syllabus represents honest intention, the professor reserves the right to adjust assignments, requirements, and dates as the class proceeds. Students should consult the on-line syllabus on a weekly basis to make sure they have up-to-date materials. Use the Angel Course Management tool (www.oneonta.edu) or the course website: http://www.oneonta.edu/academics/philos/Shrader/206-s10.html. Students who wish to earn extra credit may do so in three distinct ways (maximum of 10 points). First, for each hour of community service completed beyond the course requirement, students will receive 1/4 extra credit point. Second, students who serve as a presenter or discussant at Oneonta's 15th Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (April 15-17) will receive 3 extra credit points. Third, students may earn extra credit by: (a) attending student sessions of the Undergraduate Conference and (b) preparing a 5-10 page personal-reflection paper relating those presentations to this course (due April 29). To take advantage of the second option, simply consult our website (www.oneonta.edu/pc) to see which papers still need discussants, review the guidelines posted there, and contact our 2010 “Discussant Boss” to finalize your choice (available circa 3/4). Remember, the sooner you act, the more choices you have!
Emergency Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Procedures
In the event of an emergency evacuation (i.e. fire or other emergency), classes meeting in the building are directed to reassemble at the pillars of Old Main so that all persons can be accounted for. Complete details of the College's emergency evacuation, shelter-in-place and other emergency procedures can be found at http://www.oneonta.edu/security/
- Essay Questions
- Service Learning
Resources and Links on the World Wide Web