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Elective: Comparative Philosophy: concepts of humanity and society worldwide

Vak
2013-2014

Admission requirements

This course is open for students of BA International Studies only. The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

This course is a philosophical cross-cultural exploration of human flourishing. We will read selections from Indian, Chinese, Greek and contemporary philosophical traditions in exploring questions regarding what makes a life good for the individual. Specific topics we will consider include the elements of a good life, the relation between morality and happiness, the relation between virtue and human flourishing, the role of social relationships in happiness, and whether tension and challenge might be an important part of a good life. Students will be to encouraged to test the philosophical theoretical works we read in class against their own experiences and intuitions about what will bring them and others happiness.

Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar style discussion and supervised research.

Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load for the course (number of EC x 24 hours), for a course of 10 EC 240;

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours);

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied) (if applicable) time for completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college;

  • Time to write a paper (including reading / research).

Assessment method

Short weekly assignments and a final paper of approx. 4-6,000 words. Several shorter writing assignments will be assigned in preparation for writing the final paper.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Rahula, Walpoloa. 1974. What the Buddha Taught. Grove Press. (Required).

  • Mengzi. 2009. The Essential Mengzi. Translated by Bryan W. Van Norden. Hackett Publishing. (Required).

  • Aristotle. 1999. Nicomachean Ethics. Second Edition. Translated by Terence Irwin. Hackett Publishing. (Recommended but not Required).

  • Mill, John Stuart. 2002. Utilitarianism. Second Edition. Hackett Publishing. (Recommended but not Required).

Registration

Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

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