Professor Talbott Autumn 2009

Office: Savery 387 Philosophy 437A:

Phone: 543-5095 Philosophy of Hume

Email: wtalbott@ TTh: 2:00-3:20 pm

Office Hours: Wed. 3:30-430 and by appointment SAV 156




PHILOSOPHY 437A: Philosophy of David Hume


Disability Resources For Students. If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS), 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from DRS indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for the class.


I. Course Goals: What is reason (theoretical, practical, or moral)? What is reasoning (theoretical, practical, or moral)? In 1739-40, David Hume published a radical critique of the standard philosophical answers to those questions in his Treatise on Human Nature. In this course, we will study Hume's Treatise and some contemporary interpretations of it to understand Hume's critique of the standard answers and to these questions and to appreciate the relevance of Hume's critique for our own answers to those questions. This course will teach the interpretation and understanding of difficult philosophical texts. Students will be taught to explain and critically evaluate difficult philosophical texts orally and in writing.


II. Course Readings. There are two required texts: David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford Philosophical Texts), David F. Norton and Mary J. Norton, eds, and The Cambridge Companion to Hume, David F. Norton,ed. See the separate course readings handout for weekly reading assignments. All should be done before class on the Tuesday of the week they are assigned. Use the study questions posted on the PHIL 437 Web site as guides to what is important in the readings.


III. Course Requirements.

1. Class Attendance: Students are required to attend all classes. Classes are TTh 2-3:20 in SAV 156, except for Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day).

2. Email. I will send out important class and individual messages to your U.W. email account. You should check that account regularly. I also encourage you to use email to contact me. My email address appears above. I usually answer email messages within 24 hours during the week and within 48 hours on weekends and holidays.

3. End-of-Class Questions. At the end of each class except the day of the midterm exam, you will be asked to give a written answer to a question on the readings or the discussion in lecture. Answers will be worth 1-5 points. These assignments will provide practice for writing answers to exam questions. To receive credit for an end-of-class question, you must be in class on the day it is answered or have an excused absence. If you have an excused absence, you may submit an answer any time before the final exam. Questions will be posted on the course Web site after the class in which they are asked. If you receive less than credit on your answer to an end-of-class question, you may resubmit for up to 1/2 credit. All answers and resubmits must be received before the final exam.

4. Midterm Exam (100 Points). The Midterm Exam will be given in class on Thursday, Nov. 5. The midterm will cover Book I of the Treatise. Review questions will be posted on the course Web site before the exam.

5. Final Exam. The Final Exam will be in two parts (100 Points Each): (1) In-Class. The first part be a one-hour exam on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 pm in SAV 156. This part of the exam will cover personal identity, and Books II and III of the Treatise. Review questions will be posted on the course Web site before the exam.

(2) Take-Home. The second part will be a take-home exam to be submitted via email by midnight on Thursday, Dec. 17. This part of the exam will cover the entire Treatise. The topic for the take-home part of the exam will be given out in the final exam on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

NOTE: Please bring a pen and blank blue/green books with no missing pages to all exams.


IV. Course Web Site. All handouts, transparencies, and end-of-class questions will be available on the course Web site (see URL above). So if you are ever absent, you can check the course Web site to find out what you missed.


V. Academic Integrity. Whenever you turn in any assignment in this course, the understanding is that what you are turning in is your own original work, except to the extent that you explicitly credit others for their contributions. You have an obligation to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, by always attributing any argument or idea that you have borrowed, even if you have modified it, to its source. The source may be written or oral. For example, if an argument was suggested by a fellow student, include that information in a footnote. If it is determined that there has been cheating that involves one student copying another's work on an assignment or exam, if both students were aware of the copying, both will receive zero credit for the assignment or exam, in addition to any other sanctions that might be imposed.


VI. Extensions Of Time. Extensions of time should be requested in advance of the deadline. Unexcused, late work will be penalized.


VII. Grades. Grades will be based on points earned as follows: 96% = 4.0; 95% = 3.9; 90% = 3.5; 80% = 3.0; 65% = 2.0; 50% = 1.0. Your contribution to discussion in class can improve your grade, but cannot lower it.


VIII. Course Evaluation. Thursday, Dec. , in class. The course evaluation is your opportunity to evaluate my performance and to provide suggestions for improving the course.


IX. Return of Final Exams. Unless other arrangements are made, Final Exams will be available for pick-up in the Philosophy Department Office, Savery 345, during the first week of Winter Quarter. If you would like your Final Exam to be mailed to you, please provide me with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for mailing.


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