Philosophy 2120K:
 Slurs and Hate Speech


I am no expert on the material we will be reading, so this course is not going to feature a lot of lecturing. As a result, I intend this course to proceed almost entirely by discussion. Each enrolled student will be expected to lead discussion at least twice, and it is my hope that students who are not enrolled, but who wish to participate fully, will also lead discussion at least once. (We can work in teams if need be.) We will work out the details of this system as we proceed.

Toward this end, all enrolled students will be required to post remarks about the readings each week (except the first) to the course forum. You should plan to write at least a paragraph about each of the readings for that week. (There will usually be three. If there are fewer, then you should plan to write more about each of them.) The goal is not to summarize the readings, nor even necessarily to criticize them, but to raise some questions, exegetical or substantive, about the readings. Students are also expected to engage with one another on the forum, i.e., to respond to each other's comments. Doing so will count as a form of "course participation" that will affect the grade.

The discussion on the course forum will form the basis for our discussion in class, and everyone needs time to read and process the comments, you should post comments on at least half of the readings (two, normally) by no later than 6pm the day before the class meets, and you should post your comments on the rest by no later than noon the day of the course meeting.

(By the way, you will need a username and password in order to log onto the forum. This keeps our discussions private but, unlike Canvas, will allow for participation by people who are not enrolled. You'll also need to register for the forum once you are there.)

Weeks you present, you should expect to spend an additional three hours preparing your presentation, another hour meeting with me before class to discuss it, and another hour reviewing all the forum postings.

The final requirement for the course is a writing requirement. There are two options.

The topic is up to you but should be cleared with me no later than 5 December. (This involves sending me an email outlining the topic.) The paper itself is due on 14 December: the last day on which our final exam is scheduled. (Feel free to ask for an extension if you need one.)

Time Expectations

For a typical week's meeting, we will read three papers (or similar material). You should expect to spend about two hours reading each paper; another half hour reflecting on it and writing your comments for the class forum; and another hour, overall, reading what other students have written and responding to their comments. So you should expect to spend about eight and a half hours preparing for each class meeting.

As mentioned above, each enrolled student will be expected to lead discussion at least twice. You should expect to spend about four hours preparing for the presentation, plus about one hour meeting with me beforehand.

Your time commitment for this class can thus be summarized as follows:

The total time commitment is thus 180 hours.

Richard Heck Department of Philosophy Brown University