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Philosophy 312: Oriental Philosophy
Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. What is the purpose of this course?
  2. What kinds of things are studied?
  3. Is Introduction to Philosophy a prerequisite for this course? Does this course fulfill any University requirements?  
  4. My advisor says this course is not offered very often.  How often is it offered?
  5. Why don't you allow make-ups for on-campus missed quizzes? Why don't I get credit if I leave class early on the day of a quiz?
  6. If I have an A average, can I exempt the final exam?
  7. Where do you post grades? How can I find out what I made in this course? 
  8. What can I do for extra-credit in this course?

The general purpose of this course is to provide an understanding and appreciation of Eastern philosophy and thought.  Specific characteristics and fundamental Eastern belief-systems and thought are introduced, clarified, and examined in their practical aspects for everyday life. 

Some of the main problems studied in this course include:

w How can an understanding and an appreciation of Oriental philosophy be obtained?
w What are the fundamental philosophic problems of Oriental philosophy?
w How does Oriental life and thought differ from Occidental life and thought?
w What is the nature of relation between the Self and the universe?
w How do Oriental philosophies differ from Oriental religions?
w Of what does reality consist? How could we know?
w What should be the goals of life?
w What can be known about the purpose and meaning of life?

In this course we will learn how to inquire into some of the complex philosophical problems of everyday life and how to begin to formulate a personal philosophy of life. For this task, we will learn some effective methods of inquiry, analysis, and criticism. The central method used in our course is that of shared inquiry. By understanding some of the fundamental concepts of the world’s great philosophies, we can use these concepts in a re-examination of our own philosophies.

This course has no prerequisites and students are welcome to begin their study of philosophy with this course. Philosophy 312, Oriental Philosophy, fulfills the General Education Core Curriculum requirement for Humanities and Global Issues/Non-Western Studies. This course does not fulfill the Logic and Analytical Thought General Education Elective.


4. My advisor says this course is not offered very often.  How often is it offered?

Oriental Philosophy is offered at least once every academic year.

My philosophy courses have an average of 15 quizzes and tests for an average of 110 students each semester. In other words, there are about 1,870 papers to be graded.  If the normal excused absence rate is 8%, then 150 make-up quizzes and tests would have to be scheduled during the semester.  Make-up quizzes would have to be scheduled at time to fit the student schedules.  For these reasons, extra quizzes are given, and a minimum of two quizzes can be safely dropped with other quiz grades substituted.

The purpose of  quizzes is to help the student learn the subjects in advance of the tests in order to reduce anxiety, cramming, and poor grades.  Unfortunately in the past, some students have come to take the quiz and then leave before the end of class.  I find students leaving in the middle of a class disruptive to the learning environment of the class as a whole and distracting to me personally; for this reason, no credit for that day's quiz is given to any student leaving class early.

Students who do not read the syllabus or this FAQ sometimes believe this policy to be unfair. The only consolation I can offer is for extra quizzes to be offered during the semester which may be substituted for a missed or no credit quiz.

In sum, without the extra quizzes and the drop policy, it is impractical to offer so many graded assignments.  Most students understand the pedagogic reasons for the quizzes and, and in light of that, enthusiastically support the policy.  See the syllabus for more policy information.

No exam can be exempted, but there is no comprehensive final exam given in this course.

The confidentiality of student grades is a serious concern.  Legal considerations involving the privacy rights of individuals prevent the posting of grades.  Other than waiting for your grade report from Lander, there are several other methods to obtain your grades at the end of the semester. For personal and legal reasons, I do not post grades, I do not report grades over the telephone, and I do not ordinarily send grades in e-mail. 

(1) Visit the instructor's office no sooner than 48 hours after the final exam.   Office hours during the week of final exams will be posted.  Please note:  Normal office hours during the week of final exams are not observed since final exams are not  scheduled at the same time as the regular class period.

(2) With your assigned username and password, you may access your grades online as soon as final grades and averages are posted on the Oriental Philosophy site.

(3) You can log on to Lander's Bearcat Web, with your Lander student username and password. You can find our your grades in all courses before you receive your final official grade report in the mail at your home address.


Extra credit at the end of the course is not offered in this class for two main reasons. First, extra or ``replacement'' work tends to be less important than the required assigned work, and second,  extra credit is not an adequate substitute for learning basic ideas of the Eastern philosophy. In my opinion, the offering of extra credit often conflicts with the legal and ethical requirements of equal opportunity since all persons should have the right to the same class policies.

Occasionally, challenging questions are offered for extra-credit in class and on tests, but normally these questions require substantial thought beyond the normal class requirements.


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