** PHIL 320: Oriental Thought **


The Assignment

Roughly twenty-three percent of the final grade will be based on your submission of a 'philosophical journal' comprising commentaries, analyses, reflections, verses, sketches, observations, etc. on or about topics or issues which have surfaced during class discussion. Ideally your journal should contain daily entries, but entries summarizing a week's reflection will suffice. Cosmetics are of relatively little importance: cheap spiral notebooks usually prove quite suitable; your journal should, however, be kept separate from your class notes.


The function of a philosophical journal is to afford one an (extended) opportunity to experiment with ideas, perspectives, puzzles, novel paradigms, and the like in as open and conceptually unhindered a manner as possible. Provided that your entries somehow overlap course concerns (in other words, don't include recipes, laundry lists, or lovesick lamentations unless you can weave same into a philosophical view), both style and content should be limited only by imagination. Since one of the primary objectives of this course is to encourage your experimenting with alternative habits of thought and expression, your journal should be, above all, playful.

Due Dates

Journals will be collected for review at least twice during the semester. Notice of the initial review will be at most one class period, so you'll want to maintain your journals on at least a weekly basis. No grades will be assigned until after the final review; you will, however, receive comments after each (but the final) review, apprising you of, among other things, grade-relevant information.

Grading Criteria

Journals will be assessed primarily with regard to evidence of your ability to open a personal dialogue with the various voices of Eastern thought you encounter in this course. Evidence of this sort is in turn indexed by such criteria as: a willingness intellectually to confront canonical texts; perseverance in the advancing of issues initially discussed in class; an effort to incorporate elements of Oriental philosophy in your own speculative views.