Syllabus for Philosophy 329:
David Hume

Syllabus: David Hume
PHIL 329 - Dr. Keith Korcz - Fall 2007

How To Reach Professor Keith Korcz:

My office is in H. L. Griffin Hall, rm. 563. My office hours are MW 12:00-1:30 and 3:00-4:00, TR 12:00-2:30, and F 12:00-12:30. We can also meet at other times by arrangement - just ask. My office phone no. is 482-6806. You can also contact me (or ask questions) by e-mail at

Required Texts:

1. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. by David Fate Norton, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000/1739-1740).


2. David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, ed. by Tom L. Beauchamp, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999/1748).


3. Course Pack (available only at the Reserve Desk in Dupre Library, first floor).

Assignments & Grading:

There will be two take-home exams during the semester, each worth 20% of your course grade, and a cumulative take-home final exam worth 25% of your course grade. The term paper will be done in successive drafts, the first draft being worth 10% of your course grade and the final draft being worth 25% of your course grade. The exams will cover both lectures and assigned readings (material in lectures and assigned readings will not always overlap). The paper must be at least 10 pages in length, and will be described in more detail on a separate handout. There may also be some opportunities for extra-credit points.
The course grades will initially be determined according to the standard scale, i.e., 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, 59% and below = F, and then may be modified as follows:  Course grades might be curved, but, if so, the curve would not be such that any student's grade is lowered. Such factors as improvement over the length of the course, class participation, attendance, etc., may be taken into consideration, especially where doing so may improve a borderline grade. You must complete all course assignments (namely all exams and both drafts of the paper) to receive a passing grade (i.e., a grade other than F, NC or U).

Internet Resources:

I strongly recommend taking advantage of the following resources!
The home page for this class contains links to an on-line syllabus, readings available & word-searchable online, and to other resources you will find helpful. The web address is:
My How To Survive Your First Philosophy Course pages contain useful information about what I look for when grading papers, reading philosophy, taking notes, doing research in philosophy, etc. Note that the advice given for exams there is for in-class exams, not your take-home exams. The web address is:
My home page contains links to all my course home pages, extensive links pages on philosophy, general research, fun sites, and lots of other information. The web address is:

Class Policies:

If you miss class, for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to get class notes from another student. If you miss an assignment due date, you must notify me within one week of either the due date of the assignment or the cessation of a medically documented persistent vegetative state in order to make up the assignment. Missed exams or other assignments can be made up for full credit  only if an appropriate excuse, e.g., illness requiring medical attention, participation in certain official university events, etc., is provided. An unexcused late assignment will be dropped 2/3 of a letter grade per day it is late.  If you have a disability and require assistance with fulfilling class assignments, don't hesitate to notify the instructor and the Office for Services to Students with Disabilities at 482-5252. Finally, be sure you are familiar with all university policies described in the UL Undergraduate Bulletin. All assignments for this class must be completed individually (i.e., without the help of anyone except the instructor), and any instance of academic dishonesty on any assignment will be sufficient to fail the course.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures:

A map of this floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation route and the Designated Rescue Area. This is an area where emergency service personnel will go first to look for individuals who need assistance in exiting the building. Students who may need assistance should identify themselves to the teaching faculty.

Course Calendar & Planned Reading Assignments*

You should complete each of the readings before they are discussed in class. The readings are difficult, and you will find that you need to re-read them after they have been gone over in class in order to fully understand them.

*NOTE: All planned topics, readings, assignments and due dates are tentative and may be altered or deleted.

 (O) = Linked From Online Syllabus
(CP) = Course Pack

1. The Life and Times of David Hume {Week of Aug. 20}

(O) “My Own Life” by David Hume

2. Hume’s Introduction to the Treatise

(CP) “Hume: Dialogue with John Passmore” & Bryan Magee.
“An Abstract of a Book Lately Published, entitled, A Treatise of Human Nature” by David Hume, pp. 407-417 in our edition of the Treatise. These will give you an overview of issues in the Treatise.

3. Book One, Part One of the Treatise – The Mind

A. The Components of the Mind (sections 1 & 2) {Week of August 27}


Monday, September 3: Labor Day, No Classes.

B. Relations Among the Components of the Mind (sections 3-5) {Sept. 5}

C. Application to Modes, Substances and Abstract Ideas (sections 6-7) {Week of Sept. 10}

4. Book One, Part Two of the Treatise – The World

A. Space and Time (sections 1 - 4) {Week of Sept. 17}

B. Vacuums (section 5) {Sept. 24}

C. Existence (section 6)


5. Book One, Part Three of the Treatise – Knowledge & Causation

A. Knowledge, Proof and Probability (sections 1 & 2) {Sept. 26}

Monday & Tuesday, October 1-2: Fall Holiday, No Classes.

B. Causation (sections 3-4) {Oct. 3}

C. Memory (section 5) {Week of Oct. 8}

D. Constant Conjunction and Mental Causation (sections 6)

E. The Nature of Belief (sections 7-10)

Monday, October 15: Advising Begins for Spring 2008.

F. Probability (sections 11 -13) {Week of Oct. 15}

G. Necessary Connexion (section 14)

H. Identifying Causes (section 15)

I. Animal Reasoning (section 16)

6. Book Two, Part Three of the Treatise – Free Will (sections 1 & 2) {Week of Oct. 22}


7. Book One, Part Four of the Treatise – Skepticism & the Metaphysics of Mind

A. Skepticism & Reason (section 1)

B. Skepticism and the External World (section 2)

C. Why All Those Other Guys are Wrong (section 3-4) {Week of Oct. 29}


D. The Mind-Body Problem (section 5)

E. The Sameness of Persons As They Change (section 6)

F. Conclusion (section 7)

8. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

A. Different Kinds of Philosophy (section 1) {Nov. 5}

B. The Mind (sections 2-3) {Nov. 7}

C. Skepticism (sections 4-5) {Week of Nov. 12}

D. Causation (sections 6-7)

E. Free Will (section 8) {Week of Nov. 19}

Thursday & Friday, November 22-23: Thanksgiving Holiday, No Classes.

F. Animal Thought (section 9)

G. Miracles & the Afterlife (sections 10-11)

H. Kinds of Skepticism (section 12) {Week of Nov. 26}




Some Helpful Tips:

1. Keep up with the readings – learning how to read & understand Hume will be essential doing well on the take-home exams.
2. Do not trust anyone. Do not show emotion. Do not fall asleep.
3. If you're having trouble understanding course material, do not hesitate to discuss it with the instructor!

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