Asian Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule

K's Coffee Berkeley

K’s Coffee

PHIL 37 FALL 2014, Class Code: 42031

FRI 9 – 11:50 AM, Room: BCC 54

Instructor: Eric Gerlach, email:

Office Hours: Fridays 12-1 pm @ K’s Coffee (next door to BCC)

Introduction to Asian Philosophy: Syllabus & Class Schedule

Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Philosophy by focusing on the core ideas of central thinkers.

Required Texts: The only text for the class is the Course Reader, available at Lazer Image, 61 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, (510) 644-3339. A copy of the reader will be put on reserve in the BCC Library.

Assignments: 4 Response Essays (40%) MIDTERM Exam (30%) FINAL Exam (30%)


Aug 22: Introduction to Asian Thought                                                               

Aug 29: Indian Thought & Hinduism                                                                               

Sept 5:The Upanishads & The Indian Epics                                                                  

Sept 12: The Orthodox & Unorthodox Indian schools

Sept 19: Buddhism in India: Theravada & Mahayana (FIRST RESPONSE)

Sept 26: Buddhism in Tibet, China & Japan                                                                                 

Oct 3: Chan/Zen Buddhism & Koans                                


Oct 17: Chinese Thought & The Period of the Hundred Schools                                          

Oct 24: Confucius & the Analects                                                                

Oct 31: Mencius, Xunzi & Neo-Confucianism       

Nov 7: Mozi & the Logicians  (THIRD RESPONSE)                                                      

Nov 14: Daoism, Laozi, Zhuangzi & Liezi                                                                                  

Nov 21: Warriors & Strategy: Sunzi & Bushido  

Dec  5: Review for Final


Essay Grading Policy:  For response essays, write at least three pages, stick to your own thinking and provide a clear and focused argument, earning 2 points per page (one point off for every half page less than 3 pages), 2 points for sticking to your thinking, as opposed to summarizing the material, and 2 points for clarity and focus, for 10 points total.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Information Competency: understand philosophical concepts and systems

Critical Thinking: evaluate philosophical concepts and argue for and against viewpoints

Global Awareness & Valuing Diversity: understand and appreciate diverse cultures of thought

General Student Requirements:

Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are listed here. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course.  Students are responsible for all class material (even if they miss class). If you miss class, it is strongly advised that you ask a classmate for notes. It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. Please read through the syllabus and plan ahead.

Late assignments will only be excused in cases of well-documented emergencies; in addition, students must have evidence that substantial progress has been made on the assignment before the emergency took place.  If a student has any extenuating circumstances which may affect full participation in the class, the student must speak to the instructor as far ahead of any due date as possible. All assignments must be completed and all requirements must be met in order to pass the class. You must turn in all assignments (even if they are late) in order to be eligible to receive a “C” grade or higher.  There are no exceptions, under any circumstance.  Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog.  Attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than five classes, you will receive an F in the course. (Note: I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences; if you miss more than five classes, for any reason, you cannot pass the class.)

Disabled Student Program and Services (DSP&S) are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSP&S.

The syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.

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