Course Plan and Assignment Schedule

PHL 156: World Philosophical Traditions

Course Organization

The following list of topics is chronological in order and gives the general themes into which our assignments will fall over the course of the term.

Basic Philosophical Skills

  • Weeks 1-3: What Philosophy is, How To Read and Study Philosophy, Basic Philosophical Methods

Buddhist Philosophy

  • Weeks 3-5: The Basic Buddhist Framework
  • Weeks 5-7: The Buddhist Philosophy of Non-self
  • Weeks 7-8: Buddhist Ethics: Why Be Moral?

Confucian Philosophy

  • Weeks 8-11: A Better Self, A Better World: Moral Self-Cultivation

Daoist Philosophy

  • Weeks 12-15: The Way of Man and Nature

Specific dates and assignment details are given below in the Course Calendar. Remember to use the "Agenda" view and click on "more details" to get full text and active links.

Note: This course plan is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. Students are expected to check this page frequently to remain abreast of any updates.

The whole term is planned out on this calendar. Click on the entry for any day to see what readings and work are assigned for that day. If you have a gmail account you can incorporate the events on this calendar into your own rather easily so that you may access them from your own computer or smartphone.


  1. In some cases the schedule must be viewed by clicking on "Agenda" at the top right box in order for all the text put down for a given day to be visible.
  2. Clicking on "more detail" at the bottom of an entry will display clickable links to readings, etc..

List of Readings and Other Media

We have no textbook in this class. Instead we will use electronically accessible journal articles and other media. Below is a listing of these items. Consult the detailed course plan for specific readings and assignments. Note that access to the journal articles comes via our library. Thus, if you have trouble accessing the articles the first place you should go for help is the reference desk at the library. Please be aware that computer problems of any kind will not excuse anyone from the responsibility to do the work of the class. Please plan ahead.

Notes for Reading Philosophy

The Philosophical Toolbox

The Basics of Philosophical Argumentation

TED: Robert Thurman: Becoming Buddha on the Web

Opening Dao: A Documentary Film on Taoism and the Martial Arts

Lao Tzu (Laozi), The Tao te Ching

Debate Team Assignments and Propositions

Debate team assignments, propositions to be debated, and other details are posted here.

Information will be updated as new propositions are announced.

You can review the format and individual requirements for the debates by going to the Debate Page.

Notes on Rhetoric—to help you prepare for the debate

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