FDN 5840, Social and Philosophical Foundations

On Competition and the Difficulties of Creating a Just Society

Dewey, John. TBA (Selected text will be available on line.)

Leman, Nicholas. Behind the SAT.

Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game.

On Life In School

Delpit, Lisa. from Other People’s Children.

Kozol, Jonathan. from The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.

Gould, Stephan Jay. Ghosts of Bell Curves Past. (Online)

On the Nature of Truth and Objectivity

Rorty, Richard. "Solidarity or objectivity," and "Science as solidarity." From Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, by Richard Rorty. (Both essays available as PDF online on your syllabus.)

Kingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible.

On Changing Social Structures

Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael.

Sendak, Mauric. Where the Wild Things Are. (Supplemental)


1. Reading. Read each assignment before the date it is scheduled for class discussion. 
2. Class participation and attendance. Attend each class session and participate in discussions based on the assigned reading. The success of the class depends on each student attending all classes, all the time, and on time. It is also critical that you read each assignment prior to class discussion, that way we can have great discussions.
3. On-line discussion forum. Participate in the class discussion board. “Participation” means that you will begin at least two threads during the semester, and that you will reply to one thread of your choice a minimum of one time each week for fourteen weeks. The forum address is http://forums.gayleturner.net. This means you will have a minimum of sixteen posts spread throughout the semester.
4. Exams. Complete the take-home final and mid-term on time, written in a rigorous and thoughtful manner.


1. You begin the course with an “A.” To keep the “A”:
a. Attend and participate in each class in a meaningful and intelligent manner that reflects the thoughtfulness of your engagement with the assigned texts, your classmates, and the instructor.
b. Write a rigorous and thoughtful mid-term and final, and deliver it to me in the required digital format on time.
2. Each component above carries the following weight: Mid-term 30% Final = 35% Class participation = 20% Class discussion board participation = 15%
3. Class participation and the online discussion forum are both Pass/Fail portions of the course. This means you get all the credit for each of these parts if you complete the requirement, but none if you do not.

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