Review Comment

[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

January 07, 2009

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy and [PHIL V3701] Moral Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Taking a class with David Sidorsky is absolutely worthwhile. He is one of my favorite professors at Columbia and definitely one of the most interesting and knowledgeable. Yes, I admit, he may be very old, loves going on tangents, and sometimes strays from the syllabus. Some students might be bothered by this lack of structure in his teaching style, I think it is one of the best things about him! He has so many stories and experiences, and does not hesitate to spend large amounts of class time enlightening us with some real world philosophical anecdotes. I seriously looked forward to his classes and just sitting back and relaxing. In addition, he reviews material a pretty slow pace, and usually covers important points multiple points...it is nearly impossible not to get the main points if you just go to lecture alone and do not read anything at all. There are required readings, but they are hardly necessary for earning an A. Seriously...if you are interested in philosophy at all, take his classes!

Workload:

Very very light. Midterm, final, and perhaps a short reactionary paper or two that literally counts for nothing. Beware, however, that his tests require a LOT of writing.

April 19, 2008

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Sidorsky is the cutest old man ever! :) Just take your laptop and write down everything he says and memorize it. There is no need whatsoever to do the readings in order to have an A in the class. (In fact, the readings might confuse you and you'll do worse.) Also, on the first day he says that you have to have taken a philosophy class in the past or else this will be too hard. I almost switched out because he seemed really serious about it. Rubbish! No need to worry!

Workload:

It can literally be nothing if you want it to be up to the midterm and final when you study your notes. Oh yeah and we had to do a 2-page reflection on something. But it didn't count for a grade. I think some people turned it in a month late.

January 21, 2006

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

While it is true that Professor Sidorsky is clearly brilliant and knows his stuff, it seemed to me that he is past the age that he should be teaching. He often repeated entire lectures and was very scattered in his presentation. The course content was interesting but the presentation was pretty bad. Professor Sidorsky is a very nice, old, smart, super-educated professor. If you're looking for an engaging professor, look else where. If you're looking to be exposed to brilliance past its prime and wish to get an A without too much work, then take Sidorsky.

Workload:

Readings for every class that are by no means necessary for success in the class. Midterm and Final.

January 06, 2005

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Sidorsky knows his stuff. At first he seems a bit scattered, but you then learn that his lectures are actually organized, coherent, and he is actually quite brilliant. The lectures can be quite dry at times, but never unbearable. If you listen and take good notes, the time goes by much faster. And, by taking good notes, you will be guaranteed to find the midterm and final very easy. It is very possible to get an A in the class by attending lecture and never doing a single reading...not that there is much reading in the first place. Overall, Professor Sidorsky is very interesting and very kind. His class is great for philosophy majors, those who are interested in philosophy, or for those who simply want an easy class that they can learn some valuable information in.

Workload:

Course pack that is probably $30 and contains all the readings you will need. You could get by without doing any reading, or at least get away with saving it all until the very last minute considering the readings are all short. Midterm and Final that are long long long. You will probably find that you don't even have enough time to finish them in the allotted time. However, Professor Sidorsky is an extremely leniant grader. He admits that himself, quite frequently.

April 04, 2004

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Sidorsky's lectures are a pleasure to hear. He is old, and sometimes he speaks slowly, but he has a profound understanding of the texts and is good at explaining them using his own examples. Furthermore, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, and he weaves references to art, culture, and science into his lectures, thereby connecting the class material to other disciplines. Besides being informative, it is fun to watch his intellectual acrobatics: in one class he quoted the beginning of the Canterbury Tales in Middle Enlgish, a passage from Isaiah in biblical Hebrew, and listed a dozen Roman emperors in chronological order with their corresponding prime numbers (hmm, this sounds a bit crazy, but there was a point to it all). I gather from CULPA that Sidorsky has a reputation for repeating himself, but don't worry, this is not unselfconscious repetion. He goes over important points from the previous lecture at the beginning of most classes--something I found quite helpful. So take a class with Sidorsky while you still can. He truly loves learning, and it makes his class an experience you will be glad to have had.

Workload:

Not much reading. An ungraded 2 page response paper. Midterm and final. If you go to class the tests are pretty easy.

November 15, 2003

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

The class seemed like it could be interesting and while the subject wasn't too bad, the workload was miserable. You cannot miss a class, nor can you skip any of the tons of reading and worst of all, hes a terribly difficult grader.

Workload:

HARD

August 23, 2003

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I agree with almost everything that has been said already here: The man is brilliant, he has an exceptional memory, he will repeat himself, his eyesight is terrible (I'm sure he's legally blind) and he is very very boring.

The eyesight didn't seem like it would be a problem until you see how he writes on the blackboard. If you're like me, and generally lose track of things once in a while and need to refer to the board to get caught up you're in trouble. Almost all of it is unintelligible. It is chicken scratch.

His memory can be great because he can talk about anything, and his memory can be terrible, because he can talk about anything. After spending 30 mins on a subject completely off topic he will return to almost exactly where he left off in the discussion. I personally found it rather hard to follow though I am sure some people would be fine with it.

There was a lot of quite difficult reading in the class, and because of lectures being rather boring and the chicken scratch on the board, it was essential.
I personally regret taking this course though I can understand how others would disagree.

Workload:

Dense, though not terribly long, weekly readings. Mid-term and final.

May 07, 2003

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This guy is a living legend. Columbia should interview him to get his oral history of the whole place. He's a great professor who knows everything about everything, period. His lectures are well-organized and easy to understand. His weakness is a tendency to repeat himself, sometimes repeating whole lectures to drive home a point. He always answers questions in a lengthy format. He's aware of this tendency and makes fun of himself but still does it. I still recommend him, just be patient.

Workload:

Weekly readings, midterm, and final. Readings were on the short side.

March 05, 2003

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Abandon all hope!

I have never been more uninspired by a professor in my three years at Columbia. Yes, Sidorsky is a walking encyclopedia... but like an encyclopedia, he should be but on the shelf and rarely used. Class lectures are not only repetitious... you may actually find that they go backwards. There's nothing quite like the feeling when you're in the 5th week of a class, and you're rehearing material from the 3rd week... and then the 2nd.
Moreover, the readings are useless and have little to do with anything Sidorsky says in class, which is the crux of all graded material.

The tangents get out of control -- so much so, that the class should be titled "20th Century Philosophy -or- Oh, I Digress"

As it is not a required Philosophy course for majors, I advise you to avoid it at all cost. Pursue Kitcher, Vogt, Varzi, or Collins for your electives... at the very least, you'll get a cohesive introduction to the material.

Workload:

Midterm and Final -- completely based on lectures, so DO NOT miss class (good luck with that)!

July 29, 2002

Sidorsky, David
[PHIL V3301] 20th Century Philosophy

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

There's hardly any reading for the class, so Prof. Sidorsky tries to back up the material by making allusions to history, literature and music (he even sang in class once). While he's a walking encyclodpedia, he can be pretty repetetive and sometimes his allusions work better than others. As a result, if you're not feeling his reference of the day, you're going to pass out from boredom as you hear him mention it for the twentieth time. Worse, if you don't understand what he's saying, it's hard to steer him away from his theme. Still, some of his tricks work really well, even if he doesn't go into much depth (which none of his lectures really do). My main difficulty with the class was staying attentive, as his old man's voice and repetition makes it pretty easy to space out. This ordinarily wouldn't be that much of a problem, but because the class is so lecture oriented, it's important to pick up on whatever he says.

Workload:

really light. maybe 5-10 pages of wordy writing a class. midterm and a final. take (good) notes because when you look back on the twenty pages you read, you'll be glad to have whatever extra material you can.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2012 Fall MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2010 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2009 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2008 Fall MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2006 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2005 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2004 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2004 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2003 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL W3301: Twentieth-Century Philosophy David Sidorsky 2002 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1