Review Comment

[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

January 23, 2014

Hamelin, Borhane (TA)
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

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Workload:

Borhane sucks asshole.

May 14, 2013

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

Do NOT take this class.

Especially if your TA is some guy named Borhane.

Yes this class is only based on essays, but if it is on such a subjective topic, that leads way for the TA to say whatever he wants about it. If you don't agree with his viewpoints, he can pretty much just mark you down... and for a class that is based on such a subjective topic, that's what tends to happen.

Workload:

3 essays

April 04, 2013

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

Really horrible.
Kitcher's rhetoric is good so at first it seems like it's going to be a good class.
at some point you realize he said absolutely nothing substantial, and you just wasted an hour-fifteen of your life.
obviously people seem to like him, there's a little cult around him, but I think the negative reviewers have a point.
hate to say - but, nothing but bells & airs. not much more than a pompous Brit.
I was bored.

Workload:

light reading, 3 essays

March 17, 2013

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

The review below is an perfect example of a resentful student who is unsatisfied with his/her grade and blames it all on the professor.
The first essay was graded relatively harshly, however, if you did well on the second and the third, you would still get an A range grade even if you got a C plus for your first essay. Professor Kitcher and the TAs are all very patient and encouraging. They want you to do well - given that you make an effort - and take something out of this rather large lecture.
This was my first philosophy class and I was very grateful of how much I learned about religion and the sophistication of its debate with science. The course is certainly not a belief-changing experience (and shouldn't be), but it definitely helps you appreciate both sides of the debate more and reexamine your own position.
Professor Kitcher is a fantastic lecturer: you will also find out that he has the potential of becoming a great actor after listening to his reading of The Brothers Karamazov. In general this is a great and unique into to philosophy. Instead of "avoid[ing]" it, one should seek it out if one can.
Before I end this review I would like to point out two fallacies in the previous review:
1) Professor Kitcher certainly did not say "humanity is developing on the right track, and we are becoming more 'moral' and "ethical' as history goes by." Ironically, this was the view he was trying to attack. Professor Kitcher's view on progress is very similar to that of Kuhn, which (generally speaking) states that progress doesn't mean leading *to* the truth but making something new *from* what is already there. It is in that sense that we are becoming more "moral" and "ethical". (I cannot guarantee that my wording is accurate, but the generally idea is not false.) Even if this were a "dangerous thing to say to young students", the students wouldn't have to accept that.
2) There is difference between a "philosophy essay" and a piece of "philosophical writing", which the previous review failed to identify. I don't want to waste time making the distinction...if you think they are the same...maybe that explains why you think the grading is harsh in the first place.

Workload:

Light reading
3 essays: two 3-5 pages; one 8-10 pages.

March 06, 2013

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

Avoid.

Essays are graded harshly - class is famous for people withdrawing for a 'W' after seeing Kitcher and his TA's comments - unjustifiably harsh and mind-numbingly petty.

Kitcher's mumblings are meaningless at best.
Close to the end of class, he will give a lecture based stricly on editorials regarding his thoughts on Secular Humanism, according to which humanity is developing on the right track, and we are becoming more "moral" and "ethical" as history goes by.
I thought that was a pretty dangerous thing to say to young students.

He will not allow room for creativity in writing, stating a philosophical essay should be pragmatic.
However, on one of the last lectures he will state that the prose philosophy of dostoevsky is the supreme form of philosophical writing.

In any case - nothing changes the fact the class is quite boring, grading is harsh, and the man is a walking contradiction.
Avoid at all cost.

Workload:

3 essays
Light, but harshly graded.

December 21, 2012

Hamelin, Borhane (TA)
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

I can’t imagine having a teaching assistant who is more helpful than Borhane. He is extremely intelligent and presents ideas in such a vivid and jargon-free manner that sometimes listening to him can be quite addictive: “So it’s true what they say, that it’s always interesting to talk with an intelligent man” (BK 279). Granted, all graduate students in the philosophy department are smart in different ways. Borhane stands out with his talent in improvising interesting examples and analogies that elucidate complicated philosophical ideas and their distinctions. For the knack of explaining things clearly usually comes hand-in-hand with the ability to identify inaccurate (if not false) statements, going over your drafts with him line by line can be immensely rewarding. I would highly recommend visiting him immediately after the essay topics are out; Due to high demand, his magic can be affected by the 15-minute time limit he sets on “peak weeks” (a.k.a. the week before ___ is due).

Besides processing apparent genius, Borhane is also one of the friendliest individuals I have ever met. He is also very patient to students who take this course as their first philosophy course. There were times when I heard three different students in a row asking him almost the same question (some essays topics were more popular than others). Despite of that, he responded each with equal patience. In addition, Borhane is highly responsive to emails. The average time he gets back to students is about 35 minutes. He is also willing to make appointments with students who cannot make it to his Friday morning office hours. And yes, he frequently extends his office hours on “peak weeks”.

In terms of grading, I personally think he is very fair. Since the definition of “fairness” varies from student to student, there might be people who hold different opinions. I would suggest paying close attention to his comments (which are very thorough) to get a sense of what he wants, or simply visiting him during office hours. Usually clarity and concreteness are valued and originality is appreciated.

Final suggestion to future Science and Religion students: READ THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV.

Workload:

Work Load: Two essays (4-6 pages) and one term paper on the topic of your choice (8-10). Short readings that are usually covered in the lectures.

May 14, 2010

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

Philip Kitcher is a remarkably thought provoking professor who is also totally approachable and dedicated to making one's undergraduate experience really rewarding. Kitcher's lectures were really put together, but he engaged actively in discussion whenever anyone had a question or wanted to accuse him of either being too religious or not religious enough. Kitcher did a really great job of outlining exactly where the course was headed and made sure to cover all the facets of religion: from Focus on the Family to Balinese Water Temples. Personally, I found the course to be really enlightening on all the different ways one can think about religion and how that conception works with or against science. I would, however, caution those who are ardent Dawkinsian Atheists or Bible Thumping Christians from signing up for this course with the hope that you will be able to wage war against the other side and get Kitcher to endorse you. That is, simply put, not what Kitcher wants you to get out of the course. The class is geared for those looking to get a bigger perspective on the nature of both science and religion not for those whom have already chosen a side. Kitcher wants you to think about the issue not just defend a position well. That said there were a great number of ardent Atheists and Catholics in the class and their dialogue was very interesting throughout the course so don't think this course is just for the weak minded who can't make a decision either!
So, Kitcher as a professor is excellent and his combination of lecture and discussion is thrilling, but a third thing Kitcher get right is the workload. There are only 3 essays for this class and no tests. This means that you don't have to do the reading if you are swapped, but don't expect to understand much of the class if you skip too many. The idea is the Kitcher wants us wrestling wit the ideas in the course and not memorizing arguments or who said what in what chapter of what book. The light work load encouraged me to think more about the content of the class than if I had been studying for a midterm and final. Take this class, keep an open mind, and sit back and let Kitcher work his magic and enhance your understand of the question of science and religion!

Workload:

Wonderfully light. Two 5 page papers on topics handed out in class, and both worth ~25% of your grade. A final 10 page paper worth 50% and on a topic of your choice.

April 14, 2001

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

A charismatic, pompous man, who was insufferably underprepared for class. He is obviously a world class philosopher, but left us dissatisfied in the lack of conclusions reached in the class. He will enthrall you for forty-five minutes and then make you want to staple his tongue to the relatively interesting reading assignments in the last half-hour

Workload:

A handful of books that are not necessary to read and classes that are not necessary to attend. Grades will oscillate according to which TA grades the paper. No final

December 31, 1999

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

This class is sheer genius. Kitcher is obviously an atheist, but the class is full of orthodox jews and fundamentalist christians. It's like shaking up red and black ants inside a glass jar. The reading is extremely light, the 3 papers are short (4-5) and don't seem to bother most. After listening to his lectures you can almost write out this stuff asleep. A great elective. I'd imagine it would be like a vacation for a serious Philosophy major. Plus, the Jerry Springer-style bickerings over Jesus and Moses. Why hasn't this man won a teaching award?

Workload:

5 books of less than 150 pages a piece, spread out evenly over the entire semester. The books are NON-ACADEMIC, usually good reading (except for one), and (although I didn't) probably could be skipped entirely. Kitcher summarizes them heavily in lecture. The papers are short, easy to write if you've been attending lecture, and come back with "B"s as long as they are complete sentences.

December 31, 1999

Kitcher, Philip Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2593] Science and Religion

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

Kitcher is a good professor -- funny and interesting, with a great Australian accent. The class is extremely lecture oriented, but he always lets students ask questions. What's more, if you do ask a question he'll challenge you on your answer and make you think about it. Discussion groups are available but no one in our class took advantage of them so he stopped offering them. I wouldn't say you will never fall asleep in this class, but if you stay awake you won't feel unsatisfied after the hour and fifteen minutes has passed.

Workload:

Medium Light; he goes over the readings (which include William James and Kierkegaard) in lecture, so you can get away without reading them. They will probably come in handy for the three papers, though. He shares grading responsibilities with four TAs.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2593: Science & Religion Philip Kitcher 2012 Fall MW / 4:10- 5:25 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2593: Science & Religion Philip Kitcher 2010 Spring MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2593: Science & Religion Philip Kitcher 2002 Fall MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2593: Science & Religion 2002 Fall F / 2:30- 3:30 PM 0