Review Comment

[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

June 09, 2019

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

I disagree with the December 12, 2016 reviewer, even though I think I may have been in their section. Although it’s true that we did fall somewhat behind on the material and received assignments later than expected, I don’t remember this being a huge problem. The syllabus was off, but Prof. Mann usually let us know which reading to complete for next time at least one lecture in advance. As that earlier reviewer also pointed out, Mann did schedule make-up classes on the missed material (which he did not have to do) and held a lot of extra office hours toward the end of the semester in order to make sure that we could discuss our final papers with him if we wanted to.

Logistical issues aside, I thought History I with Mann was a great class. The texts were amazing, and each of Mann’s lectures provided useful context about them and helped me notice things in them that I would not have picked up on my own. This was my first philosophy course that involved reading, and I felt so engaged with the material that it convinced me to major in the subject. I also visited office hours a few times and did not find Mann lacking in social skills (re: some of the even earlier reviews). As far as I can remember, he was appropriately courteous and direct in addressing my questions about the course material.

Workload:

two 8-page papers and a take-home final; attendance in recitation

December 12, 2017

Hejduk, Natalie
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

I loved having Natalie as my TA for this course. She truly maximized the 50 minutes we had each week and made sure we covered important topics that needed more clarification. She is a very fair grader and knows how to moderate class discussion well. She is big on group activities, which I thought helped my understanding of the material. On top of it all, I can tell that she truly cares about her students and will go out of her way to meet with some that cannot come during her office hours. 10/10 would recommend!

Workload:

3 1-page papers and 1 3-page paper, which is consistent across all discussion sections. Fair amount of coursework that I never found daunting. Had weekly reading that were not excessively long at all, but really bolstered understanding of the material.

December 12, 2017

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

This was my first philosophy course at Columbia, and I have absolutely no regrets. Professor Vogt (indirectly) confirmed my desire to concentrate in philosophy and reassured me that I can excel in the field. Professor Vogt is super sweet and an engaging lecturer. It is important to go to her class because she so clearly outlines exam and paper material. I wish she were teaching History of Philosophy II so I could be her student again.

Workload:

Similar or less to other classes. She chooses only relevant sections of reading and tries hard not to overload her students. 3 1-page papers and 1 3-page paper.

December 12, 2016

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

Disorganized, unresponsive, not transparent, uncommunicative and ineffective. We have been behind since week 2. The syllabus was never updated but rather, Professor Mann would send us email updated every week to tell us what to read. Those email updates came later and later throughout the semester until he emailed them on Monday morning when my recitation section was scheduled for Monday afternoon. I never knew what reading to do, I never knew what the lecture was going to be about. He never updated us about the first paper and gave us the topic very late and pushed the deadline. He updated us about the second paper the LITERAL LAST DAY OF CLASS when it was supposed to be due in early December. He pushed the deadline to December 19th and made the final due on December 22nd!! ON TOP OF THAT, he scheduled make-up classes for both Tuesday and Thursday during reading week and only when enough people complained about his ineptitude did he finally cancel the Thursday make up class. He is a horrible professor and frankly a boring lecturer. Make someone else teach that class.

Take this class only if it required for you.

Workload:

2 medium-length papers and take home final (short answers)
Recitation section (attendance taken and we had to submit 2 questions about the reading before each section)

August 27, 2015

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

Katja is an amazing professor. She tries hard to engage everyone and is so interested in your opinion, even in a class size of over 100. Yes, at times it gets boring and I spent many a lecture reading the news, but when I focused on her lectures they were fantastic.

TA was the great Thimo. Team Thimo all the way! Always willing to meet and discuss assignments and ideas. So smart but also a fantastic teacher who makes your opinions feel valued.

In all, an amazing introduction to philosophy for a lowly freshman.

Workload:

Readings, essays, easy midterm/final

April 14, 2015

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

Vogt is a really caring professor who explains all the material succinctly and encourages class participation in lectures, which is rare and awesome. She's also quite witty, so anyone who appreciates jokes about ancient philosophers will definitely enjoy this class. The only complaint I had about the class was that her class notes were a bit difficult to understand and required further clarification.

Workload:

Heavy reading, a couple of short papers/responses, and a midterm and final

June 14, 2014

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

I agree with everyone who says Mann is not an easy professor. As another reviewer says, if "you're just in that stage of 'being curious about philosophy,' " don't take Mann's class first. It's harder than your standard intro classes. This is especially true if it's your first time taking philosophy, or if you're a freshman new to college (because college classes are structured very differently from high school classes). Also keep in mind that it is a HISTORY of philosophy class, so there's not that much philosophizing done. Most of it comes from the readings (which you should 100% keep up with if you hope to pass the final). I'd take intro to philosophy instead if you're not a philosophy major. And if you're taking this for a major requirement before you're officially sure you want a philosophy major, DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS. Save yourself the "unprecedented stress" (see other reviewers) that it will definitely give you.

As for Mann's lecture style, he tries to structure things on the board, but ideas invariably end up crossing all over the place. If you do the readings beforehand (aka on time), it'll help you a lot. Yes, he is a boring lecturer - I managed to nod off in his class though I never fall asleep in any other class - but only if you're not 100% invested in the subject. Usually what happened to me was that my mind glazed over his words (confusing/abstract philosophical ideas from classical philosophers).

IN CONCLUSION: I was one of those people agonizing over "should I take Mann for fun or not." Answer: If you're willing to be dedicated (eg your life is philosophy, I'm saying this seriously, you do NOTHING with your time except philosophy), fine, take his class. If not (eg You enjoy life outside the library and spend your hours on things not philosophy), DON'T TAKE THIS AS YOUR FIRST PHILOSOPHY CLASS. Save yourself the trouble.

Workload:

short assignments, 2 short papers, 1 long paper, no midterm, final. Read Aristotle's Physics and Nicomachean Ethics, Plato's Republic and Euthyphro and Protagoras, Stoics (Cicero's De Finibus, Diogenes Laertius), spent last 2 classes on Augustine.

October 02, 2012

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

I took this class in the first semester of my freshman year. At first, I was really concerned that I would be lost because I hadn't taken any 1000-level philosophy courses, but it turned out that this is a pretty good introductory class. My TA, Nick Engel, kept asking me if I'd taken any basic logic classes, but apart from those exchanges, I don't see any reason why you can't start out in this class.
Nick Engel was a decent TA. He led good discussions, and he was very patient. However, when I met with him to discuss my essays, it was always clear that he hadn't read my drafts. One time, he admitted this right off the bat, then proceeded to spend the next half hour telling me things I already knew. He eventually read my essay draft and gave me comments -- the day before it was due. To be fair, though, I did decently well on all three of the essays - B plus to A range. From what I heard, the other TA, Moss, was better.
Mann is a good lecturer -- I can see why people get annoyed with him for sounding monotonous, but that didn't bother me, since the content was interesting. He assumes that you've read and more or less understood the material before each lecture. His lectures are all based on the ambiguities and multiple interpretations of "wrinkles" in the material.
Writing essays was kind of a pain. I struggled, especially with the first one, but the struggle probably helped me understand the course material more than the discussion section. And like I said, the TAs grade VERY generously. For the first philosophy essay I ever wrote, I was expecting a gentleman C, but I got an A minus.
The final is passage IDs (he gives you the author & book, you just explain the importance of the passage), and then a brief essay. I didn't study very much for the test -- how could you, except by rereading everything? -- but I thought it was pretty easy.
I ended up with an A minus. Interesting class, TA could have been better, don't hesitate to take it if you're a freshman who's interested in philosophy -- you can do it!

Workload:

Fine. Short selections from the Pre-Socratics. Selections from Aristotle's Physics and Metaphysics, as well as his De Anima. Maybe half a dozen Platonic dialogues (my favorite readings). Some brief readings from Epictetus and other Stoics (my least favorite). Some silly but short selections from Anselm

April 11, 2012

Mann, Wolfgang and Moss, Matt (TA)
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

This was my first philosophy class and I was really excited to study the great philosophers whose names were ubiquitous on libraries, statues, etc. Suffice it to say that I was genuinely curious about philosophy.

Unfortunately, this class was extremely difficult and caused me unprecedented stress as a first-year. The works were, of course, challenging to get through and writing philosophically was something I had never done before. I really needed guidance, but lecture did not provide me with this.

Worse, I went to every single lecture and struggled to stay awake every single time. For those insomniacs out there, get your hands on a recording of Mann lecturing and I can guarantee you that you're problem will be solved. Okay, that's a little harsh, but you get the idea. Maybe that's my fault... The point is, however, by falling behind in understanding lectures and readings, I never felt comfortable talking directly with Mann. I never asked him questions and I had plenty.

Despite all the trouble I had with this class; I made it through, thanks to the TA, Matt Moss. If you're looking up Matt Moss to see how he is as a teacher - whatever it is- take it! He's phenomenal. His recitations made philosophy exactly what I envisioned when I signed up for this course: engaging. He is an upbeat character, listens to students really well when they pose ideas, and is ultimately quite understanding that members of the class are at different levels. Moreover, he provides support to everyone and does a thorough job every single time. All this is only possible because he loves thinking and wants to help others do the same!

All in all, I recommend Matt Moss and I do not recommend Mann or this course if you're just in that stage of 'being curious about philosophy.'

Workload:

Dense. Very dense. Most could not keep up with the reading, but that will be okay assignment wise... you'll just have to prep hard for the final.

April 09, 2012

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Oh man, what a terrible professor. I've seen people locked in their ivory towers, but nothing quite like this. He called someone's question outright stupid, was intolerant for the most part of other opinions and questions, and did not show intent to engage the class critically. He also delayed giving us assignments beyond the dates provided, but still expected us to do everything (he did cut down the third paper a bit, but it was still long and under time constraints). That said, I do have to give him credit for well-constructed (and super-boring) lectures, analyzing the material painstakingly in order to make the material as clear as possible. He was challenging and his assignments compelled us to think about the readings, not just read them. Still, I would have far rather taken this with pretty much anyone else.

Workload:

Tons--three papers, final exam (lots of materials and long), short assignments (three that became one)

January 27, 2012

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Mann's class is difficult. His papers are difficult and he makes no attempt to soften his explanations for student. At the end of the class however, you feel as if you have accomplished something so if you are looking at being a Philosophy major, you should definitely take Mann's class. It is not an unrealistic class however. If you are an independent learner who is comfortable with reading difficult texts, you will probably get a good grade in the class. Mann's lectures are difficult to stay awake in if you have not already done at least some of the reading. His spoken sentences are long and convoluted -- you will either hate this aspect of lectures thoroughly or will get used to the idiosyncrasies that make Mann a peculiar but definitely interesting character. If you stay abreast and develop a real interest in one of the texts, talking to him after class or during office hours will prove to be a rewarding experience as he expects an intellectually maturity from his students.

Workload:

It seems to change from year to year but the readings are heavy. He usually does not give too many papers but the questions are challenging. Nonetheless, your TA is likely to be very good and will understand that the class makes unusually high demands. My TA willing to spend large amounts of time working through essay drafts with every single person who requested for help. The exams draw on a solid understanding of the later parts of the course but are not usually as difficult as feared. Grading is fair.

March 15, 2011

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

An incredibly engaging class, but Mann does not make it easy. That is, he has so much thoughtful analysis to share that it is easy to be overwhelmed. The whole lecture from beginning to end is filled with complex concepts and rarely gets anything repeated. Prepare to be taking notes and going over them after class if you want to understand the material fully. Being now 'treated' to the Hist-Phil II by John Morrison, I look back sentimentally to the days were I needed to attend lectures. Mann did not explain the readings, but rather gave additional perspective and introduced the work of different scholars (which made the already large reading load just more intense, since long and dense scholarly articles were added to a 'recommended' reading list). I hear Katja Vogt does this segment at least equally well and I am inclined to believe it, but this class was certainly no waste of the significant time I spent on it. The only downside in my perspective was that Aristotle took up some time initially alloted to the Hellenistic period and Augustine. Suffice it to say I'm no fan of Aristotle.

Workload:

Some texts by the pre-Socratics, 5 or 6 platonic dialogs, the whole Nichomachean Ethics, most of the Metaphysics and De Anima and several chapters of other Aristotelian lectures. Stoic, Skeptic and Epicurean fragments and as mentioned scholarly articles on all of those. 3 5-page papers all with exceptionally helpful and detailed comments and a comprehensive final exam.

December 05, 2010

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

There is no doubt that Professor Mann is absolutely brilliant. Every single class, he delivers a lecture profound enough to be the thesis of an articles in scholarly journal. That said, the lectures may be too profound for the class. To appreciate the lectures depends on your coming to class with a full understanding of the content of the readings, as Professor Mann devotes zero class time to a study of what the readings are actually saying.

My favorite Mann lecture was about Plato's Republic, because I had already studied it in CC. Because I was already pretty familiar with the text, I was literally blown away with what Professor Mann had to say about it. However, when we begin reading harder material, despite having done the reading, it was difficult for me to keep up. For this reason, many people in the class don't do the readings: because unless you spend a lot of time working to understand the readings on your own, it's easy to get nothing out of the class.

It's also worth mentioning that Professor Mann is not very approachable, and seems to dislike taking questions during class. Students probably ask one question a class, and he usually waits to call on them until he's done making a point, sometimes even appearing annoyed about being interrupted. That said, if approached after class or during office hours with a legitimately worthy question, Professor Mann is willing to talk to you.

This is not a bad class, it's just too advanced for a 2000 level survey course. Overall, I'm glad I took it, especially because the TAs were really great.

Workload:

The amount of reading is not bad for a philosophy class. There are a few short assignments, two short papers, and one longer paper. Professor Mann deviates often from the due dates on the syllabus, which can make things a little harder.

November 27, 2010

Berger, Mark (TA) Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Mark is everything a TA should be: brilliant, accessible, engaging, available, and he truly cares about his students. He is extremely knowledgeable, and can answer any questions about the material, but he does so in such a straight-forward way that really distinguishes him from other philosophy TAs. His only goal seems to be that his students really really understand the material. Even when people ask silly questions- and it's philosophy, so people do ask silly questions, Mark addresses them comprehensibly. As a result, people feel really comfortable asking questions in recitation, and recitation is for that reason really enjoyable and educational. Furthermore, Mark makes himself really available to his students. He responds to emails, and if you can't make his office hours, he hold office hours at another time, just so you can meet with him. In short, Mark is absolutely fabulous, and any philosophy student would be so lucky to be in his section.

Workload:

N/A

May 16, 2010

Berger, Mark (TA) Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine and [PHIL V2201] History of Philosophy II: Aquinas to Kant

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

I've had Mark as my TA for two semesters now, and I really hope that I have him again for a philosophy class next semester! He's honestly a really devoted, awesome TA - and this is only his second semester as one! I can say for both classes that he was really accessible and approachable, and, like the previous reviewer said, almost always added more office hours - especially around the midterm or exams. And if you couldn't make his hours for certain weeks he was more than happy to make an appointment with you. His feedback on papers have always been really helpful, and he never seemed to mind answering even the silliest of questions, and seemed to genuinely care about the students understanding the material!

Workload:

n/a

March 03, 2010

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

I honestly have nothing but praise to give her. At the beginning - I guess some of the previous culpa reviews had made me biased - I was very skeptical, and there were moments were I was a bit put off by her abruptness, but in retrospect, that was all so that she could go through as much of the assigned material as clearly as she can, so that we really can understand and therefore appreciate it all. What's great about Vogt is that she makes lecture notes for class - with that said, you always do get more out of the lectures by attending as well - but that means that there's nothing left uncovered. If we can't discuss it in class, the main points she would have wanted to highlight would be on the lecture notes on courseworks, and those are really helpful when studying for the exams as well.

She's very approachable and open to questions - if she ever cuts you off, it's only in interest of time, which is understandable, but you can tell that, if she were given the choice, she could go on and on about arguments because she just loves philosophy so much. Not to mention, she does help a great deal in making difficult concepts very (to use Descartes' term) clear and distinct. I definitely recommend her. She's teaching Moral Philosophy next semester and I can't wait to take it with her!

Workload:

Three short, one page papers that are like 'close readings' of an excerpt from what we've covered in class. One longer paper that is about three to five pages, which was between the midterm and the final.

The final is only material covered after the midterm, so it's basically like a 'second midterm' or whatever. The exams are really straightforward. They're close analyses of passages from each philosopher covered, which she gives us beforehand. She'll give us four Plato passages, for example, and then on the exam, for the "Plato question", two of the four previously provided will be on, and you choose one - that sort of thing.

March 02, 2009

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Professor Vogt is great. She is extremely prepared for class and always prepares an outline beforehand which you can print out and use as she lectures. She is extremely good at explaining all the concepts presented, and she prepares you very well for the exams. I have nothing at all bad to say about her, and I would highly recommend this class.

Workload:

Normal amount of reading, three short (one page) papers and one longer (5 page) paper. Midterm and exam.

January 14, 2008

Bhullar, Iman (TA)
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

I found Iman to be extremely helpful during his office hours, despite the ridiculously high demand for personal attention. Generally speaking, he's great when you have no idea what the hell Stoic physics is, or how teleology relates to necessity. He'll walk you through your papers or the reading (within reason). In terms of grading, he wasn't too terribly difficult. I had trouble adjusting to what he was looking for, but once I had it was easy sailing. Definitely the best TA in the class.

December 27, 2006

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

A melange of disasterous delivery and eloquence, if such a thing is possible. Overall an erudite, intelligent, damn smart man with a thorough grasp of Greek and a ferocious attention to textual detail. He definitely knows what he's talking about, unlike some professors in this department. However, the fact that he knows what he's talking about does not mean that you will too. At moments, when I was able to follow his arguments, I found him brilliant, though more than ninety percent of the time it felt like the class was running after him while he was off somewhere floating on a socratic cloud of revelation.
Professor Mann is very approachable during office hours and he will take time to go over whatever you need help with, be it the material or papers, but be aware that you likely will not go to office hours because you will not know even how to begin asking for help. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that he requires that you do all of the reading, and no my sparknote-reading friends, sparknotes won't help, and that's a given. This is philosophy, not lit hum. Because his lectures consist of jumping through theoretical hoops in a monotonous, circuitous, agonizingly slow speech that makes you feel like jumping out the window or anestesizing yourself with that ten pound complete works of Plato, if you do not understand the works for yourself, from your independent reading, you will not get anything out of this class.
With that said, he's really trying and I am by no means saying this is a horrible class. Be sure you are aware that you need to put work in, otherwise you'll feel like you went scott free all semester and then at the end the final will draw and quarter you (bulshitting does not seem to be an option, ever). He's a generous grader, however.

Workload:

Three papers, (5-6 pp.) and a final - IDs, short response, and essay.

February 01, 2006

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

For some people this class is probably a godsend. I did not like it at all. Mann's lectures are very clear. He is very, very, very passionate about ancient philosophy, as I discovered by looking up his resume. He is the ultimate philosophy geek. He showed up to the first few days of classes with his thick rimmed glasses, unkempt beard, and disturbingly greasy hair wearing a shirt and tie with grimy old tennis shoes. He later ditched the tennis shoes, but you get the point. The readings are, as expected, extremely dry, and as you can guess, Mann assigns quite a lot. This was the trouble with the class for me. I think that if I had enough passion for philosophy to wade through the hundreds and hundreds of pages of insanely dry philosophical texts, I would've enjoyed the lectures a lot more and would've loved the class in general. As it was, I didn't do many of the readings, often became lost or bored during lectures, and scraped by with a B. My advice is to take this class if you know you LOVE philosophy (specifically ancient philosophy, and by that I mean READING actual philosophical texts by those guys). If you don't, DO NOT take it. One other thing that I should mention is that I found Mann's demeanor to be MOST unpleasant. He is one of the most high-strung people I have ever laid eyes on, and he seriously snapped at students on several occasions for their cell phones ringing in class. You could hear a pin drop. Once he snapped very rudely at someone for accidentally dropping a book.

Workload:

Two papers which I didn't try that hard on and didn't do too well on. No midterm. The final was easier than expected, but I still didn't do that great judging by my final grade. And, of course, there is the proverbial shitload of Aristotle, Plato, Parmenides, St. Anselm, etc. etc. etc. that you will have to slog through to get anything out of the course.

January 21, 2006

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Overall, I enjoyed the class. Professor Mann is very intelligent but can get boring in his presentation at times. He has a very academic approach to the works and often provides interesting insights into how they relate to one another. He has tough standards for his papers so be prepared to write papers that are in accordance with what is expected of philosophy papers. The class has a nice balance between providing the different philosophies of the time period and going into detailed analysis.

Workload:

Two papers and a final.

January 25, 2005

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

As most of the other reviewers have said, Professor Vogt is amazingly intelligent. She does, I think, an incredible job explaining really difficult philosophical texts. She does so well, in fact, that her lectures can seem too straightforward and dull when in actuality she is highlighting nuances and intricacies that the vast majority of the class glossed over when they read them. True, she answers too many questions, but it's the students' fault for asking so many stupid questions that really could be answered by reading the texts. The best part about the class in my opinion was Professor Vogt's accent. She's originally from Germany and she says the following words in such an adorable manner: vague, bodies, void, though, envisage, motivation, advantageous, inquiry, err, hypothesis, pursuit, doctrine...
actually, pretty much everything she says. The v's and w's get switched at random and her stresses in multisyllabic words are great.
In any case, a great way to get into philosophy.

Workload:

Lots of reading that helps infinitely if you actually read ANY of it. Four or five papers ranging from 1 page to 6 pages. midterm and final.

December 28, 2004

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Professor Vogt is a great teacher. She really explains these complex texts very well, and makes them accessible to all. She offers many paper topic options and makes them all very fair. She has a very good manner with the students as well. I can't recommend her highly enough.

Workload:

2 Papers, Midterm, Final, 2 1-page assignments. Very fair and fairly graded by the TAs.

December 26, 2004

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

It takes a couple weeks to realize just how intelligent and knowledgeable this woman is, but once you've begun to appreciate her you will love going to class. Granted there were a few classes in the Plato section that did not hold my interest--how excited can you get about the question, "What is piety"--but aside from that the content was fascinating and anyone who claims to be interested in philosophy and thought this class was boring was probably not paying enough attention. Prof. Vogt is incredibly passionate about her subject and rather than give a broad overview, from which one learns nothing, she chooses to delve into specific arguments in great detail. The virtue of this is that you get a real understanding of the kind of questions that philosophers, and scholars of philosophy, obsess over. You will also walk away with knowledge that will last. I don't even know Aristotle's dates but I know what he thinks the purpose of human life is, and to me that seems much more important.
Prof. Vogt's lectures were, for the most part, very clear and organized, and when she did go off on a tangent it was usually interesting. She also does a good job with questions, giving thorough answers to good ones and this cute "what the *!@# are you talking about" look to the stupid ones. When there are certain points that she wants everyone to get she will repeat herself, and it may seem like she is just being repetitive, but if you really pay attention you will find that each time she explains it she is adding some nuance. Her lectures contain a wealth of knowledge for those that are truly interested.

Prof. Vogt is timid and sweet and approachable, and at the same time smart and intellectually acute. Overall this class was great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in ancient philosophy.

Workload:

Two 1-page assignments, two essays 1200 & 1500 words, midterm, final

December 23, 2004

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Boring.zzzzzzzzzzzz.
I went into this class with a genuine love for ancient philosophy, and I routinely had difficulty forcing myself to pay attention. Prof Vogt has a very firm grasp of this material, but she doesn't do much to make it fresh or compelling. Her lectures were dry and a bit unstructured. Also, English is not her first language, so she can sometimes be hard to understand. This course will give you a pretty thorough yet standard survey of ancient philosophy, but don't expect much more out of it than you got from CC. If you're just looking for an inspiring philosophy course, avoid this one. If you have to take it because you're a philosophy major, it will be like broccoli: bland but nutritious. Eat up!

Workload:

Two one-page assignments, two 4-6 pg papers. Midterm and Final: both completely standard. If you are unlucky like me, your work will be graded over-harshly by TA's on ego-trips, but you should still be able to pull off at least an A- unless you really slack off.

January 05, 2004

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Prof. Vogt is a really good lecturer. Plus she's nice and a fair grader. She is also unpretentious. I would definitely recommend this class to others. I thought the material had the potential to be boring but she made it really interesting. However, she does answer too many questions. Students apparently feel the need to impress her with the longest questions they can think of and it disrupts the lectures. If you have any interest in early philosophy, take this class!

Workload:

Light workload. 2 really short assignments, 2 short papers, a midterm and a final.

December 17, 2003

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

An all-around good teacher. She comes prepared, teaches the concepts lucidly, and grades quite fairly. One knows what to expect for the midterm and final and, while the material may seem like quite a bit of basic explication of argument, that is precisely what (I think) an introductory philosophy course should be all about. If you need to wrap your head around the methodology of philosophy, this is a great way to start. I can't say that the subject matter is very interesting, though.

Workload:

2 very short papers (1 pg.), 2 papers (5 pgs.), midterm, final with study guide.

December 16, 2003

Vogt, Katja Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Professor Vogt is simply amazing. Before her class, I had always thought that the history of philosophy was worthless. Honestly, I still do. Yet still her lectures will simply thrilling. I hung on every word of her eloquent soliloquies as I would hang on to every word of a brilliant novel. For some reason, and I'm not sure exactly why, I always wanted to hear every detail and anecdote she offerred.
The one shortcoming of the class is that she seemed to take as many questions as we could throw at her and would never cut a student off regardless of how inconsequentlal or lengthy his tirade was. Some might think this a good thing; however, pausing in her lecture to hear students babble is like pausing the Nightly News Hour to watch the O'Reilly factor: always jarring and often unpleasant.

Workload:

2 short papers (1500 words), 2 1-page papers, midterm and final.

May 13, 2003

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

First of all, Augustine was not touched on in this class, and the pre-socratics were only covered briefly as a useful background setup for some of Plato's ideas etc. Mann himself made a joke about this the first day. His lectures were absolutely precise, and any complaints about boredom (see virtually all other Culpa postings on this professor) reflect a lack of true interest in learning the subject material. For a survey course, a surprising level of depth was reached on all the material, but Plato in particular, since we spent the majority of the first half of the semester reading his dialogues. Mann draws illustrative diagrams, and comprehensively plans every single lecture, building up a solid framework for the class to attempt to wrap their minds around. Unlike the stand-up-comic-like Christia Mercer (who teaches the second survey history of philosophy course), Mann's lectures do not stray from the subject material; this allows, in my opinion, for a much greater depth to the understanding of each philosophy. He does not approach it, like some do(mercer...), from a standpoint that his students aren't capable of fully understanding the concepts presented...doesn't dumb down everything to examples from holywood, etc. just for a laugh. You will not become buddies with Wolfgang Mann, but, if you are dedicated to the subject, you will learn a lot about plato. Highly recommended.

Workload:

Lot's of fantastic reading. 2 short papers. midterm and final. I think about 35% of the class (according tot he transcript) got in the A range.

January 14, 2003

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Prof. Mann's lectures are fairly informative, and relatively well structured. However, his delivery is so bad that I never managed to pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time and eventually just stopped going to class. The material is interesting, and Mann seems like a good guy, but I (and all my friends who were in the class,) found his lectures pretty unbearable.
He is however, a somewhat easy grader, and one does learn a good deal about philosophy. I would strongly advise against this class for non-majors and say it's a fine way to fulfill the requirement for majors.

Workload:

5 page paper, 8 page paper, midterm, final.

May 07, 2002

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

This professor speaks in a monotone and in a very slow pace. I used to photocopy people's notes for classes i attended because i slept through them. His lectures are very clear, however, but elementary. It is a good intro. to philosophy because the readings are not very abstract and not too difficult to read. I would have loved this course if it was taught by a different professor because the actual content was philosophy before it is really abstract and complicated.

Workload:

two short papers, midterm and final. the grading was pretty good especially on the tests-those are very easy. Also, on the final grade he is pretty nice.

January 29, 2002

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Mann is one of the most brilliant professors I have had at Columbia. His understanding of the material as well as his critical insights make his course very worthwile. I found his lectures to be powerful and very educational, but you do need to be able to stay alert during them. He is extremely kind and always willing to chat further about subjects during office hours. I found that I learned a great deal during his course, especially in my ability to structure a philosophical argument.

January 19, 2002

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

If you do all the readings thoroughly you'll find the lectures are really helpful - he talks about the authors, the purpose of the text, and the context. Don't expect it to be entertaining though - especially not if you haven't read up. Also, don't rejoice too much if he has to cancel class, he will have a make-up session for every single one of them. Only take this if you're very into the material... or if you have no choice.

Workload:

2 papers, 2 exams. fairly easy grader and approachable - somehow he learns your name, which is nice.

January 06, 2002

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

First of all, the course is really pre-Socratics through Stoics (with a moment of Epicureanism). He certainly is dull, but my greatest criticism is that he taught the class to the lowest common denominator, often taking 20 minutes to explain concepts that warrant 5 or less. I feel like there's some amazing intelligence under the drawl (he knows Greek, Latin, and Kant, as well as he knows Plato). He doesn't handle questions too well, but there are a lot dumb questions anyway. Aristotle is pretty turgid and tiresome to begin with, but he doesn't really make it any better. And while he's very, very sweet (no pomposity at all), he's so shy he avoids eye-contact, even in office hours.

Workload:

Two papers, midterm, final. All graded with lenience. Easy A.

December 06, 2001

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Having read other CULPA reviews, I decided to take this class anyway and found that Mann wasn't nearly as bad as everyone said he was. True: he does not have a dynamic lecturing style, but the content of his lectures is good, and sometimes he's actually funny. I wouldn't just take this class for shits and giggles, you should have a serious interest in philosophy in order to enjoy it. His lectures do NOT just rehash the readings. He is more interested in talking about how we should organize our thinking about what these philosophers were trying to say. Gave me a good sense of what ancient philosophy is really about.

Workload:

50-100 pages of reading per week. one 5 page paper, one 8 page paper, with esssay questions that really force you to think on your own, two tests, no final.

April 09, 2001

Mann, Wolfgang
[PHIL V2101] History of Philosophy I: Pre-Socratics to Augustine

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

Do NOT even think of taking this class unless you're a torture-loving masochist. Prof. Mann manages to take thoroughly interesting material (like Plato and Aristotle) and turn it into pure mind-numbing nonsense. His lectures only address a few unimportant aspects of the books you read, and the bordom they induce qualifies them as the worst lectures I've ever heard. Prof. Mann sucks all the life from philosophy, and I'm not sure why. I honestly feel bad for him because he's so bad at his job. He can't even hold a conversation in office hours. (Forget about any questions or discussions in class; they just don't happen.) This guy needs some serious advice on how to be a philosophy professor.

Workload:

Heavy. Lots of reading for every class. One 5 page paper, one 8 page paper, two exams. He's a tough grader. Lots of busy-work, not much learning.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn Wolfgang Mann 2012 Fall MW / 8:40- 9:55 AM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn Wolfgang Mann 2010 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn Katja Vogt 2009 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn Katja Vogt 2008 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn Wolfgang Mann 2006 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn: History-Phil: Pre-Sicratcs-Augustn Katja Vogt 2003 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn: History-Phil: Pre-Sicratcs-Augustn Wolfgang Mann 2002 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PHLB / PHIL PHLB PHIL V2101: History-Phil: Pre-Socratcs-Augustn: History-Phil: Pre-Sicratcs-Augustn Constance Meinwald 2001 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1