UGC 211 SMT - American Pluralism                                               Registration Number: 299781
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3.30-4.50pm, 104 Knox Lecture Hall, University at Buffalo

Instructor:   Barry Smith
   Department of Philosophy
   Tel. 645-2444 Ext. 7ll
Office hours:   Tu 2:30-3:30 and by appointment, 611 Baldy Hall

Grading Assistant:  Quinn Truckenbrod, tel. o: 645 2444, Ext. 790, h: 837 9497,
Office hours: Th 5-6pm

The course will explore issues of race, class, gender and religion by means of debates on topics related to the politics and person of President Clinton. The method of inquiry will be that of rational analysis. We will analyze a range of philosophical, anthropological, political, legal, pyschological, economic and social issues, attempting to discover the strongest arguments on both sides of these issues, in order to determine what is being confused, and what is based on sound reasoning.

Readings are supplied on the internet at the Clinton Philosophy Deposit (/smith/clinton).

Jan. 19     Introduction to the Class (Eric Little, Quinn Truckenbrod): Should the President
                Be Held to a Higher Standard than Ordinary Citizens? Rules for Debates
Jan. 21     Barry Smith and Elisabeth Millan: On Good and Bad Arguments Traps and Fallacies
Jan. 26     BS & Elisabeth Millan: Can an Awful Person Be a Good President?
Jan. 28     BS & Jonathan Weidenbaum: A President Should Be a Role Model for the Nation
Feb. 2      BS & Gloria Zúniga: Adultery is Everyone’s Right in a Free Society
Feb. 4      BS & David Garren: Feminist Support for Clinton is Morally Reprehensible
Feb. 9      BS & Dan Barwick: There is No Such Thing as Truth
Feb. 11    BS & Lamont Johnson: Absolute Values: For and Against
Feb. 16    BS & Leonard Jacuzzo: The Law of Non-Contradiction
Feb. 18    BS & Leonardo Zaibert: On Good and Bad Taste
Feb. 23    BS & Irving Massey: Optimism vs. Pessimism: Things are Getting Worse
Feb. 25    BS & Eric Little: Sex and Power
Mar. 2      BS, Neil Mussett, & Berit Brogaard: The Anthropology of Male Power
Mar. 4      BS & David Garren: Values in Black and White
Mar. 16    BS & Mariam Thalos: On Weakness of Will
Mar. 18    BS, Scott Harrigan & Eric Little: On Government and Protection Rackets
Mar. 23     BS & Jonathan Sanford:  Science and Religion: A Necessary Balance (Decay, and Hope)
Mar. 25     BS & Larry Torcello: Cloning
Mar. 30     BS & Omar Lughod: Kosovo: Do Democracies have the Right to Intervene in
                  Other Nations in Defence of Human Rights?
Apr. 1        BS & Quinn Truckenbrod: The Value of Education
Apr. 6        Lejeanne Bailey, Tia Hale, Chiquita Howard, Inshan Khairullah, Andres Garcia:
                  Men of Power Treat Women Badly and Influence Young Males to Act Accordingly
                  Olurutimi Akanbi, Benjamin Poernomo, Amy Sorrentino: Film-makers and Artists Have an
                  Obligation to Promote Moral Worth
Apr. 8        Ryan Gall, Sonya Fisher, Ronald Holmes, John Jehrico: Clinton’s Legacy
                  Melverton Macfarlane, Monica Stewart: Clinton and Race
Apr. 13      Colin Healy, Justin Bergin, Jim Smith, Mike Godzala: The Right to Privacy
                  Chris Lazarus, Ann Marie Hess, Salvador Hernandez, Ekeni Kulu: Legalizing Drugs
Apr. 15      Miles Cone, Mike Grubka, Chris Defelice, Peter Ryan: Clinton and Truth
                  Chad Sleiman, Shakil Ahmad, Joe Hanna, Jennifer Hanna, Yoon Kim: Clinton and Feminism
Apr. 20      Andy Poncé, Anita Singla, David Darbouze, Stephen Macoff: Affirmative Action
                  Steven Cosme, Jerry Comas, Leslie Thompson, Marino Then: Clinton and Conspiracy
Apr. 22      Mindy Schneider, Anna Vigdorchik, Harold Hotchkiss, Jacqueline Puleo, Joseph Bazini, Eric
                  Blucher, Sadia Raja: Clinton and the Right to Privacy
Apr. 27      David Tolkacz, Tim O'Connor, Nick Turkovic, Cread Hietakangas: Burning the Flag
                  Jennifer Dispenziere, Tanya Blair, Barry Steinberger, Debra Meyerowitz: Clinton and the Sixties
Apr. 29      Final Session (No Cigars)

Possible topics for student debates:

 1. Clinton and the Oath of Office
 2. Clinton and the Anthropology of Power
 3. Clinton and Wagging the Dog
 4. Clinton and Class
 5. Clinton and Puritanism
 6. Clinton and Honor
 7. Clinton and Race
 8. Clinton and Defining Deviancy Down
 9. Clinton and the First Stone
10. Clinton, Genes and Therapy
11. Clinton and Hedonism
12. Clinton and Sexual Harassment
13. Clinton, Kings and Potentates
14. Clinton and Feminism
15. Clinton and the Family
16. Clinton, Hollywood and Art
17. Clinton, the Internet, and Freedom of Speech
18. Clinton, Polls, and Representative Government
19. Clinton and the Right to Privacy
20. Clinton and the Ethics of Lying
21. Clinton and Lawyers
22. Clinton and Ontology (On the Meaning of 'Is')
23. Clinton and Libertarianism (On the Meaning of ‘Cause’)
24. Clinton and Pornography
25. Clinton and Truth
26. Clinton and the ’60s
27. Clinton and the Military
28. Clinton and the Definition of Sex
29. Clinton and Accountability
30. Clinton and Maturity
31. Clinton and the Rule of Law
32. Clinton and Postmodernism
33. Clinton and O. J. Simpson
34. Clinton and Conspiracy Theories
35. Clinton and Humpty Dumpty
36. Clinton and History
37. Clinton and Shame

Grading:  There will be no exams or quizzes in this class. Students will be required instead to prepare short written assignments, to be handed in personally at each Tuesday class starting on Jan. 26. The assignment will be in each case to summarize in 1-2 pages the debate or debates in the immediately preceding week and to read the assigned readings posted at the Clinton Philosophy Deposit. Each such assignment will receive 10% of your total grade, up to a maximum of 130%. Grades will be determined by clarity, good grammar, good spelling, cogency of argument, and use of readings. Students who participate in one of the special debates organized in the last month of the class will receive extra credit of 20%. Students who participate actively in class will be eligible to receive extra credit of 10%. Students who propose items for the Clinton Philosophy Deposit  will be eligible to receive 5% extra credit per accepted item. Three un-preannounced roll-calls will be taken during the course of the semester: the first roll-call absence will be penalized by 10%, the second by a further 20%, the third absence by a further 30%. A full 40% penalty will be levied if a student is recorded absent on a day when an assignment has been handed in in his or her name.