[OPE-L:4066] Internet Seminar about Marx's Method using Bhaskar

From: Hans Ehrbar (ehrbar@econ.utah.edu)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2000 - 14:29:04 EDT

Course Announcement:

In the Spring Semester 2001 I will be teaching a graduate
course on the internet about Marx's method.  Since I
consider Roy Bhaskar's Dialectical Critical Realism to be the
best modern introduction to the method Marx was using, this
course will have Bhaskar's book "Dialectic, the Pulse of
Freedom" as its main reading.  One might say that this
is a course about Bhaskar's Dialectical Critical Realism
with lots of examples taken from Marx.

The format of the course will be a mailing list which
discusses specific study questions.  This mailing
list will be open between January 8 and April 26, 2001, with
a Spring break March 12-18.  This period of almost 15 weeks
will be split into 29 half-weekly segments, with specific
readings and study questions assigned for each Segment.  The
readings will at the beginning be selected passages from
Bhaskar's "Realist Theory of Science" and "Possibility of
Naturalism", with special emphasis of how this theory is
incomplete because it is not sufficiently "dialectical," and
then we will cover the whole of "Dialectics, the Pulse of
Freedom," with special emphasis to the commonalities with
and differences from Marx's method, and with specific
examples from Marx's "Capital" and other works.

Each participant is expected to make at least one
contribution to this mailing list each week, which either
consists in answering one of the pre-formulated study
questions assigned for each segment, or responding to an
email sent by someone else, or formulating and answering
other questions of interest connected with the readings
assigned for this segment.

This will be a fairly labor intensive course with in-depth
discussion of difficult readings.  Student not enrolled at
the University of Utah who want to get credit for this
course should find a faculty member at their own University
as a sponsor to monitor their participation in the course so
that they can receive credit for directed reading for it.  I
am willing to spend time on all students alike, I have grant
money which pays me for this, and I will try to give a
fair evaluation and fair grades to everyone.  But for the
students of a different University these grades would only
be advisory, and it is up to the student's sponsor to decide
how much credit the student's work deserves.

This course is an experiment.  If this and other similar
specialized internet seminars are successful, then it will
perhaps be possible to develop a better institutional
framework in the future.  Right now the emphasis is not on
the institutional framework itself but on the format: is it
feasible and fruitful to have specialized graduate seminars
which are attended by students from several Universities?

Non-students and faculty are invited to participate as
observers; they will get all emails and will be able to
respond if they wish.  I discussed this course project with
Roy Bhaskar and I have his permission to call him on the
phone if I have specific questions.  But the final
responsibility for the course lies with me.

If you are interested in taking part in this experiment,
please contact me at ehrbar@econ.utah.edu

Hans G. Ehrbar
Associate Professor
Economics Department
University of Utah.

Hans G. Ehrbar   http://www.econ.utah.edu/ehrbar   ehrbar@econ.utah.edu
Economics Department, University of Utah     (801) 581 7797 (my office)
1645 Campus Center Dr., Rm 308               (801) 581 7481 (econ office)
Salt Lake City    UT 84112-9300   USA        (801) 585 5649 (FAX)

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