Based on 21 User s
this was the first actual philosophy class I've ever taken and was pretty uninterested in the subject, but Adam Crager made me like it. he is very passionate about the subject and philosophy in general so he made lecture extremely doable and interesting and gave concrete, relatable examples. the material was made so easy to understand thanks to his outstanding communication of the material and his love of teaching.
our breakdown of the class was:
-2 problem sets (was supposed to be 3 but we ran out of time so the second and third were combined to be 65% of our overall grade).
your grade is basically in your TA's hands, so be aware of that. I had sahiba as my TA and would 100% recommend staying clear of her, as she gives absolutely no helpful information or guidance in writing the problem sets and contradicted the rubrics and wanted us to write what she wanted, not professor crager.
overall, it's a fun and easy class that welcomes and eases you into philosophy here at UCLA.
Professor Adam Crager is very simply put, a genius when it comes to Philosophy. His lectures are the most organized, and clear I've ever heard. Young, however, very wise. This man deserves a tenure-track position. He has the most style I've ever seen in a professor. He occasionally jokes around, and believe me he's funny. Take Adam Crager, you will not be disappointed. The problem-sets can be quite demanding, but we're philosophy majors. What 'd you expect?
1. Crager is a decent lecturer, but his way of speaking can get pretty repetitive. You will notice if you take notes.
2. He is a pretty smart guy, but he's not one of those people who gets to the point very quickly. As a result, his lectures can be confusing. I would still advise going to lectures though.
3. His problems sets are demanding, but only because they cover a wide range of topics.
4. He, however, has a terrible work ethic when it comes to this class. He is consistently late to everything- lectures, office hours- you name it. It makes me wonder if he cares about his students at all. Maybe he has tenure so he doesn't have to anymore. If that's the case, good for him I guess.
Crager teaches Plato's Symposium and Republic, and Aristotle's Categories, De Anima and some Metaphysics in 100A. He assigns three 5-7 page papers on a specific question addressed in them, e.g., What is Love? What is Justice, or What is the Soul? according to Socrates/Plato or Aristotle.
Crager works hard to make the material clear, pulling out the claims in the text and then explaining them through numerous analogies and examples. These are often illustrated with slides. A TA of his, Antti Hiltunen, told his discussion section that the answers in our problem sets should sound like we're explaining the material to a friend who knows nothing about philosophy (good advice in general of course). Crager's lectures are similarly constructed and easy to follow. One key to answering the questions in the problem set is thinking up analogies/examples not offered in lecture/class.
Dopest teacher ever. He is a great teacher. There is a big difference between being extremely smart, and having skill at teaching, which I think most universities struggle with when hiring professors. But he is an amazing lecturer and teacher. He really thinks deeply before he speaks and he rarely misspeaks. I typed his lectures verbatim, I got an A. He is a smart dude. One of my favorite professors at UCLA, probably my favorite. Take him, you will enjoy it. Unless you're taking modal logic, just don't even try to understand that. I had him my first quarter at UCLA and I really enjoyed his class. It wasn't super hard, it was pretty easy, he structured it well, he knew what he was doing, and he was also very down to earth. I don't think we had any in-class exams which is GREAT. Mostly everything was take-home, midterm and finals. That's what you want if you want to get an A. TAKE HIM. I took him twice. Got A's twice. Third time was modal logic and I just had no idea wtf was going on but maybe that's just me. There were a lot of computer science majors in that class. The man is a genius straight up take him.
The subject matter of this class is extremely boring. You remain somewhat interested almost entirely because Crager is a singularly passionate philosopher. The dude lives and breathes ancient philosophy, and it seems like nothing else (including course administration) matters to him. His glasses broke sometime around week 4, and he came to every subsequent lecture with his glasses at a 30 degree angle. He wears the same shoes, same jacket, same shirt every day. He's covered in chalk. He is habitually late 15-30 minutes. He speaks like four dead languages just so that he can read the original transcripts of philosophical texts. To summarize, his personality is entertaining enough that you still come to class; that, and you wouldn't understand the readings otherwise.
The course material centers around 10th-14th century Arabian philosophy. It's all mostly rehash and rebuttals of the Greek stuff from 100A. Depending on how rigorous your 100B class was, you may be familiar with some of the readings. You spend a couple lectures learning about the ridiculous medieval theories of astronomy to which these old guys subscribed; I would have rather watched grass grow. The rest of the class was decently interesting.
Grading consists of two essays. They're graded by a TA, so YMMV. However, they were very grounded in the class texts (little original thought required). So, just come to lecture, record it, and take very thorough notes, and you'll be able to answer everything.
Really straightforward class. The course is graded on three problem sets and participation. The problem sets are composed of 3-4 questions and you are required to write 5-8 pages for each set. The first two problem sets are based on the Republic and the last one is based on selections of De Anima. As long as you do the readings and read the slides Crager posts online they are pretty easy and straightforward to do. There are no quizzes but I recommended attending each lecture because it really does make a difference. Crager is a cool professor but his lectures are slightly boring. Overall really straightforward class as long you keep up on everything - there are no surprises.
Professor Crager is a very bright and insightful person. The class was graded on a curve, but that wasn't announced until later in the course. (I think it was supposed to be used as a motivational thing.) Attendance is optional and he released his slides on the course website. If you want to do well in this course, then just make sure to do a lot of the reading. If this is required for you, definitely take it with Crager.
Prof. Crager's class is very straightforward, and he is an incredibly intelligent guy. It's amazing to just ask him questions sometimes and hear what he says because his understanding of philosophy seems so deep and vivid. I came into this class as a non-philosophy major, so I was pretty nervous since philosophy isn't an easy subject. But his expectations are very clear, and he was very good at explaining difficult concepts, so his class wasn't very hard. I also lucked out w/ an amazing TA- if you're able to get Nefeli know that you are very lucky! Your T.A. is actually entirely responsible for your grade because your entire grade is composed of attendance/participation in section and problem sets (similar to an essay) that the TA grades.
You don't have to show up to class but you should try to make it to the majority of them because Crager goes way more in-depth than what's written in the lecture slides. Overall, if you go to every section and make an effort to communicate w/ your T.A. about the problem sets you should be able to get a good grade in this class.