CA699 The Epistemology of Comm

for S2P 2007

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Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


CA 699 The Epistemology of Communication


S2P 2007 MC


Noe, J. Mark


Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Professor of Communiction Arts

Office Location

Copley Hall 203

Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone

816.584.6320  or Administrative Assisant, Janice Sieminski

Other Phone



Semester Dates

March 19 - May 11, 2007

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours



Wittgenstein's Poker - The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

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Course Description:
This course examines the philosophical origins of communication theories and the nature of knowledge in the field. Literature will be drawn from various disciplines illustrating the eclectic roots of communication as an area of inquiry. The course focuses on a framework to analyze the various approaches. 3 cr.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. To provide a historical overview of the function and scope of communication.
  2. To examine the philosophical origins of communication theories and the nature of knowlege in the field.
  3. To establish the relationship between communication and epistemology.
  4. To compare Western ways of knowing to other philosophical traditions.
  5. To develop a blueprint for personal beliefs and perceptions.
Class Assessment:
The final paper will be the Core Assessment Rubric for this course
Course Requirements
Assignments Value (points)
Cultural Perspective Paper    20
Discussion Leader 30
Midterm  Paper      50
General Education Proposal    80
Popper/Wittgenstein Position Paper 30
Final Paper 100
                                   Total 310


Grading: Final grades will be determined according to the following scale:
278-248 B
247-217 C
216-186 D
Below 186 F

Grading Criteria

Papers (Due as indicated in course work outline) - All of the assigned papers in the course will be graded using a rubric developed by Dr. Steve Atkinson for evaluating the Writing Competency Test (WCT). Some minor modifications have been made to adapt the rubric to the specific assignments for CA699

Each assignment will be evaluated using the following four criteria:


An "A" is awarded to a paper whose controlling idea seems not only clear but particularly thoughtful or imaginative.

A "B" indicates a focus that is clear and sustained throughout but that may not be especially original.

A "C" indicates satisfactory competence: the focus is clear but commonplace or conventional.

"D" and "F" papers lack focus.


An "A" is awarded to a paper that, whatever its length, seems to the reader to be a full discussion. It makes use of both the material from the supplied readings and also ideas, experiences, or information supplied by the writer. All the material is smoothly integrated and persuasively supports the paper's focus. The writer seems to be a thoughtful, critical reader of the material with a genuine personal "voice."

A "B" indicates that the writer has incorporated the material both appropriately in terms of content and smoothly in terms of style, and has also contributed personal ideas and experiences to the discussion. The paper's focus is clearly supported.

A "C" in this category indicates an essay that makes at least some use of the supplied readings and some other material to support its focus, though the use may not always be relevant, and the sources not discussed critically.

"D" and "F" papers make no use of the sources, fail to provide coherent support for the paper's focus, or whose use consists of unmarked quotations (copying from the sources word-for-word.)


An "A" paper is not only easy to follow, its structure seems effortless because of smooth transitions and a convincing rhetorical pattern.

A "B" is awarded to the paper that has a clear paragraphing and a logical sequence of topics.

A "C" paper is generally easy to follow, with reasonable paragraphing, though the discussion may wander briefly.

"D" and "F" papers are difficult to follow, either because the sequence of topics is not logical, because it is repetitive, or because the paragraphing is not helpful.


An "A" paper reads exceptionally smoothly, and the reader notices no errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, or spelling.

The "B" paper may contain an occasional problem in sentence structure or diction, but the reader is never seriously distracted.

In a "C" paper, there may be enough mechanical problems to distract the reader temporarily, but it is always possible to understand what the writer means.

"D" and "F" papers have severe problems with sentence structure or word choice -- severe enough so that the meaning is difficult or impossible to understand.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Tentative Syllabus:
Week 1 March 19 Get Acquainted Course Specs
The place of epistmology in philosophy
An overview of communication and epistmology from a cultural perspective
Plato: The Allegory of the Cave
Cultural perspective paper assigned
Week 2 March 26 Presentation of Cultural Perspectives
Polkinghorne: The Nature of Knowledge
General Education Proposals assigned
Whitehead: Universities and their function
Wittgenstein's Poker, Chapters 1-7
Week 3 April 2 Wittgenstein's Poker , Chapters 8-15
Popper: On the Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance
Continue work on General Education Proposals
Week 4 April 9 Wittgenstein's Poker, Chapter 16-23
Midterm paper (In class assignment)
Continue work on General Education Proposals
Week 5 April 16 Popper/Wittgenstein Position papers (presentations)
Finalize work on General Education Proposals
Week 6 April 23 Presentations of General Education Proposals
Week 7 April 30 Presentations of Final Papers
Week 8 May 7 Presentations of Final Papers

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct. Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences in excess of four (4) class periods, in a 16-week semester (or 2, in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Dean, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified by mail that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 27

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:3/19/2007 12:23:58 PM