Brown, Dwight  

Philosophy

2.92/4.00

64 evaluations


PHIL 101


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2010
He makes class interesting. If there is a concept you are unable to understand just email him or come by his office hours he is more than happy to help you. He even sets up extra office hours at times around exams and papers to help out his students. I would highly recommend taking him as a teacher!


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Mar 2012
Brown is completely incompetent. He is horrible at relaying information and is one of the worst teachers I have had a cal poly. Avoid him at all costs. He thinks he knows everything and if you disagree with him he will grade you down. He does not seem very intelligent and I don't know how he has a job.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Sep 2014
Dr. Brown is absolutely hilarious and one of my favorite professors at Poly. He is extremely dedicated to teaching you the material and if you are not understanding it, talk to him and he will work you through it. PHIL 101 was pretty much the same as 230/231 (slightly harder IMO), and many of the students had never taken a PHIL course before, despite being majors and he worked them through everything. I have had numerous discussions with him on a wide variety of subjects and look forward to taking more of his classes in the future. I do love philosophy but sometimes it is boring as shit but not when you have a professor as emphatic as Dr. Brown. I would highly recommend taking his class if you are interested in 231, or Helms i you are interested in 230.

PHIL 212


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Feb 2009
OMG! The other reviews are right, he is BALD! Better not take a class from him, everyone knows that being bald means . . . GROW UP! Previous reviews of him make our students look superficial and unintelligent, oh, wait a minute . . . many are!

PHIL 230


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Apr 2010
I\'ve taken Ken for several classes. If you\'re a philosophy major you\'ll probably love him. If you\'re not a philosophy major you probably gave him a low score on this website. Things you should know: he\'s bald and he makes you do pointless \"busy work\" study questions that can take up a large portion of your time. I think they are for non-philosophy majors. The study questions suck. But they are basically free points given to you if you\'re not lazy enough to do them. They don\'t help at all for midterms though and I think that\'s why he assigns them. What does help for midterms: He gives you the midterm before the midterm.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
May 2013
This professor definitely gives you significant leverage as far as what you put into the class and what you get out of it. Done right this class can open new ways of thinking about interactions and the way that people behave. On the flip side, trying to memorize the exact wording of the reading will make life hell. On that subject there is significant reading for all of the philosophers: Epictetus, Epicurus, Socrates, & Mill. For this I highly recomend that you download a pdf of the book (all are available online) and search for the terms in the questions. Drastically reduces reading time. In class discussion will get off topic often as he tries in vain to explain a point and ends up saying the same thing 5 times. TLDR: Good teacher, interesting material. Recommended.

HNRS 231


Freshman
N/A
General Ed
Apr 2009
It's interesting how the instructions for PolyRatings clearly state do not "rip on a professor because they failed you," yet so many of you seem to be doing just that. Anyway, I understand that a lot of you may have really not liked his teaching style, so I can understand where some of that anger is coming from. HOWEVER, I think people mistake his passion for arrogance. He really seems to love philosophy. And YES he is rude at times, and has crude humor, which is SO MUCH BETTER than most of the boring teachers I have come across. Seriously guys, about this burning a baby with a blowtorch, or torturing it with pliers or whatever, do you really think he condones that? When he brings up analogies like that, he is looking for you to think "Holy shit did he really just say that under that philosophy burning a baby is ok?" It is to make you THINK about the philosophy at hand. It is to point out the flaws, the interesting concepts, and the subtleties of the philosophies we study. Anyway, I liked him. He's helpful in office hours, seriously. I'm an engineer, so it is very nice to get away from the monotonous drone of my science classes. It's refreshing. That's all haha, take him if you are looking for a teacher to really provoke thought. And NO this was not written by Dwight...haha.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2013
Great professor! I didn't really know if I would like philosophy (I'm an engineer) but Brown made it really interesting and understandable. Every time he talks about a different philosopher you feel like he really understands them and I couldn't notice any "philosophical bias" if that's a thing. The way the class is formatted is basically reading a book from a certain book from a philosopher for a certain amount of time and focusing only on that philosopher. The early books are short so you go through a lot of different ideas but the last book Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche is long and VERY difficult to read. I hated it at first but somehow Brown even got me to appreciate Nietzsche

PHIL 231


Junior
B
General Ed
Sep 2007
Dr. Brown was at times crazy with his baby killing talks in order to get our attention. I took him during the summer and it was his first time at Cal Poly. He expects a lot out of you and when you make suggestions in class he will shut you down and make you feel stupid. This class was extremely demanding ecpecially for a 2 hondred level class. It is achieveable but not by any means enjoyable.


Sophomore
D
General Ed
Dec 2007
I cannot believe this guy is the head the the philosophy department. He does not explain concepts well and his comments about people dying in tragic accidents or having disabilities are offensive and inappropriate. He was an asshole to anyone with a question or comment. Ironically participation is 5% of the grade which he gives to nearly no one, especially since he talks down to everyone so no one is very inclined to participate. The tests are unbelievably long and focus completely on essays.


Junior
B
General Ed
Jan 2008
Ok so the class is interesting from what I have heard about other philosophy classes, but it's just too hard for a general education class. He grades incredibly hard, has long homework assignments due every week, and at least 6 books for the quarter to read. I suggest unless you are a zealot of philosophy, and ready to be told you can't write worth a damn, then find another section.


Junior
A
General Ed
Mar 2008
He is a bit crazy so he may scare you at first, but he's a very animated teacher and if you can just get into the subject and think about it a little bit, it's a really cool class and he's a good teacher. I heard some people had problems with getting him to explain things, but I thought he always was really good at that just send an email really simple.


Junior
A
General Ed
Mar 2008
First, the ratings below are a perfect example of an instance where polyratings is used by bitter students to rant about their poor performance in a class. I would warn anyone to take these ratings with their misspelled words and poor grammar with a grain of salt. In terms of DR. BROWN, and the Phil 231 class: Philosophy is not easy. But, if you have a good attitude and a willingness to learn and do the reading, I would highly recommend Dr. Brown for philosophy. Contrary to what my peers have stated below, Dr. Brown is not overtly condescending, rude, nor inappropriate in class. In fact, it is his humor and interesting persona which will help you get through the class. No GE is a walk in the park--frankly if a teacher is that easy, he or she is not doing a good job in making you learn. So if you want to expand your academic horizons, take Brown. You will not regret it.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2008
Well, it looks like Dr. Brown rated himself for the other two ratings. How insecure. I got an A in this class yet I found him to be horrible. He actually called people individually by name when they made mistakes on their papers, even those who received As and Bs. Maybe we could all do pushups next time instead for some people's mistakes. He's so immature.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2008
Whatever you do, avoid Brown! This GE requires the same amount of work as an upper level major course! Each week we had a set of questions(usually between 15 and 30) due, which took absolutely forever. There was one midterm and a final, each of which consisted of a 4-page essay and five short answer questions. They were so tough to prepare for because he would give 6 or 7 possible essays and choose 3, which meant you had to write 4 or 5 essays to prepare. Also, there was a five page paper, which he promised to grade by the last class, but didn't get around to, so we went into the final knowing only 40% of our grade. I'm surprised that this guy is actually the head of a department. Anyway, I got an A- in the class, so I'm not bitter, I just absolutely hated this class!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Apr 2008
I didn't think this class was that bad. His humor may be offensive to those easily offended but it really didn't bother me. The homework is purely graded by glancing at it to make sure you wrote something down, it could be completely irrelevant for all he knows, so don't stress too much. The study guides are helpful and if you learn the terms, the essay answers will become fairly obvious. You need to go to class pretty much every class and the tests are impossible to BS but if you kind of do the homework and study guides and pay attention in lecture you will pass.


Junior
B
General Ed
Apr 2008
This teacher is one of the most horrible teachers I've ever had at Cal Poly. He is VERY condesending and rude. I thought I'd actually like philosophy too - but not anymore. He is also very unhelpful during office hours, and says he likes for you to go ask questions, but gets upset when you do. Avoid this guy at all costs, I wished so badly I took another professor to fulfill my GE.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Apr 2008
"I would warn anyone to take these ratings with their misspelled words and poor grammar with a grain of salt....Contrary to what my peers have stated below, Dr. Brown is not overtly condescending, rude, nor inappropriate in class.." I just like how how he bitches about poor grammar, and yet he doesn't even use the right conjunction. He should have said, " Dr. Brown is NEITHER overtly condescending, rude, nor inappropriate in class.." What an idiot.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
May 2008
I have no idea how I ended up with a B+ in this class, considering that the material is rather difficult and far from enjoyable, but hey, I'm not complaining--about that. Lectures, on the other hand..a garbled mess of Brown's personal interpretation of the texts coupled with palpable derision aimed at his students. Fun. Philosophy isn't my cup of tea (although I'm happy to undertake any course that intends to expand my knowledge), and Brown seems to have cemented my dislike of it by presenting such a confusing and occasionally insulting course.


Senior
N/A
General Ed
Jun 2008
Mr. Brown is very helpful and wants his students to do good. He gives you 50% on each midterm just for writing your name on the blue book. Philosophy is a difficult course do begin with, but in my opinion he makes it easier for his students. I admit this course requires a lot of reading.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Jul 2008
Stay as far away from Dwight Brown's class as you possibly can. His lectures are a jumbled mess and do not relate to the essay questions he tests you on. You are required to do a full packet of study questions each week, and while they are just credit towards 15 percent of your grade, they take FOREVER to fill out. Instead of giving a break in the middle of class, or letting the class out 10 minutes early, he started the class 10 minutes late--for totally selfish reasons, he would sit and scarf down his lunch and play music DVD's of the LAMEST music groups ever. He expected everyone to know/like his taste in music. He makes inappropriate sexual/lewd remarks to his class that he thinks are just hilarious. When giving examples, the first thing that often pops into his mind is: "imagine your are torturing a baby with pliers" or "you have a blow torch and want to burn your grandmother". You will learn NOTHING in this class, and hate anything thing that has to do with Philosophy. I cringe whenever I am anywhere near his office or the classroom. Avoid this crazy man at all costs.


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Oct 2008
Dwight Kenneth Brown is awful. His lectures are offensive. His office hours are terrible. He is awful grader. He doesn't have notes for his lectures. He makes it hard to get anything above a C. For comments on midterms he simply writes, "No". He is lewd and offensive. He teaches a class on ethics, but he stole his lunch pail from a child. He is bald and when he talks a huge vein pulsates in his head. Don't take this class. It will make you have a miserable quarter.


Junior
B
General Ed
Feb 2009
Dr Brown was an excellent teacher. I dont think that i have ever met anyone who can come up with on-the-fly analogies like he can. If anyone doesnt understand, he will just make some awesome metaphor/simile/analogy so that they get it. The class material was rather boring, but that is just the curriculum, not his fault. He is super-available and wants everyone to get succeed in his class. It is difficult to get a good grade in his class, but easy to pass. His midterms and final are all essays, and (I am not good at writing) are really difficult. Also his office hours are the most helpful things in the world, and tries to schedule his hours and review sessions around the students' schedules. Overall, it was a boring class, but Brown was a great teacher and made it as enjoyable as possible.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2009
Professor Brown thinks he is AMAZING. He is sooo smart and philosophical that everyone should be able to understand the text the way he does, and if they don't they should definitely get his unnecessary inappropriate examples... "well if you were to torture a baby with pliers..." But that is only if you are lucky enough to actually experience his teaching... most of the time all you get is Professor Brown sitting at the front of the class reading the texts in a philosophical tone, then maybe making a remark as fast as he possibly can so you have no chance to take notes on it. He should definitely not teach the large lecture again, unless the Philosophy department's goal is to waste as many students' time as possible.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Apr 2009
Dear Dwight, Please stop Polyrating yourself. You are pathetic. Love, Your ex students


Freshman
A
General Ed
May 2009
When I first signed up for the class, I was very intimidated by his terrible polyratings, but after taking the class I don't understand why he was rated so low. Yes, the lectures could get a little boring after 2 hours, but I wouldn't blame that on him. I wouldn't call it an easy course, it definitely required effort, but if you legitimately do the weekly study questions and participate in class it will not only boost your grade you'll also do much better on the tests. His tests are all multiple choice and reasonable, and he really wants his students to understand the topics, he's clearly very passionate about philosophy and always willing to help. If you don't want to actually do the reading or answer study questions, you won't do well, but if you put in at least some work you should be fine. He's also pretty entertaining, even if you don't like philosophy you should get some laughs out of him. I definitely recommend taking Brown for this class.


Junior
B
General Ed
Dec 2009
had him for the summer, presented material extremely well even though we only had 5 weeks. a very tough class, but if you go and actually listen youll do fine. the guy really wants you to think, can be a little off-the-wall, but again youll do fine if you pay attention.


Senior
B
General Ed
Feb 2010
He looks like a bald jack black, but he is a good professor. He is definitely animated and interesting to listen to in lectures and actually made sense of the Neitzsche book that we had to read, which was like reading a foreign language.


Junior
A
General Ed
Feb 2010
Man, I love this person. During the 10 minute period before lecture he would play music videos, which obviously is a good way to roll into a two hour-long lecture--especially when he plays the likes of Eric Clapton. I was so excited to go to his lecture because he presents the material with genuine interest. It is refreshing to be in a class where the prof actually enjoys what he is teaching. He understands philosophy, and uses very astute methods to help the avid student analyze the topics. Personally, he is one of the most influential instructors on campus, and I hope that his classes will start coinciding with my schedules, so I can continue taking his courses. Oh, and he looks like Jack Black, so that was also entertaining.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2010
I really enjoyed this class. And frankly, I don\'t think this guy thinks twice about whether or not you liked his examples, were offended by them, this and taht. you could despise Professor Brown from his pompous strut after he makes a point to the class to his big bald shiny head, but you also leave the lecture hall with a clearer understanding of the material. His examples illustrate the philosophies as they were intended to which is why he is a son of a bitch, but he\'s also right on in his examples.


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Dec 2010
Honestly didn\'t learn anything. He says some funny things occasionally but other than that his lectures are scattered and disorganized and repetitive. his midterms/finals are extremely tricky and ambiguous. his exams could be open book and you still wouldnt be able to get a good grade. thats probably why he has to curve the tests so much. don\'t take him.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2011
Brown is an amazing professor. As an engineering student, this was my first taste of philosophy, and I was surprised at how enjoyable this class was. Lectures were engaging, reading was boring but manageable, and there was only 1 test plus the final (which was noncummulative). If you want a good grade, make sure to do the study questions! Overall, a top notch professor.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2011
Philosophy is an extremely difficult course, but Brown makes it bearable. He is extremely hyped on the material and helps keeps you engaged. There is one midterm and one final consisting of 3 different essays for each. You read 5 books and answer study questions which are graded on completion not accuracy. Id recommend taking this course credit/no credit b/c it is a nightmare trying to come out of it with anything above a B.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2012
My brain and philosophy do not mix, however by the end of the course I was almost enjoying it. Brown is very accessible, which is one of his greatest strengths. He encourages students to contact him frequently by email, in office hours, or participation in class to clarify things, and he is very responsive and comprehensive in his answers. He will attempt to relay the information multiple ways, through different strategies, until you understand. His class is out of very few points, so you have to be diligent right out of the gate if you want an A, but his grading is fair and clear from the start. The only downside is that he can come off as harsh and intimidating, which discourages class participation for the more timid. However, if you prefer email he will accept that as participation as well. He also can say things that can offend in an effort to communicate the teachings, so if that's not your style than steer clear. But overall, he's a good professor who will put as much time in to helping you as you commit.


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Jun 2012
I took Brown's phil 231 credit/no credit. I enjoyed all the philosophers we studied this quarter and the manner in which he presented them. To be honest, If I weren't preparing for med school I would've taken the class for a grade because I thought it was very interesting. I just didn't have enough time to put into a class that isn't geared toward grad school. His grading system is very fair. My recommendation to you is to do a thorough job on the study questions and GO TO OFFICE HOURS. He gives participation points and these can definitely help your grade out. Also, when you go to office hours, you can ask questions that are specific to your own essays. The lectures are very fast paced and I found that it was helpful to slow down his explanations one on one. Great professor! A+


5th Year Senior
B
General Ed
Aug 2012
If you end up in his class Midterms > 1st midterm: Is a comparative one, understand relative positions of philosophers studied > 2nd midterm: Is primarily based on definition !!! (Personally dropped the ball here What is what? and to who ? and on what basis ? > 3rd midterm (FINAL) : Both analytical (Whats Nietzsche position?) and comparative (how does his position compare to Mill's) Study questions: (making sure you open up a book) > GET THEM ALL DONE >DO NOT STAY UP ALL NIGHT TRYING TO THINK ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS. >FIND THE PAGE THE QUESTION REFERS TO >CITE THAT PAGE NUMBER > WRITE 1-2 SENTENCES ABOUT SOMETHING >REPEAT UNTIL 100% OF QUESTIONS ARE DONE > Full points (3 on the inaccurate 100 point total system) Participation : NOT A CLASS YOU HAVE TO MAKE "Cheap Shots" to get participation points > Make an honest effort to be engaged to the discussion and you'll get full points > I received full points and made no "Cheap Shots" at participation Otherwise: Very chill guy, learned a bunch ( saw the "wolf" that I was staring at the sheep costume of a "mask" that had been growing around me) His lectures are a bit intense, and the VOLuMe of his lecturing voice vacillated at a frequency that was displeasing to my ears. And the 100 point total grade system that he uses is weak sauce, but he is a philosophy professor not a statistics professor. So fractions may not so friendly towards him.


Junior
A
General Ed
Aug 2012
Dr. Brown is my favorite professor at Cal Poly. He is extremely knowledgeable and a great lecturer. I learned so much from taking his class. I literally feel more intelligent after having him as a teacher. The format of his class is pretty much perfect: his tests are challenging but fair, he bases your exam score on a bell curve, and he makes it hard to not pass as long as you carefully read everything he assigns and show up to class everyday. Go to his office hours! He essentially offers up free points for talking to him about material you probably can't understand on your own anyway. If for no other reason, go in to just have a conversation with the man. Can't say enough good things about him and his class.


Senior
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2013
The other review that talked about how this teacher has passion for what he does hits on every point I was going to touch on. Now, let me start with saying that I am a senior right now and I took this teacher as a sophomore. At first when taking the class I thought DANG this class is hard. But, it wasn't the class that was hard, it was subject. Philosophy is an area that takes a different kind of intellectual processing that I was not used to. It is very hard to apply the Learn by Doing philosophy to this subject. However, Dr. Brown goes out of his way to apply this motto... To such a point that I remember him two full years later. I recently ran into him downtown, remembered him as the teacher who taught me about stomping on babies. At first you'd think: EWWW who would stomp on babies, but it is not the physical or moral act of stomping that he was referring to, but the philosophy that he was talking about. He would talk about how stomping on one baby was the more preferable choice over stomping on two babies. Some people may find this offensive, but I found it eye-opening and easy to understand. It was his way of explaining torture in terms of groups: torturing one a LOT, or torturing ALL just a little bit. Dr. Brown is one of the few professors I will never forget from Cal Poly. He made a very difficult subject very relatable, funny, and interesting. Yes, his class is difficult. You will read quite a bit, but you are going to read a similar amount in any other PHIL class. It is also very hard to fail this class! The way the tests and class are structured, you'll get at least a C as long as you just read the books, a B if you understood the books, and an A if you fully comprehend the subjects/morals/topics that the books related to. This is NOT a subject you want to use Sparknotes for, regardless of who you have as your teacher, period. If you get a chance to take Brown, DEFINITELY take him. His passion for philosophy will rub off on you and make you more motivated to do well in the class :)


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Aug 2013
Great professor who is in love with what he teaches. Class is engaging as he makes it a discussion and answers many questions rather than lecturing at you the whole time. My best advice: don't get caught up trying to agree with the different philosophies and understand them that way. Instead, simply understand what each philosopher is saying. You don't have to agree with their point, you only have to know it.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Sep 2013
I loved Professor Brown! I found the course very interesting, and Brown is always willing to answer questions and discuss concepts. If you get involved you will love this class. His office hours are very helpful. Definitely take this class!


Junior
A
General Ed
Nov 2013
Every time I see this guy walking around campus in his fedora, I remember how awesome he is. Honestly, the class is difficult but he made it comprehensible in any way possible. Granted he's intimidating but that's about the only negative thing I would have to say about him, and once you get over that and start asking questions, philosophy suddenly becomes a concept that is possible to grasp. I wish I could have another opportunity to take Brown.


Senior
B
General Ed
Sep 2014
Brown is an amazing professor. I took him over the summer, which I do not recommend you do unless you are planning to spend a lot of time on the material. Midterms were basically every week and a half and the material/reading was very difficult. I did very poorly on the first exam because this class was so different than the other classes I am used to taking. I studied a lot for it, but just not in the right way. I think I needed more time to fully understand everything, but that's what I expected with the summer session. I ended up going to office hours after almost every class to get things clarified; he is intimidating but will help you until you understand it. He usually stayed longer than his scheduled office hours if you still had more questions. This 5 week session was a couple classes shorter so everything was rushed even more. You can tell he is very knowledgable with the material and if I had the full quarter with him, I am sure I would have done better. Study questions help you keep along with the reading and help you understand what is actually being said, especially because the books are difficult to read. Be prepared to reread pages over and over. Do all the study questions; they are easy points. He has kind of a weird grading system so every point counts. Overall, great professor.


Senior
A
General Ed
Sep 2014
Brown goes above and beyond in helping students understand the philosophies he presents in this course. We covered Epictetus, Epicurus, Mill, and Nietzsche, and the Nietzsche was especially difficult. Brown presented each philosophy on its best face and was extremely careful not to misrepresent the positions of any philosopher. His homework and tests were rigorous, and some of the test questions were extremely subtle, but overall if you are looking to obtain an actual understanding of the class, he is well worth it. Brown was especially helpful in office hours. He really wants you to understand the material. He will often encourage you to read supplementary materials but he will never refuse to answer your question and tell you to go back to the reading. One of the best professors I've had at poly.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2014
Brown is a solid professor. The material is naturally very hard to grasp so the class will therefore be difficult. You can't get around that fact. But as a professor, he is cool, smart, interesting, and worth-taking. Learned quite a bit. Only thing, his homework is WAY too long.


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Dec 2014
I was really dreading having to take philosophy but Brown made it waay more interesting. It can be a little hard to follow him sometimes but overall he is really good at breaking down these really complex ideas and it is totally possible to get a good grade in this class. His grading is a little different to where he makes it that you can't lose points in the class, you can only gain (a little weird but you'll get what i'm talking about if you take his class), so if you hit 70 points before the final you don't have to take the final if you're taking the class CR/NCR. Also DO THE STUDY QUESTIONS. it's a super easy way to get points as long as you cite them properly.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Jan 2015
Professor Brown is the absolute man. I had him at 8AM twice a week and actually looked forward to going each time. He probably the most well-spoken person I've ever met and super fair. He's super helpful outside of class if you reach out. You can email him any question and he'll shoot you back an in-depth response covering absolutely everything. I'm a business major and this was probably my favorite class I've taken so far. You're missing out if you don't take one of his classes.


Junior
B
General Ed
Jun 2016
I'd rather sit in an empty room and watch paint dry then attend one of Brown's lectures. Not just because the lectures/material are extremely boring but because he is the most annoying professor I have ever had by far. If you ask a question, he will cut you off half the time before you finish answering which causes some people to not get their actual questions answered. If you're into this type of philosophy, then I understand why you would like him because he only chooses material that falls in line with his own philosophical standpoints. He calls the questions on his tests, "problems", but really they are just basic questions from the readings so you don't really need to go to lecture to get a decent grade, despite what he tells you about it being imperative to come to class. If you have to, you can suck it up and get a B in his class just by doing the readings and the study questions, but I would definitely avoid him if possible. I definitely wouldn't take him if you are taking a lot of difficult technical units because you will WASTE a lot of time doing useless work just to get a grade in his class when you could actually be learning useful material.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Jun 2016
Lectures were somewhat boring but the professor tried to make them interesting. It provided a very good look into introductory philosophy. People complained that Brown was biased which was odd because he served only to explain the philosophy of the writers we were reading (ie he argued in favor of utilitarianism when discussing Mill, and against it when discussing Nietzsche). His office hours were great, I got to have lots of very interesting discussions. I recommend you take his class if you do decide to take 231.

HNRS 237


Junior
B
General Ed
Nov 2016
Trump 2016 -> Kanye 2020 -> Vermen Supreme 2024 -> ??? -> Profit

PHIL 310


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Jan 2016
I'm surprised by Professor Brown's polyratings. I'm convinced that most of these are fake reviews that are written by other students in an attempt to keep his classes from filling up quickly. Brown is one of the best professor's I've had at Cal Poly. Brown lectures almost entirely from the books. Since he projects highlighted and annotated pages of the book it is extremely easy to follow. If you don't understand something in class, go to his office hours, where he will spend as much time as it takes for you to understand key concepts. For each exam you're given a list of possible essay questions that might appear on the exam. As long as you go into office hours and review with him, the exams are very manageable. If you don't like going to class, don't take Brown; but, if you're stoked on philosophy, go to class, and go to office hours, you will very much enjoy this class.

PHIL 311


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2010
Professor Brown is a very enjoyable professor to take. I have taken several classes from him in which we studied very difficult texts, and it always seems that he is able to make sense of everything. He knows how to emphasize the main point in texts in a simple way. At the same time, he still maintains a level of difficulty that keeps the class interesting. If you want to learn a thing or two, I would highly recommend taking Brown.


Freshman
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2013
Professor Brown solidified my love of philosophy. Taking this class as a freshman was very intimidating and I wasn't sure what to expect but as long as you are on top of the reading, keep up with the study packets, and come to class you'll do fairly well. Brown is a fucking great teacher. He's interesting to listen to, makes tons of jokes about the philosophers AND he's very straight forward about what needs to be done to get the grade you're trying to achieve. In all honesty, if you don't enjoy Brown's classes it's probably because you don't like the subject or you're afraid of hard work and actually fucking learning - the man is hilarious (and has a great taste in music). Hands down best class I've taken so far.

PHIL 313


Junior
D
Elective
Mar 2008
The form that he most closely resembles is the tool. Avoid this evil demon at all costs. He will wreak havoc on you and enjoy it immensely. I've had many horrible professors but he takes the cake. He doesn't even know how to prepare a lecture to present. He just gets out the boring old book and reads from it. He's unoriginal, violent, hateful, rude.... You can see the blue vein pulsating on his bald head and his crazy eyes tearing through you when you try to follow him. I guess that they're so despearate for philosophy professors that they're combing the mental institutions to recruit them. They need to send this joker back to the psych ward! He's way to critical on papers, and he doesn't even provide coherent information in lectures. He talks so fast that you can't take notes. And if you can manage to take notes, he will confuse you with contradictions. He's not helpful at office hours. I suggest you try taking someone else - I knew many other people who feel the way I do. It seems like he's trying to get the undergraduates to provide him with their descriptive papers so he can use them in the future as lecture presentations.


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2010
Ken is awesome. This is a professor who can make the thoughts of antiquity (to use a common Ken word) come to life. Very cliche sounding, but very true. He loves to teach. He LOVES to teach. He loves to learn and he loves to hear how you\'re doing with the material. Go to office hours! It will be some of the best times in college. I\'ve lost track of how many classes I have had with Ken now, but whether I\'m in a class or not with him, I\'m always on the lookout for his office door to be open. He loves to just sit and chat and help you out if you need it. He also loves to specifically use horrific, disgusting, and/or just amusing examples to demonstrate his points because he gets a kick out of our reactions. Ken is incredibly knowledgeable and truly a genuine person. As for the class, all of Ken\'s classes tend to be structured around study questions (that you get credit for just by doing them) and a couple of exams... plus small participation. The way the grading is designed, it is REALLY HARD to fail his classes. You have to really try to fail his classes, it seems. Take a class with Ken! He is one of my favorite professors.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2013
Generally one of the best teachers I've ever had, despite me not being especially interested in the subject. Basically every Brown class is the same in that you have to do a load of reading and homework, but he makes it absolutely clear what you have to do to get an A. He gives you the questions that will be on the test ahead of time, and grades fairly easy on the study questions, so there's no real reason to do poorly. Definitely recommended.

PHIL 314


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Sep 2008
Prof. Brown is very intellegent. He is so passionate about philosophy and it shows in his lectures. He is definitely a tough grader on the essays. You do learn a lot in his classes though.


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Oct 2008
Here's a professor evaluation for those of you wondering whether you should take a class with Brown. I took phil 313 and 314 with him, not 231. And I've noticed most of these posts are 231 students. Regardless, my experience with him was that his lectures were animated, clear, intense, interesting, and so full of important info that it's very risky to ever skip or miss class. He's a really cool guy both in class and in his office, and it's obvious that he genuinely wants people to understand reeeeally complex/strange material. He is a difficult grader, but all that really means is you can't skate by. You just have to, you know, actually make an effort. If you don't understand something, he's totally accessible and will explain things to you until you get it. He's not crazy, mean, or immature. He's actually super smart, friendly, and funny. But he is bald. That part's true.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2010
If you\'re taking this class for a C4 take it pass/fail. You would actually have to try to fail. Here is the final for your convenience: (2) 3 page essays; (1) 2 page essay. Essay topics: 1) Berkeley against Locke on Abstract Ideas 2) Berkeley against Locke on Primary and Secondary Qualities 3) Berkeley against Locke on material substance 4) Berkeley against Locke on activity and ideas 5) Berkeley\'s ideas and Notions against Locke\'s Simple and Complex Ideas 1) Hume\'s Impressions and ideas against Locke\'s Simple and Complex Ideas 2) Hume and Locke\'s differing accounts of belief 3) Hume\'s distinction between relations of ideas and matters of fact. 4) Hume\'s rejection of Locke\'s account of the origin of the idea of power 5) Hume and Berkeley on God\'s will as the source of natural laws 6) Hume against Locke on faith, belief and reason 7) Hume\'s skepticism in light of Berkeley\'s attack on skepticism


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Jun 2010
Prof. Brown is an awesome professor. I\'m not a Phil. major; I just took the class for my C4. I found the class to be somewhat dull sometimes (it was hard to stay awake, ha-ha), but it was still interesting. You can tell Prof. Brown is really passionate about philosophy and he knows what he\'s talking about. He assigns you study questions which are really easy and VERY helpful when it comes to preparing for the midterm and final (they\'re just really long). The midterm and final both consisted of three essays each, with a few topic choices for each essay. As long as you\'ve done the study questions and made somewhat of an outline, you should be fine. He brings all the handouts and books to the midterm and final and let\'s you use them if you want, so you don\'t have to worry about memorizing anything. Overall, a great Phil professor. You\'d have to try really hard to fail his class. Also, there may have been talk of white power, sex, and aliens turning stuff from red to green. Oh, and he is bald. And looks like Jack Black. Just FYI.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2012
Professor Brown is one of the best professors I've had at Cal Poly. He consistently tries to change his approach in delivering the material in order to fit different students needs and his method of teaching is the most organized I have seen by any professor period. The readings are very intriguing and allow you to learn concepts that will be applicable in every facet of your life and he has one of the most vibrant personalities to boot. Definitely one of the top 5 professors I've had at Cal Poly.


Senior
A
General Ed
May 2012
If you enjoy philosophy, Professor Brown is a great choice. His lectures are intriguing and he welcomes participation. Going to office hours is close to necessary because he steers you in the right direction to prepare for the midterm and the final. Very friendly with a straightforward grading system.

PHIL 335


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2016
The class consists of 2 midterms and 1 final. Each of those is 4 essays in 90 minutes. He gives you about 12 prompts ahead of time and you pick 3 to write. The 4th essay is a continuation of a different essay. There is also a lot of busy work but it's super easy as you get full credit just for doing it. Brown is a cool dude and seems to be passionate about what he's teaching. Id definitely recommend his class


Senior
B
General Ed
Mar 2016
Brown is a cool dude who is actually passionate about teaching the material. He's also hilarious with his analogies regarding the subjects in class. He chooses from very interesting topics, like abortion, death penalty, and animal rights to name a few. As the previous review said, the midterms are fairly easy if you do a mock essay as study. His homework consists of 7 study questions which guide you through the reading. I never did the reading completely, but just highlighted what he had highlighted in class and searched for the answers later. Obviously, what I did worked to some extent. Just a warning though, the study questions are about 40 questions a piece. If you just sit down an do it, you can get them done in about 2 or 3 hours.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2016
This will be a fair and accurate evaluation of Prof. Brown and the class. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE and ARCHITECTURE students should pay attention and read the end. Starting with Prof. Brown, rad dude. Very passionate about his teachings. Makes the class topics interesting and theres some crazy ones. He has a great sense of humor. He's strict on how he wants his homework turned in but come on people is it hard to make sure your pages are stapled? Sometimes his conversation can go over your head but just ask and he will clarify for you. The class is great and I loved our class discussions. There is a lot of busy work. You are assigned readings before each class and a packet of questions that range from 30 to 40 questions for each class. Most answers are easy to pull from the literature. Two Midterms and a final that are comprised of four essays for each test. The essays are to be one to two pages long each. For brevity I wont mention how they are administered, just read earlier evaluations for that. Showing up to class is important because it will clarify the readings and help you decide on how you're gonna write your essays through classmates discussions. My take, I'm a 3.6 GPA student and I found this class to be very challenging granted I've fried my brain years ago from to much fun and am not really a deep thinker but if your just naturally intelligent this should be a cake walk. If you get good grades from being diligent and hard work like me be up for a challenge. For the Arch and Land Arch students, this may take time away from your final project. My final project definitely took a blow from studying to get a good grade in his class but still managed to finish with a B in studio class. If I had to do it over again I think I would still take the class cause I definitely feel more knowledgable and conscious of social issues. Ohh, if you take it Pass/ No Pass and do pretty well through the class Prof Brown will tell you straight up before the final that if you have enough points to get a pass grade without taking the final then you don't have to take the final if you don't want too and just let him know. I myself think you're cheating yourself out of time spent through the quarter learning all the issues if you do decide not to take the final. Well thats that, cat in the hat.