Ball, Stephen  

Philosophy

2.91/4.00

109 evaluations


PHIL 231


Junior
Credit
Elective
Aug 2001
I would highly recommend this professor. It is not often you come across a professor who you atually looked forward to seeing. This guy is a crack-up!!! He will make you laugh until you pee. Material is difficult to begin with, and if you are taking the class CR/NCR, he tells you to write it on your final's santron to give you credit if you have just shown up to class. I love his jokes, and he loves to rip on Clinton, but you'll never now what party he belongs to.


Junior
Credit
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
Professor Ball is really a cool and fair teacher. His classes are extremely interesting and funny. His tests are all multiple choice but pretty tough, I would suggest taking the class credit no credit. I think I would have gotten a C in the class. I would definitely reccomend taking him for philosophy.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Dec 1999
someone took some acid in college......no really, this guy is awesome. I would reccomend him for anyone. he makes philosophy very interesting, and expects participation for the students. he sometimes goes a little off track, but is funny, organized and interesting. his tests are a little tricky, but he is ALWAYS available to talk philosophy.


Junior
A
General Ed
Jan 2001
This guy made philosophy very intresting and clear. He has more energy than any professor I've ever had and he is willing to talk to every student to answer their questions. TAKE THIS PROFESSOR FOR ANY COURSE YOU CAN!


Junior
A
General Ed
Mar 2001
This is the best philosophy class to take. Prof. Ball makes philosophy extremely interesting and relates the subject material to real life. There is basically no homework. If you go to class semi-regularly you'll pass with ease. Overall a great class and a great teacher so take advantage of him.


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2002
i find it interesting that a university which so applaudes its tolerance also supports this professor. If you want someone who will challenge your intellect without bashing your beliefs, Ball is not the one. Take it with Walker - he's no bigot.


Junior
A
General Ed
Feb 2002
This guy is great! There's just reading and two tests, on which he's pretty detailed on, but with the curve there's no way you can't pass this class if you go to lecture and he's so entertaining you don't mind going to class.


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2002
This guy is a total ego case. Don't ever win a argument withi him. He will never forgive you. I watched and kept my mouth shut at got my "A". I feel a little ashamed. But it's partly Poly's fault too! How does a meglomaniac like this get tenure?


Freshman
A
General Ed
Apr 2002
A few people mentioned that he likes to win arguments a bit too much. Maybe it was just me, but I attended every class, and I never heard one solid argument by a student against what he was teaching. Quite frankly, I didn't expect to. You have to keep in mind that when he is arguing, he is arguing for the positions of philosophers like Plato, Hume, and Mill. What are the chances that an experienced professor arguing for a famous philosopher would be unable to come up with an argument to defend his position? Maybe if people would use the system for arguing taught in class instead of just ranting about what they think they know, he would take the arguments more seriously. Bottom line, he presents the positions of the philosphers he is teaching very well. That is his job. His allowance of discussion is not required, but he does it anyway, and I don't believe he should have to be open minded and patient with every idiot that feels like opening his mouth. Oh, also, people say the tests are hard, but quite often he'll say outright "this will be on the midterm/final", referring to some question and the correct answer. WRITE THESE DOWN. These are the answers to the most difficult questions that will be on the test, and knowing them makes the test much easier. As a final note, I apologize if Professor Ball teaches the higher level classes differently, and your criticisms are truly valid. I am simply arguing based on what I experienced.


Senior
B
General Ed
Jul 2002
He's a really nice guy. He keeps you entertained during lecture. I had no interest in philosophy, but he kept me just interested enough to make it through this horrid GE class. I would recommend Dr. Ball.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Sep 2002
If you have to take philosphy I highly suggest Prof. Ball. He is not only incredibly smart, but also funny. He makes up this curve and basically everyone will get a "B" or a "C". you do have to work hard for an A, but I ended up with a B in the class, even though I failed one of the test. If you participate you will get a "B". Take this professor...He's great!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Jan 2003
Awesome Professor. Very dynamic and interesting lectures. Draws the entire class into the what could be mundane subject matter. Lots of class participation, conflicts and debates among students or between students and the professor. Excellent job of presenting neutral material (nobody in the whole class could figure out his political or religious beliefs by the end of the quarter), although he can still take sides and argue one way or another. Very comprehesive exams which are impossible if you didnt read AND COMPREHEND the material. Recommended if you're willing to put in a plenty of effort.


Junior
A
General Ed
Mar 2004
Ball is the man. He knows his shit and keeps everyone interested. He does take attendance sometimes, but he doesn't expect you to be there all the time and it's not a class you will dread going to because it is interesting. Take him for sure


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Dec 2004
I was certain I probably wouldn't get the grade I wanted in this class so I took it CR/NR as most of my classmates I think. But he's an awesome teacher who made an otherwise dreaded subject interesting. He requires that everyone participate because it's a small, but good chunk of your grade. If you don't talk, he'll confront you somewhere along the quarter to tell you that you must speak in class. The first half of the quarter is simple because Plato is easy to read and the class discusses justice to death. The 2nd half is a little harder because there isn't as much time to go over both Hume and Mill and they're both more difficult to read/understand, especially Hume. Take copious notes and get your pen ready whenever he says "This will be on the exam." All tests were multiple choice 50 questions for both the midterm and final but the final was double weighted to 100 points. It's also curved but he never told us what the curve was. The only thing I didn't like was how unclear he was about dates, such as when the midterm was and when the journals were due. He reminded us maybe the class meeting BEFORE it was due. Oh yeah, make sure you read his requirements for the journals because if you break a "violation" he takes off points. Otherwise take this class if you don't want to spend a lot of money on books and to actually learn something.


Junior
C
General Ed
Feb 2005
What a great guy. Ball's passion for philosophy really shines through in his lectures. Attend class, take notes, and be sure to understand Plato, Hume, and Mill before the final. If you can do that you'll be a wiser person in the end.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2005
RULE OF THUMB: --If you like/love to argue and are humble enough to admit when you are wrong, then take any class with this professor and it will benefit you to no end. Plus Professor Ball would love to have you. --If you do not like to argue or participate in class, or you are dogmatic in your personal beliefs, then DO NOT take any classes from this professor unless you desire to be miserable and not get the grade you desire. For people in this category, take a "Cattle Car" course in Philosophy (a class with 80+ students); for in these classes there is little arguing, your beliefs will never be challenged, and there are only two tests per quarter so you will quite easily get a good grade.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2005
Professor Ball is an awesome teacher. He is hilarious and the class discussions are really interesting. He really likes his students to participate in class, so do as much participation as possible. His midterm and final are hard but fair. The first midterm on Plato is a lot easier than the final which is on Plato, Mill, and Hume. If you study and participate you'll do fine in the class. I really enjoyed Prof. Ball and I'm even considering taking one of his other classes as an elective!


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Mar 2005
Dr. Ball is crazy, but he is one of the best professors I have had at Cal Poly. I have not had a good experience in any GE class until this one. He can talk about 50 things in lecture and the key is to write down only statements about the Philosophers that will be on the test. So, in the first half of the class when you are covering Plato, only take notes when he says "Plato would say this ..."


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Mar 2006
Ball was an amazing teacher. He is not afraid to throw out controversial points of views but is careful not to alienate everyone in the class. The workload is reasonable and the assignments were actally worth doing. He is hilarious and will make you want to go to class.


Senior
C
Elective
Jul 2007
Sucks balls. The guy is nuts.


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Dec 2007
I think i missed about half the lectures because i couldn't stand sitting there over-elaborating about 2-3 topics each class (which any capable person can do on their own by reading the book for 30 mins). He doesn't like you if you miss class, even though he says he does not care much about attendance in the beginning of the quarter. I got a an A- on the first midterm, worked hard on the vague writing assignment that constitutes half of your damn grade (I think this is where he shafted me), and didn't feel like I bombed the final, but still got a C- in the class. With that said, hes a smart guy who knows the material, but he scribbles on the board (draws arrows/lines all over) and often ignores hands in the air (esp. if he doesnt like you). I had a bad experience, hopefully that doesn't mean you will too.


Junior
C
General Ed
Jan 2008
Prof Ball knows the material well, but can be unclear in presenting it. The class and expectations are relitivly straight forward. If you are the type that does not like to speak up and talk about issues, then I would not suggest this professor. If you are, you should take him. Also, go to class or he will remember...ugh. He asked us to write the amount of missed days of class on our final. I felt like we talked about certain topics for far too long, but you get a decent understanding of the basics of moral philosophy. Take him if you like to talk :)


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Feb 2009
Dr. Ball is a pretty good teacher. He presents materials clearly, his tests are pretty much straight from his class notes. You really don't have to do any of the readings, in fact don't even buy the books, but they only cost about 20 dollars total. My major complaint about Ball is how his grading system is set up. He bases it off of some type of wack-ass way that he compares you to every other student that has taken that course under him. So on the first mid-term I got a 40/50... a B- right, WRONG, based on his comparison to past students that ranks as a C... wow. And then at the end of the class I received a 79.9% in the class... you would think that an understanding instructor would give a B, especially considering I participated in each discussion, and never missed a class... but again you are wrong... I got a C in the class. So as Dr. Ball will ask you in class if you challenge something he says "Are you calling me an asshole?" Yes Dr. Ball I AM calling you an ASS HOLE


Sophomore
C
General Ed
May 2009
I love Stephen Ball. I've taken him for two classes now and he is STILL interesting. YES, his classes are challenging but in a good way! He presents information that is philosophically RELEVANT to your life! I did not do well on his exams, hence the C, but I loved going to class. Besides, he cracks a joke about smoking weed at least once a day and he's extremely vulgar but it's hilarious. Take Stephen Ball!


Junior
C
General Ed
Dec 2010
DEFINATELY A REALLY HARD CLASS!!! Take it credit/no credit! This definately hurt my gpa. I am a straight A student with only one B+ in my entire college career. The final was the hardest test ever!


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Apr 2011
Professor Ball, like most philosophy professors, is somewhat out there. But I enjoyed his class. I took it CR/No CR so I wouldn't worry about doing the writing journal, midterm or final. If you like philosophical topics, then there's no reason you won't enjoy the class. The stuff is interesting. If you don't want to put a lot of time into the class though and just sit back and listen during the lectures, then take it credit. The first midterm wasn't bad (on Plato), but to get an A you needed like a 46/50. The final was hard (on Hume and Mill, and a little Plato), and I'm not sure what I got, but I imagine it was between 30 and 40. Like mentioned, he likes to curve, and it seems like the curve will hurt you rather than help. Interesting class, but very hard to get an A and not a guaranteed B.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jun 2011
I don't know how people are saying this class is so hard. If you go to class and take notes you will have all the answers for the midterm and final exams. He clearly states in his lectures "I WILL ASK THIS ON THE TEST AND THIS IS THE ANSWER YOU SHOULD PICK." There are two tests, both mutiple choice, and you have to do one journal writing assignment, which you have the whole quarter to do and its basically just writing short paragraphs with your opinions. If you go to class and pay attention (which isnt hard because Ball is super weird and hilarious to watch) you'll pass easily.


Junior
B
General Ed
Aug 2011
This guy is HILARIOUS. He is out of control, off his rocker, and high off his mind! He will not shy away from controversial/touchy subjects, rather, he meets them head-on! He is very enthusiastic, and that is extremely enjoyable in a subject like Phil Classics. The homework load is almost non-existant. You can buy/read the book, but literally he will tell you EVERY question that will be on the midterm/final. The tests are not EASY, by any means, because you have to go through your notes and review all of that stuff (and his notes on the board are CRAZY) but if you have the notes and go to class it is extremely easy to get a B. I put almost no effort into the class and got a B. IF YOU'RE WAITLISTED be prepared: you will have to give a philosophical argument for WHY we should let you in. Be ready


Junior
B
General Ed
Dec 2011
Grading was on two tests, a 3000 word journal, and a bit on face recognition. The teacher is so crazy the class was enjoyable. The reading was manageable and the tests included questions that were not in the reading or notes but were doable with educated guesses. Even though the teacher was fun there will always be a few vocal students who answer every discussion in class with because Jesus said so, or its wrong because Hitler believed in it.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Feb 2012
Okay, Ball is kind of crazy, but he is actually really interesting and will lecture EVERYTHING you need to know for the test in class. If you go to class you're better off because there's no way you'll understand his notes from anyone else. His lecturing style and personality are funky but all-in-all the class is not too hard and he breaks up the 3,000 word requirement into 300 words per week, which other professors do not do and is really nice.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
May 2013
I think everyone below has explained Dr. Ball's style and grading sufficiently. I agree that he is a good lecturer who tries to get students involved in debating the material. In my class, he seemed quite willing to hear other people's views and played devil's advocate to help with discussion.


Senior
A
General Ed
Nov 2015
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT NUMBER [39]...

PHIL 311


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2008
Ball is an amazing professor, a bit eccentric but that is part of what made him awesome. He knows his material inside and out but that can mean that it is a bit hard to argue with him at times. The reading isn't too intense in terms of its actual length but its written in a short note format so sometimes its hard to fully understand all of it unless you have heard the subsequent lectures. Bottom line: show up to class! Be prepared to have you ideas and beliefs challenged in this class though, by him and possibly by other students since he heavily encourages arguing and it is necessary for your participation grade. He is very funny in his mannerism in class and uses hilarious examples to illustrate his points. There is a writing journal attached and let me tell you make sure you keep up with the assignments and write something at least once a week otherwise you'll be buried in writing work. The grade is based upon the participation score, the journal due at week 9, a midterm, and the final. Great class overall, if you've had him before for another class he pretty much will reserve a seat for you. If you haven't had he before, he is definitely worth taking.

PHIL 330


Senior
D
General Ed
Jul 2006
First off, if you have to take this class with him, take it credit-no-credit. This guy is off the reservation. I took it cause I thought it would be interesting, but this class sucked. The good news is there is no hw, just a journal you turn in at the end of the quarter. The outside readings are so boring you can't stay awake while trying to read them, and they're whats covered on the tests, which by the way are extremely hard. Our midterm was a 50 question multiple choice test, and the average was a 25. The class discussions are actually stimulating, but do not have anything to do with the tests. If you do not know much about ethics, everything in this class will be over your head.

PHIL 331


Sophomore
D
Elective
Aug 2001
Great teacher. Philosophy teachers are usually interesting, but this guy does a comedy act every lecture. He's a lawyer with a different twist on the way the world works. Tests are long & pretty tough. He'll give a multi-choice test with A thru E answers, and you'll pick from another set (ie #1A&B, #2A&C, #3AC&D, #4A, etc.) So you can't use process of elimination (not all the time at least). If you want a good grade, going to class is a definite and you'll have to put in a little time. But it's worth it to watch Ball argue with all the christian fellowship freaks.


Sophomore
A
Elective
Oct 1999
A couple words of advice, if you graduate from Poly without taking a class from Dr. Ball, YOU HAVE MISSED OUT!!! I took this class on the advice of a friend and have since had 2 other friends take it and we've all gotten "A"s. Now, Dr. Ball is not easy, nor is the material, you must read and study but you'll get so much out if it. Dr. Ball is by far one (if not THE) best profs on Cal Poly's campus. You will debate, think, argue and LEARN! This class almost converted me into a Phil major! Dr. Ball is a genius and by far more intelligent than most profs I've encountered, take this class and you won't be dissappointed, Ball is great!


Junior
C
General Ed
Mar 2001
Prof. Ball is a really funny man. His lectures are usually pretty funny and it's fun to watch him rip apart all the campus crusader freeks. But the course is SUPER HARD and so arehis tests. His tests are difficult and they are hard to understand, he does curve so that usually helps people. I don't think that he presents the material well nor does he explain it well. I found myself confused most of the time. I would not recommend taking this class for a GE, take something else unless you want to spend a quarter in angony.


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Jun 2001
Prof. Ball was a wonderful teacher to have. Everyday he would start the class out wearing a tie that will burn your retnas and a pair of sunglasses he stole from the set of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and say, "Questions and comments from last time?" His class was a blast. The entire class got involved in discussion and at times it got very heated. I would recommend to anyone for any reason that you take hime for any class. He was very funny and really got everyone thinking. Great professor. Probably one of the best in Cal Poly.


Junior
A
General Ed
Jun 2001
first of all, hes a cool teacher...gives hard tests, but he grades very fairly(considering what you would get on his midterm). the midterm was really objective and i didnt have that much trouble, because his outline follows everyone of the main things in the class. but where you might get lost is in the class discussions. most all class discussions dealt with real sensitive issues to people and their moral values and ethics, which was fine with me. but dont get too caught up in him pissin people off, its funny, but he does it because they are spouting off some fallacy and it actually gets you to think about your own values. great teacher, a must take if you can.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2001
I honestly cannot say enough about this professor. He is definitely the best professor I've ever had. He obviously loves his subject and enjoys teaching it just as much. If you have a question, he'll spend all his time between classes answering it. He returns emailed questions within a couple of days (usually sooner). He has his own outline for most of the material he covers, but YOU MUST GO TO CLASS. You could easily read the outline and take the exam, and you might just pass. However, this is one class that was fun to go to. And that's not just because it's my major. It's more like having a front row seat to a comedy act. BUT YOU LEARN! at the same time. He goes so far as to have a question and answer session once a week for anyone who wants to come, and hands out his number to students so they can ask questions all the way up until the day of the final. CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY IF YOU CAN GET ONE OF HIS CLASSES. There's a reason they go fast.


Junior
B
Elective
Dec 2001
This guy obviously thinks he's a comedian or something. And some of the stuff he says is funny. But I stop laughing when he makes rude and uninformed comments about a religion he doesn't understand. He needs to stop acting like he knows everything, because he obviously doesn't. But I guess he'll learn that eventually.


Senior
Credit
General Ed
Jan 2002
This guy is a fruit. Class was something to look forward to, and if you can see past the pink pokadot tie, you'll enjoy the issues he brings up in class. The class is basically an open discussion forum. Tests are multiple choice and essay, and much harder than you'd expect. He weighs heavily attendance and participation. He passes everyone.


Senior
B
General Ed
Jan 2002
This guy is full of himself. Count how many times he says, "In the article I published in this one journal..." The class is easy going though, and he is pretty biased and not open to opinion. If you start to formulate an argument, he'll distort it and shut you down. Go to class, smile, and add a comment every now and then, and you'll do fine. Also, Don't but the Ethics book, it's not used. Only buy the notes.


Junior
A
Elective
Jan 2002
If there is one thing you must do, regardless of major, before leaving Cal Poly -- Take Dr. Ball for 331. He will challenge things that you hold dear, things that you think are obvious, and make you defend them. He will open your mind to new possible answers to the same old problem you thought you solved back in 9th grade. The tests are extremely difficult (but graded on a curve), study the notes out of class (there isn't much going through them inclass) and keep asking questions.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2002
Ball is showman, plain and simple. He thrives off of the classroom... he loves laughs and winning arguments. He is open to discussion, but, be careful if you start making too much sense--Ball doesn't like to be wrong (at least on anything of consequence). It seems as though he cares more about winning arguments than pursuing truth in fairness. I was saddenned by this reality. Don't get me wrong, Ball is an intelligent man and he likes philosophy a lot. But, I don't think he is the most fair prof. His biases definately shown through as the quarter progressed. He's not a bad prof to have, but, there are better ones.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2002
I took this teacher because polyratings had great comments on him, they are not true! He is so hard, he is way ahead of himself and his tests kill you. I am an A student and I am getting a D! He has a curve but it is so you do not fail. DO NOT TAKE HIM if you can help it.


Junior
A
General Ed
Apr 2002
The previous couple of posts were totally off base. Prof. Ball is a really good prof. who understands his point of views as well as the opposition's. Though the class is graded on a favorable curve, to get a good grade you must always be in lecture and participate. I don't think he has a problem with students disagreeing with him or himself being proven wrong. I think some of the students who actually feel this way speak their mind in the beginning and just shut up for the rest of the quarter after they get totally shut down in a debate with him. That lack of participation is most likely reflected in their grade. My advice if you are going to take him is to: a) go to class b)participate in class discussions c)follow his outline really closely(it reflects whats going to be on the exams) and d) go to philunch


Senior
A
Required (Support)
May 2002
Dr Ball is the coolest teacher at Poly, yes when you start the clas s U will freak out 4 sure cuz it is hard material and he teaches so fast and thinks u get it and u pretend u do to impress him. But he curves the class to balance for how hard it is and you will do fine, take him, he is a nice guy and he is funny for a philosophy guy!


5th Year Senior
B
Elective
Jun 2002
This guy made class great BUT you really won't learn anything of testable value. My biggest complaint with Ball was he tried to save us money by NOT having a text book. All of the reading was on reserve at the library. If you didn't read the material, (which by the way was by people as far out in la- la land as Ball), you were screwed when it came to the tests! His tests are more a test of your psychy than of yor knowledge. They sucked and they were a bitch. Take a statistics class prior to his and answer the questions on what "statistical would be the answer". I never missed a class and I participated often, but I still have no idea what the point was to this or any other phil. class is for! My classmates were great and we had many open debates and Ball LOVED it. He graded us EXTREMELY generously because of our participation. By the end of the class I determined I was a Kantian-FOR WHATEVER THAT IS WORTH!


Senior
C
General Ed
Dec 2002
So far I've liked all the philosophy teachers at Poly. Big ups to Johnsen. Ball is no different. He'll make you think and stimulate your mind. The material is kind of thick and requires extensive reading. THe shit he talks about is interesting and it makes you think. If you take this class make that damn class notes book your best friend. It is golden. read it through and through and know it.


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Dec 2002
I'm kinda conflicted about Dr. Ball: on the one hand, he was a highly amusing, engaging professor that brought a lot of real world examples to the class, and was big on letting the class discuss these issues through the Socratic method. This is good. On the other, he didn't seem to connect this material well to what he was testing for on the midterms. Sometimes, I'd sit through lecture, and at the end of the hour and a half go "Gee... that was fun; but what did we *learn* about ethics?" Some hints on the exam: get the lecture notes book, and actually *read* it; try to connect what was talked about in class that day with what's in the book. He doesn't harp on names in class, but he does on the exams, so know who said what and how they feel about certain issues, plus what their opponents would say. Also, if you speak up in class a lot, he seems to factor that in heavily to your grade, especially if you're on a border; so if you want some extra credit, be a loud mouth.


Sophomore
N/A
Elective
Feb 2003
Many of you assume that taking this guy is the easy way out, and it may seem that way but in reality hes a really bad teacher, I really dont like this guy. If you are a person that does not speak up in class he will not like you. If you want to do well in class. Say something, even it is something totally retarded,say it. Overal if youre on his good side, you'll do good, bascilly he likes it if you kiss his ass, butter him up. Oh and if you tought you'd learn something from class guess again, you wont. Overall i think hes a dumbass, take a teacher a real teacher.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2003
Dr. Ball was great. His class was amusing and he got everybody involved. He is a truly funny guy and went out of his way to help people. His office door was always open and he had "philunch" once a week to answer everybody's questions. He also gave everybody his home number to call and ask questions, so he made himself as available as possible, and is a very friendly guy. For a G.E. this class was really hard and the tests were incredibly difficult, but he curves it so much that even when you do bad you still pass. The class was very interesting and we addressed many topics that is relevant and fun to talk about. I learned a lot in this class and Prof. Ball was awesome. Get him if you can, just show up and take notes and you'll do fine.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Apr 2003
Ball is a cool and funny guy. I'd definitely recommend him as a teacher. There really is no reading for the class, but be sure and go to lecture and speak up in class. He has a ton of hillarious and random mataphors, and class was usually pretty interesting. Lots of debate and stuff, so try and have an opinion and share it once in a while. His tests are really hard, but he curves them, so it isn't bad. Definitely a super cool professor, with his colorful ties and 80's sunglasses. In fact, he seems to be stuck in the 80's, which is cool since that was a cool decade. But how many hairs make a beard? And is a crab's asshole water tight?


Junior
B
General Ed
Jun 2003
awesome guy!


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Jun 2003
Dr. Ball is a great professor who presents class material in an interesting and relevant manner. The class was extremely thought-provoking and I actually looked forward to his class, unlike many other courses. His tests are difficult, but he grades on a generous curve and if you attend class and pay attention, it shouldn't be too hard. He is such a funny professor and he knows how to get the class going. Definiely recommend him to anyone! The best class I have had yet at Poly!


Junior
A
Elective
Jul 2003
You


Senior
B
General Ed
Dec 2003
I recommend this teacher for anyone in any major. He is hilarious. I actually enjoyed going to his class, even on Fridays. He is really smart and he curves the tests a lot. You have to write weekly journals worth 50% of your total grade. Piece of cake.


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2003
Dr. Ball is by far and away the most hilarious professor on campus!!! This guy knows how to keep the class' attention, and finds ways of relating the material to current events that people are interested in talking about. He won't attempt to sway you one way or another on any of the views talked about in class like so many other professors attempt to do. His class consists of a mid-term, final, and journal. The journal is a piece of cake if you keep up with it (one entry per week) and it counts for half your grade. The mid-term and final are very difficult but he has an unbelievable curve! You could get half the exam wrong and still end up with a solid C. He doesn't have a text book for the class so you really save at the bookstore (which is pretty damn hard to do). He also gives out tons of extra credit without you knowing about it. Any time you go to an office hour, or call him, or go to Philunch, you picking up participation points. Definitely take this guy if you get the chance. A great professor!!


Junior
D
General Ed
Mar 2004
I felt that it was necessary to provide a much clearer picture of what this professor is really like. Yes he is funny. Yes he wears crazy ties. Yes, he is full of himself. But beware come grade time. Most professors that grade on a curve do so to HELP the grades of their students. Ball grades on a downward curve to HURT the grades of his students. By his own admission of my scores in the class, I should have had a C, however, he gave me a D instead because I ranked in the lower percentile of his philos classes over the past however many years. If you want to get a good grade in this class, it doesn't matter how well you do, but rather how well you do in comparison to all of the students he's ever taught. When asked to have my grade re-evaluated and changed, he refused saying that he has the right to assign whatever grade he feels is appropriate. This guy is a jerk. Avoid taking his class if at all possible (FYI, most of the students this quarter recieved D's and F's)


Senior
C
General Ed
Jun 2004
All that I can say is stay away from this man unless you enjoy retaking horrible classes. Not only will you get a bad grade and have to retake it, but when you go back he will make fun of you to the whole class ALL QUARTER! This guy should NOT be allowed to teach goldfish how to swim!


5th Year Senior
B
Elective
Nov 2004
Ball was awesome. It is a shame to hear the things people wrote on here. I guess they weren't ready to think. Oh yeah, his grading scheme isn't really that unique. It is based on mathematical probability dealing with over 15 years of data. Drop by his office and he will explain it to you. Last words: take Dr. Ball!!


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2004
Yes, Ball curves his tests so that I was still able to receive an A however his bias and classroom antics made attending class the most miserable experience of my life. He has his opinion but if you disagree or misspeak expect not only to be mocked during that class meeting but every class meeting following. This class is not extremely difficult because everything on the test is in his lecture notes, but they are never presented in lecture, which is another reason why attendance is futile. I find philosophy fascinating, it is my major, but I will not recommend this class to anyone because of my horrid experience with this professor. I suggest if forced to take this class wait till walker teaches it.


Senior
Credit
General Ed
Dec 2004
Steve is a really cool and interesting person but he is not on the same level as everyone else. He just talks like your a Phil. major. The fact is most people in the class arnt and dont know what the fuck he's even talking about. I took it credit/nocredit and that made it really easy. The first test 20/60 was a C and 34/60 was an A. I didnt even study at all and got an A. You have to keep a journal worth half of your grade which is really easy.(one entry a week 250 words) The course talks about some pretty cool stuff but steve is just a weird ass mother fuck.


Graduate Student
C
General Ed
Jan 2005
The course material itself is very interesting and practical, and I think everyone should take an ethics course. I just wish it were taught by a different teacher. He claims to welcome arguments, but takes offense and attacks you if you disagree with him. My grade suffered terribly in that class from disagreeing with him a few times to many. I had the highest grade in my class on the midterm, a B on the final, and an 87% overall, but this is somehow still a C+.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Jan 2005
If you are not a philosophy major I can understand being lost in this class, possibly it is the first time at cal poly where one is forced to critically think. I found the reading interesting and his lecture notes humorous, however this class was the most miserable experience of my life. I dreaded walking in and hearing this man's pretentious droning. It was not because I was not ready to think or even that I found the material or tests hard. It was that I questioned a man who expected us to accept all he fed us because he put on an eccentric act. I do not think that standing on a desk, wearing a coat on one arm, or funny ties makes a person a good teacher. A good teacher is one who does not show obvious favorites or become hostile with a class. The worst things to do in this class are asking why or have an opinion and that was the most depressing part of this philosophy class. Philosophy is supposed to invite those things. If you are forced to take him just be quiet, do the reading, and coast. It is a cakewalk if you do that, if you challenge him you will regret it.


Senior
A
General Ed
Feb 2005
An awesome professor. Ball is absolutely crazy, but brilliant at the same time. Forces students to think about shit and is entertaining at doing so. A difficult class though; not in the sense of having a lot of assignments because there arent really any, but just very difficult tests. Know the shit inside and out before the tests.


Junior
B
General Ed
Apr 2005
Dr. Ball is one of the best professors I have ever had. He truly loves his job and his enthusiasm for teaching makes his class fun and interesting. You must read and re-read his lecture notes and attend class to do well on the tests. Class participation is important, but if it is difficult for you, like it was for me, you can still do well in the class by keeping up on the journal assignment, worth half your grade. Dr. Ball is a genius and you should definitely take his class!


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2005
This is the best professor at Cal Poly. If anyone has the chance to take Ball, take him! It will be fun and you will learn so much. Though his tests are quite difficult, he is very fair as he grades on a generous curve. The material is interesting & Ball is brilliant and knows how to teach it.


5th Year Senior
C
General Ed
Mar 2006
Ball is an awesome teacher, he's sarcastic and witty and it makes class that much better. It's really good when he starts ripping on other students, especially when they ramble and talk about stupid topics. his tests are hard but if you go to class faithfully and write the journal which is half your grade you should be able to pass. Don't get on his bad side and if you disagree just bite your tongue. This guy was a math major, law student and philosophy major so he knows his stuff. Ball is awesome! he was great since its was my last GE ever! thanks for an entertaining quarter!


Senior
C
General Ed
Mar 2006
Ethics is the study of what is morally right and wrong. Professor Ball is wrong. Ball chooses favorites, uses profanity, disrespects Christianity, belittles students, and most importantly, he teaches you nothing. His topics, publications and lectures are a series of roundabout circles that stimulate the human mind to the nano degree. DO NOT ENROLL IN HIS CLASS. Better yet, enroll and tape-record his bogus lecture, report him to the Dean and save Cal Poly from this lunatic.


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2006
Very tough class. There was a lot of info that was very confusing if you are not into this stuff. I took it credit/no credit and passes, but I was very worried I would not pass. He curves his class based on all of the classes he had taught. This helps alot! Very confusing class, but take it CR/NC and show up to class and do the journals and you'll be fine!


Senior
D
Required (Major)
Feb 2007
Professor Ball is entertaining. There are days when I enjoyed his class. He definitely seems biased though. I would recommend not trying to state our opinion, as awful as that sounds. I tended to be pretty outspoken and he definitely enjoys being in the spotlight. So, he will do whatever it takes to steal the spotlight back, including belittling you and even verbally attacking you at times just to get a laugh out of the class. It's the oddest thing. He's knows his stuff farely well yet there isn't much professionalism. His tests are super hard, he sets it up for you to fail, and then curves it from there. I think I should have recieved a C+, at least according to my calculations, and then ended up with a D. I speculated that maybe it was because I contradicted him sometimes but thought that it was just my imagination. After reading the posts and other's experiences I think that there maybe a connection. Not sure what to say but if you can take someone else, do so, you'll learn more and have a better overall experience.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2007
BALL IS NUTS! offically, but he is addicted to (among other things) philosophy. He wont bullshit you, although if you happen to have very strong beliefs about anything, he will force you to evaluate them, and you may not like what you find, but Ball just gives you the empirical evidence and shows you the arguments, its up to you to discover what the truth is. his tests are multiple choice philosophy tests, (ie multiple choice on steroids) and you have to keep an ethics journal to fulfill the WI requirements, which he is against, but has to implement anyway. midterm and final, no surprises. go to lecture!


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Mar 2007
If you are a "Jesus-Lover" sure, this class may not be for you. In my experience most Jesus Freaks do not like to be challanged... Dr. Ball is highly intelligent. He presents both sides of the material fairly. Loved this class. Makes you think.


Senior
A
General Ed
Sep 2007
Before you make your decision, read over the other reviews of Dr. Ball. If you notice those who did poorly in his class rated him badly, but those that did well graded him well. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Ball challenges his students. He isn't disrespectful (even to Christians) he just challenges their beliefs, which can be very hard on some people. He plays devils advocate very well, so no matter what your beliefs are expect that he will argue with you. Dr Ball is the best teacher i have had at calpoly up to this point. If you want to expand your mind and reasoning ability this is the perfect class for you. ~VPR


Junior
N/A
Elective
Nov 2007
He is an old man who has a 'holier than though' attitude. He has one midterm and one final, both multiple choice. But i failed the first midterm and got a 'c +' after the curve; that is how confusing the material is and how hard the tests are that he has to curve them that bad. The good thing about him is that he encourages student participation. But you have to keep a journal every week which is stupid. And the class I took was a 'W.I.' class which he criticized non-stop for the first week of class (instead of teaching us something).


Junior
A
General Ed
Dec 2007
Ball makes PHIL 331 an interesting class. He is very passionate about ethics (PHIL 331 is an ethics class) and will go on ranting about something for the whole period. If you are a shy person, do not take his class as he will call on people at random (and some not at random) and will take class polls about controversial issues. The grade consists of a writing assignment (about 3000 words), two tests, and class participation. He has a curve worked out already, so the class is not curved based on the class. This is not one of those classes where you only show up for tests, but if you want to learn about ethics and are willing to think outside of the box, take Ball!


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Jul 2008
Don't listen to these crazy kids who are giving Ball great reviews... they must be in the philosophy major. This class is REALLY HARD if you are not some kind of philosopher. My advice is to take something else to fullfil your stupid GE requirement because if you take this class you'll end up with one hell of a fucking headache. The writing requirement is retarded. (Basically just typing about what was said in class with a little of your own analysis added in.) The tests are damn near impossible to just figure out what he is asking. Throughout the course he references all these philosophers whom which you know knothing about. The tests are no different. A typical question would be: In Meta-ethics, would Durkheim agree with Kafka on this issue? Its multiple choice ABCD, but then theres A&B, B&C D only and other crazy shit like that at the end of every question! If you are dumb enough to take this class then watch yo back cus this guy is a freak.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Jul 2008
he's crazy, arrogant, demanding, unforgiving, and his expectations are far to high for an undergraduate course. his syllabus and course notes are a CHORE to read and his exams take even the brightest students hours on end due to his wordy sentence structures and complicated "multiple choice" questions. the writing assignment is presented as an "easy A" but I found him to be finicky with that as well his class participation which is also presented as "padding for the grade" becomes highly intimidating as he will flat out call you an idiot or laugh in your face for any slight misunderstanding or need for clarification. Im a philosophy minor. These were my last two courses in the department (331, and 333)... and BY FAR the worst grades I've ever received at Cal Poly..... If you want a challenge, take Dr. Ball.... just hope you get on his good side. Oh yea, and TAKE IT PASS/FAIL!!! A's are near to impossible.


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Jul 2008
Alright....I'm going to be completely honest. This guy is rather interesting. He does know A LOT about philosophy and is VERY passionate about the topic. However, he can get semi-annoying and arrogant at times. He always went off on tangents...talking about how he read so-and-so philosopher in "the ORIGINAL GERMAN" or how he taught at a UC (haha...like Irvine/Riverside or some shit...the ass crack of UC's) for years before he came to Poly and how CSU's suck and the professors are shit...blah blah blah. BUT....besides the random comments such as these...he is a good teacher. Like stated before...he challenges his students. I'm not gonna lie though...if you're expecting an A in this class...It's almost IMPOSSIBLE!!!! I'm a Dean's List Student and got a C. Although...I never went to office hours. That might have helped. The writing assignment isn't too difficult but the Midterm and Final are CRAZY HARD!!!!!!!! Seriously...his tests are the most difficult tests I've ever taken. I have to admit though....even though it brought down my GPA...I'm glad I took this class. He kept me engaged in the material. I enjoyed attending class. You'll either LOVE Dr. Ball or HATE Dr. Ball. Either way...he's a professor like no other. You just have to decide which is more important....A well rounded education that exposes you to insightful philosophical topics with a Damn near crazy professor.....or an easy GE class and a high GPA. haha...regardless, if you're ballsy....take the guy....i dare you.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Sep 2008
Prof. Ball is crazy, but he is an amazing teacher. He is very knowledgable about his stuff and presents a different perspective. Keep up on your journals, and make sure you read his handouts & review notes before the tests and you'll do fine.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Sep 2008
By far the best teacher I have ever had.


Junior
N/A
Elective
Sep 2008
Funny guy, class was always interesting but very difficult to follow. He doesn't really connect points well, he goes off on tangents, and consistently complains about campus policy (which does not relate at all to the course). He is interesting to listen to though and clearly loves the subject. Only take this course if you're confident in your ability to take good notes and connect the dots where he fails to.


5th Year Senior
Credit
General Ed
Nov 2008
Professor Ball was a great teacher and I actually enjoyed going to his classes. I took the course credit/no credit which was nice, but I felt like his grading wasn't even that bad anyways. He is super funny, and alludes to taking drugs whenever possible, which is awesome (when he passes out papers in class, he tells students to "take a hit of this"). If you have the chance to take this class, do it!


Sophomore
C
Elective
Nov 2008
okay I'm not trying to rip on Steve but I do have to say that this guy is CRAZY!! not only does he talk a mile a minute but on top of that he talks in complete circles (insert the obvious philosophy professor joke here). I mean I am not completely inept when it comes to philosophy but his PHIL 331 class is kind of a joke. we have journals once a week to write (to fulfill the writing intensive program curriculum that he always bitches about) and then we have an all-for-nothing midterm and final that I think I may have had an anurism on. DON"T TAKE HIM AT ALL COSTS


Graduate Student
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2009
I took 2 classes from Dr. Ball back in 1996- and am pleased to see he is still invoking the insanity today that he did back then! This very day, I remember him the most out of all my instructors at CP. Yes- there were times i would find him hard to follow, but i can attest that i learned a lot about ethics and logic that i utilize in my life and my career today. Word for your ear- UTILIZE his office hour! His tests are (or were) very difficult, (the type where almost any answer could work, or not work). I failed the first test,(miserably i may add) but came back strong, simply by going to his office and making him accountable for some of the things that he would throw out in lecture. With an adequate amount of effort- I pulled an A and a B, and to this day, remember almost every point of interest from his classes. Ty


Sophomore
No Credit
General Ed
Jun 2009
So I did take this as a GE...but was so lost in the first week that I switched to cr/nc and had to make it an elective (I've taken too many). His classes aren't horrible to go to but the fact that you know you will NEVER get out early makes the 2 hours about 5 times longer. sometimes our class had interesting discussions (that I didn't get) and Ball is definitely entertaining with all of his weed references and opinions against the people who run the school, but I would say don't take it unless you are a philosophy major or should be one. There's a midterm, final, and journal assignment...I thought I kinda understood the material but he reworded everything weirdly on the tests so definitely didn't do too well on those. I felt like my journal entries were decent for a non-philosophy major, but seeing the NC on my grades erased that! Basically, Ball is entertaining and you probably learn a lot, but only understand it if you're into philosophy.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Feb 2010
Simply put, Professor Ball is the man. The one thing I look for in a teacher is enthusiasm, and Ball is definitely passionate about ethics. Pay attention, ask questions, and you will learn, not only about the material in the course, but about yourself and the world you live in. Best teacher in \"San Luis Nabisko\"


Junior
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2011
So Professor Ball is definitely an interesting/nutty guy. I took this CR/NC, and probably would have gotten a B in the class. It definitely is tough, philosophy isn't for everyone but the ONLY thing you need to get through the class are his archaic typewriter notes from the bookstore and the notes from his lecture. Make sure to go to his lectures everyday so you can understand somewhat his jumbled course notes. I definitely learned a lot in this class and really enjoyed it, Ball knows how to keep the class entertained. Don't expect this to boost your GPA however, as Ball prides himself in maintaining the bell curve for the grades in his classes.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2011
Dr. Ball is a great teacher. He makes the class interesting and involves students by having discussions on the material presented. The only bad thing about Ball is his sporadic style of teaching. He will discuss a topic, then point out a side note, then spend about a half hour discussing that side note, then go back to the lecture. If you don't keep track of what he has been talking about you can easily get lost. Definitley take him though; he's an excellent teacher.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2012
Top notch. Professional, fair, intelligent, informative, helpful. Best professor I've had at Cal poly so far. Take him for philosophy classes when you can!


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Sep 2013
Crazy nutjob of an interesting dude. Easy to get a C, hard to get anything else... Absurd tests but lots of grading based on writing assignment and participation. All participation is is having an opinion on morals, society, current and past events, etc. He will love you if you argue with him or ask ridiculous questions... and if you're waitlisted-- GO! He lets in as many as he can possibly fit in the classroom and openly rips on Poly on a bunch of their politics. He's on the students side hahah. Fun class, might as well take it for GE, you'll be entertained.


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
The professor is a very cool dude but his tests are very difficult to do better than a B- unless you study your ass off for them. He presents 4 statements and then you have to decide which combination of the four statements answer the question (i.e. statement A+B, all but B, all of the above, A only). I think this is purely there to confuse students and I had a hard time taking the tests in this format. If the tests were more cohesive, I believe I could have gotten a B or an A. Bottom line: If you have extremely good test taking skills, and are willing to take tests that are obviously meant to trip you up, take this dude.


5th Year Senior
B
General Ed
Jan 2015
Professor Ball is definitely a unique instructor. He expects his students to contribute in class often, if you do this, you'll get a decent grade. His tests are extremely confusing, you must know EVERYTHING about the questions he asks in class and the philosophers that he mentions. As long as you go to class and study his notes (even though he doesn't always lecture on them) you'll do fine. He requires journal entries every week with mandatory topics, these aren't due until the 9th week. He swears they are impossible to accomplish if you wait til the last minute, but I whipped them out the day before and was just fine. Overall, I would recommend him for students who are actually interested in philosophy, if you are looking for an easy A or B, try for another professor.


Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Jul 2015
Steve...I salute you. His lecture style is impetuous. His rhetoric is impregnable. He's just ferocious. Yes, that is a Mike Tyson quote. Yes, this prof is that bad ass.


Junior
A
Elective
May 2016
Stephen "Crazy 8" Ball is the bitchinest professor on campus, bar none. He teaches ethics with unwavering knowledge and effectiveness, and doesn't beat around the bush about anything. Your view of the world, no matter what it is, will be stronger after this class (though adjusted to eliminate inconsistencies). Extra props for his constant shitting all over the administration.


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Dec 2016
Stephen Ball was one of the best and most passionate professor that I have had at Cal Poly. I will preface this by saying that I enjoy philosophy and this class just enhanced that. This class does not try to change your ethical view but understand where you views fall into in ethical models so that you can better understand your own views. Stephen will present arguments equally for and against every ethical model and you will never be able to tell which ethical model his views fall into, he is extremely unbiased in his teaching of the material. You get extra points for participation and at the beginning of the quarter he will keep track of who speaks up in class and how many times however I would say that I did not speak up too much but am an extremely expressive person and since I was actively engaged and giving my feedback in this manner he would comment on what he could tell were my views even without me saying anything so I believe I got more points for participation through this manner. The tests are very challenging but he has an interesting grading scale (that he will go over extensively) so you can fall in a range of exam scores and still do well in the class. Try to keep up to date on the journal entries or do them every few weeks or at least make sure that you mark the page numbers in lecture notes book of what you covered each week so you can reference specific topics for each week. I enjoyed learning from Professor Ball and would take him if you have the chance, he is passionate about his topic and very energetic.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2017
Ball is a crazy Mofo, legit looks like a mad scientist and lectures a little like one. His classes are always energy packed and relevant. He is definitely on the students side with any on campus issues, and is really easy to work with. His 331 class is super easy to pass, and with a bit of effort get a decent grade. 50% of your grade is based on a journal that is super easy to do as long as you have his course packet. To get a passing grade on that assignment all you need to do is write the minimum word count. Oh yea the entire course is in that book, so if you miss class its relatively easy to catch up. Honestly one of the best professors on campus.

PHIL 333


Sophomore
A
Elective
Jun 1999
This prof has a fair grading system and he doesnt assign homework. This guy is hilarious and his lectures are never boring. Great class and very interesting. If you want an A you have to do the reading so you can understand what he is lecturing about


Senior
A
Elective
Dec 2003
Before i even started class at Poly the only advice i recieved was TAKE PROFESSOR BALL... i forgot, of course, and ended up in his class anyway. This professor is challenging, interesting, extremely intelligent and is willing to discuss ANY philosophical ideology from ANY perspective. I have taken him every year of my college career and have never been dissapointed. If you are thinking that you might be interested in philosophy AT ALL make sure to take this professor to have a proper introduction across the board to the discipline. These classes were some of the most thought provoking and inspiring lectures i have had the pleasure to attend. Dont worry about the journals, just make sure to write something mildly amusing and dont hesitate to comment on other student


Graduate Student
A
Elective
Nov 2004
I have to laugh at the negative assessments of Dr. Ball. People have trouble in Ball's class because they expect a cake walk ("Hey man, Ball's so cool"), they have no desire to critically assess their own philosophical stance (i.e. the 'true believer'), they're unprepared or unwilling to think deeply, or they're simply unitelligent. Ball's classes are socratic, chaotic, and fun--IF you are willing to talk, to argue, and to accept other, often better, counterarguments. I experienced several moments of Zen-like elightenment when Ball or one of my fellow classmates hit me over the head with their ideas or explanations. The philosophy is not easy, it is important and beneficial--it will make you grow if you let it. The last class I had with Ball was four years ago, and I'm still reaping the rewards. The amount of time, effort, and THOUGHT (go sit under a tree and meditate kind of thought) you put into Ball's class you will get back in spades in the form of self-knowledge. Philosophy is all about thinking, folks. If you want to think, to learn, and to understand, take philosophy. If you want to have a good time as well, take Ball.


Senior
Credit
Required (Major)
Aug 2005
I've taken 6 philosophy courses and I have yet to have a bad philosophy teacher. Ball is a wild, entertaining teacher. I heard he is a hard grader for his ethics class so I took cr/nc for his politics class and he said I would've received a B+ or higher soooo... Don't take pass fail for his politics class haha. His lecture is a little bit unorganized and as a result it's sometimes tough to follow him but he'll hook you up with any questions you have; hell he'll give you his home number if you want to talk philosophy. Overall he's the man! Very entertaining teacher. Tests are hard to a certain extent but on the first midterm the class got some of the questions changed around, but those points don't matter. The bulk of the grade comes from the journal, almost half the grade is the journal, and he hooks a brother up!


5th Year Senior
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2007
The best professor I have ever had at Poly. This school does not know how lucky it is to have a professor of this caliber. He is intelligent, passionate, entertaining, and concerned about students. He is clear in his grading policy (one midterm, one 3,000 jounral/essay - super easy, and one final, along with class particiaption). His material is relevant. If you are a Poli Sci major, take this course. It will expand your mind. This is the type of course that college is supposed to be like: if you read and ask questions is class, you will not only pass, but you will learn. Why does everything have to relate to Jesus fucking Christ? Listen people, it is only natural that when discussing politics philosophically, that religion, and religious issues, will come into play. Politics is History; History is politics. And religion has a long hisotry of being a bedfellow with politics. Many classical philosophers based their arguments upon religious presupposotions. So do not be surprised that when you discuss world politics philosophically, that historical and philosophical religious questions arise. This class is not about affirming or denying Jesus or Christians or anyone else. It is about learning how to think critically about politics by understanding the philosophical foundations of contemprary political ideologies. But which begs a stranger question: Why, if people so completely believe a religious dogma that proscribes to trump science and fact with faith and opinion, why would such people even come to a secualr, technical (and thereby scientific) institution of higher learning (wherein critical thinking - i.e. challenging/questioning conventions, norms, beliefs - is requsite)? Why oh why don't you jesus freaks just apply to Bob Jones University and make room at Poly for a critical minds who welcome intellectual stimulation?


Junior
C
General Ed
Jul 2007
The first thing I thought when I saw Ball for the first time was that he is a hippy speed-freak. Turns out my first impression wasn't far off the mark. I'm an engineer and I appreciate ordered logical arguments, and that's not what I got in this class. His handwriting is horrible chicken-scratch and he just scibbles his next agrument wherever it fits on the board. I swear he is affraid of erasers. Some of his arugments make sense and were compelling, but others fell short. This class is not what I was expecting. Don't both buying any of the books because he never assigns the reading from them. However, buy his outlines from the bookstore because they help. Take as good of notes as you can in class and don't miss any if you can. His grades are based on his statistical averages from his VAST teaching experience which sucks, but I got a C because I never missed a class and studied my notes for an hour or two before the midterm and final. I wouldnt take him again.


Senior
C
General Ed
Aug 2008
Go To Class - period. Become fully aware of everything written in a 50 plus page document you must purchase at El Corral which outlines Ball's grading procedure (it reads like legislative garbage). Be prepared to hear constant bitching about Campus policy, its professor's, and his dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. Furthermore, be prepared to read about his personal opinions, and discuss them as if they are worthy of discussion among the many great philosophers Ball refers to. One of the most intelligent professors on campus. Discussions were always lively, although appear as unchanged as the 1980-something syllabus (He will argue otherwise, but should thank the students, not himself for keeping up with the times). I am glad I got the privilege to learn from Ball and his wealth of knowledge, although his ancient, stubborn, and arrogant mentality inhibits his ability to make connections between political philosophy and current events, and thus, his teaching abilities diminish with each passing year. That and his consistent insinuation of smoking pot may have done some damage.


Junior
C
General Ed
Jun 2010
If you like hearing people rant/ramble, than this professor may be for you. His syllabus starts out with a standard 1-2 page paper but somehow he found enough \"discussion\" to turn it into one of the books you are required to buy in the course. If you really love philosophy for the innovation (like me) you won\'t enjoy this class. If however, you are knowledgeable about other philosophers and like talk about what THEY think, then Ball may satisfy you. Tests are standard Philosophy tests at Cal Poly, multiple choice. Possibly the worst format for a Philosophy test.

PHIL 335


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2012
Dr. Ball's class certainly is interesting, and if you're looking to fulfill a GE with a somewhat easy class (It's nearly impossible to get lower than a C if you show up 75% of the time and do the assignment) and an entertaining professor (Also nearly impossible to fall asleep while Dr. Ball is talking) When it comes to the course material, I'm skeptical of his effectiveness. He simply presents ethical theories in the exact way that he understands them, and does not give room for other student's/scholar's interpretations. If you disagree with him in class, be prepared for a barrage of Socratic questioning - which is intended not to educate, but rather to prove HIS point. Also, the man is arrogant. He's often referencing philosophical debates he had in Yosemite Hall, articles he's written, arguments he's won, and disparaging other academic departments and disciplines. In total I've heard him criticize the Ethnic Studies department, Religious Studies Departments, and the college of Engineering - he would claim that a student told him they were teaching something in some particular way, and then generalize and say "They're teaching these ideas in these classes" - without acknowledging that it could be a particular professor, or they could have revised methods since he received that comment. This is incredibly unprofessional, and it seems he is often disparaging others in order to inflate his own ego. Overall, I recommend his class as an easy GE, but if you want an engaging and critical class - I would choose another philosophy professor. Also - as a professor he's better in Political Philosophy than he is in Ethics.

LIB 722


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Nov 2016
This is the first C I have recieved in my entire life. I hope that says something to all of you out there watching their GPA. Do not take him--this class was a nightmare!