Bethel, Walt  

Philosophy

2.29/4.00

45 evaluations


PHIL 125


Freshman
C
General Ed
Apr 2000
I thought this was difficult course. Bethel expected us to really get to know the subject (critical thinking). He is pretty easy to talk to and he doesn't seem to mind answering questions. I didn't work hard enough at the beginning and I had to make up for it by studying really hard and being really focused. The tests aren't bad if you keep up with homework and the lectures. If critical thinking doesn't come naturally be prepared to work hard.

PHIL 230


Freshman
B
Elective
Aug 2001
Bethel really knew what he was talking about. I got the impression that he had taught this class MANY times before. His lecture is well thought out, his quizzes/tests are not all too hard, and his notes are good. Essentially, if you pay attention to what he says in class and write down what he writes down, you can pass the class without reading much of the material. The only down-side is that he doesn't answer many questions during class, and those he does he doesn't answer clearly. However, if you pay attention in class and read the material, it should be clear enough to not need to ask many questions.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
It's obvious that Bethel knows his subject very well, and he's good at communicating it in a clear and concise manner. Grades fairly. Some of the books were very thickly written, and his lectures were a big help.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Nov 1999
Dr. Bethel truly cared about what he taught and if his students were learning. His lectures were good explanations of some difficult reading. Bethel has a positive attitude and is always in a humorous mood. I would have to say he has been one of my favorite teachers since my time here. When you plan to take this class, plan to take Bethel.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 1999
Bethel really knows his stuff. He's very good at answering theoretical questions (like, "What would Descartes say about [enter empiricist dogma here]?") from the viewpoint of the classical philosphers. He really wants his students to learn. Occasionally, he'll ask the quiz question and, if no one has any idea what the answer is, he'll toss it out and just begin his lecture with an explanation. There's a fair amount of memorization in his class, definitions, particular arguments, replies, etc., but he covers all of it in class. His quizzes are very short answer, and he has one every couple of days. His tests are primarily scantron with 4 or 5 short answer questions (just like the quizzes). I would recommend him to anyone, but especially to those who have a real interest in philosophy.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Nov 2000
Professor Bethel is definitely one of the best professor I have had at Cal Poly. His ability to explain concepts and materials is awesome and he's so cute with his "jokes". I totally recommend him. His tests were very easy if you go to class and take notes. There were quizzes but they were very easy (even if you don't do your readings) cuz they're pretty much from the notes.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Mar 2001
Overall, Bethel was a very fair teacher. Im not much on philosophy, but he made the class much better. He explains difficult material in a way that is much clearer. He has frequent quizzes, and for people like me who dont read every night they will hurt your grade. As long as you keep up on the reading, and understand it to some degree youll be fine. He gives only three choices on his multiple choice sections of his tests which is nice, but two of the answers are very similar, and for that reason i suggest you have a clear understanding of what's what going into the exam. If you need to take philosophy Bethel isnt a bad choice.


Junior
A
General Ed
Apr 2001
I WOULD RECOMMEND BETHEL TO MY FRIENDS. He wasn't ALL THAT, but he was cool. Don't blow off his quizes! If I would have taken them more seriously, I would had recieved an A instead of an A- in the class. I strongly reccomend doing the reading up through Genarro. Once you get to Hume, I don't think the reading is as important, since Hume can get rather confusing. I didn't read all of Hume, and I aced all test quesstions pertaining to him.


Junior
B
General Ed
Jun 2001
Bethel talks as if he has an egg stuck in his throat...if you know a good med student you should refer him cause that can't be healthy. He failed to give a straight answer to every question I asked him all quarter, and what's more, he took offense to some of my questions, such as, "has there ever been a good argument in philosophy," and, "what's the point of all this?" He is an extremely boring guy who doesn't bring any good into your life and not only makes philosophy a chore (which it is for most people), but uses the time to inflate his own ego. Instead, why don't you consider going out of your way to take Walker? I hear good things about him.


Freshman
C
General Ed
Aug 2001
I'll admit I struggled with this course It was some pretty hard material. You know it's stuff you don't talk about on an everyday basis, like is there a god, are we really living? Weird stuff. BUT Bethel, was awesome. Hes an older guy, old fashioned, but funny as hell if you go for the dry sense of humor type. Hes full of jokes and stories, but can really get the information across. There is a lot of reading in this class. You read every night, and then he gives 12 pop quizzes, and drops two. He's got two midterms, and a final. They are pretty difficult and the final is over the whole quarter. Lots of memorization, but there is a lot of stuff that you just got to understand to. But you gotta take it, so take it with him! Hes great. Bethel gets an "A" in my book.


Junior
B
General Ed
Sep 2001
Bethel doesn't directly look at his students. Instead, he will look over everyone and write on the chalkboard as though he were above us all. Once you get to Hume, don't bother reading.


Junior
A
General Ed
Oct 2001
Dude - Bethel rocks! His jokes are so stupid you can't help but laugh, and his writing is cool just to look at. He gives pop quizzes, which are REALLY easy. Exams are just like the lectures. It's good to keep up with the reading so you can follow along with what he says. If you're willing to put just a little effort in, you'll get either an A or a B. (And he curves!)


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2001
Dr.Bethel isn't the best teacher. I don't really like his teaching style because his voice is so low and soft that make you fall asleep in class. I wouldn't recomment phil 230 to anybody if they want to take him. He doens't make the class interesting. I believe phil can be an interesting class but he doesn't make it interesting. His tests are 40 multiple choices questions and 5 short anwers which are 8 points each.. They are hard therefore I wouldn't recomment him to anybody.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
Mar 2002
Bethel was a nice guy, but philosophy is one of those subjects that you either get or you don't. With Bethel, if you dont understand it you're screwed. I went to class and studied but did not do well on his tests or quizzes. I also went to his office hour, but he doesnt really help. He knows the material that he teaches well, but his lectures are boring. I thought that the class was difficult and time consuming, but the people that understood the material thought that his class was fairly easy. If you fail the first couple pop quizzes drop the class before it is too late. All I have to say is "D" for done.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Mar 2002
Bethel's class doesnt requiere that much work, but lots of reading!!! Lots of boring boring reading... so if you're someone who never reads... i wouldnt take him. although he usually goes over the reading in class to help you understand. There is no writing assignments or essays, just 2 midterms and the final, plus 10 pop quizzes( which are usually directly from the previous days lecture) This class was really hard to sit through, and i could never handle more than 50 minutes of it without falling asleep! Take bethel at your own risk.


Junior
N/A
General Ed
May 2002
This is the end of my third year at this school and until this quater I had not run into a professor who is so in need of retirment as this man. He thinks he is funny - he is not. He has office hours- he does not help. I have managed as a result of endless hours of studying to get 2 D's on both tests and really can not wait to see what this cumulative final has in store for me. I hate this class and this teacher. It is a waste of units, and when I interview for jobs next year I am certain that no one will give a shit what grade I got in lower division PHILOSOPHY


Freshman
B
General Ed
Jul 2002
I hope I will never finish another class with the same feelings as I did with this class. Not only I haven`t gained anything from this class, but I can`t even describe this class because I don`t remember anything! As for Dr Bethel, he just makes things worst by not bothering whether the students are listening to him or not. Even if only one person is listening to him, he will just continue giving the lecture! Avoid the class, but if you have to take it, find a professor who cares about the students` education. It`s easy to get a good grade with Bethel, but you get it because the guy just wants to get over with it. I didn`t deserve the grade I got for this class (B+...I should get a lower grade), but the class didn`t deserve the money I paid either. I don`t know about you guys, but I am not paying to "buy" my degree or my education; I am paying to learn. Bethel doesn`t help you to learn, but he just gives a good break between classes. If you take this class with him, make sure the class has comfortable chairs, because you will have a lot of...sleeping to do.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Jul 2002
Professor Bethel is a truly nice guy. You can tell he is really interested in philosophy, but that doesn't neccessarily make the class interesting, but that's coming from someone not at all interested in the subject. He is very straightforward and VERY willing to help you at his office hours, making himself very available to help. He has 3 tests that aren't bad, study hard and make flashcards. He does make a lot of dry jokes that make you feel kind of bad for him when no one laughs, so laugh if you can! I would recommend him if you have to take philosophy.


Freshman
D
General Ed
Aug 2002
WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!! This man needs to be retired! His class lectures are contradicting to what he asks on his tests. Therefore even if you study and memeorize the notes, on the tests what you think is the right answer will be always wrong. He is not helpfull at all either when you go to office hours. He is the most boring man alive, and you will want to commit suicide after hearing your first lecture. I was even able to grab a hold of a old mid-term from the previous quarter to help me study, and it turned out the material was so opposite from what I had learned that of course I got a D on both midterms. Hes a real jack ass who just wants to fail as many students as possible just to fuck up their GPA. He's not understanding or compassionate to any students needs.


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2002
Professor Bethel's class is the worst class I have taken at Cal Poly. His lectures were very boring and made absolutley no sense. And if you like to take notes in class, good luck. He loves to start in the middle of the chalk board and then add stuff on all around it. So essentially you have to start your notes in the middle of the page. The only thing I understood throughout the whole quarter is that he loves cats. He cannot stop talking about them. I have not learned anything about philosophy in this class.


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jan 2003
Bethel is the MOST straightforward professor I've ever had. I wasn't too interested in the material, but he will write everything you need to know for the test on the board during lecture. I read Phaedo, and really nothing else(it only hurt me on the quizzes). I aced the test, anyone can, I'm not an A student. Take notes, go to class, and only study the broad points of the notes. I have reccommended this class to all of my friends.


Freshman
C
General Ed
Mar 2003
II got a C in this class, and I actually LIKE philosophy. Bethel is in serious need of retirement! He talks so softly, it surprised me so much on my first day of class, and his jokes are awful. But anyway, back to the class. My biggest complaint is that philosophy IS NOT memorization, which is what this class requires. I thought that philosophy would involve some thinking of my own, but I guess I was mistaken. Bethel tells you what to think, and if you voice a new opinion of your own, he will shoot you down. Also, I felt a bit uneasy voicing some of my opinions in the class because he seems to be very religious guy who will not hear anything about the idea that there might not be a god. During the section on Materialism, he basically skimmed over the arguments for it, and proceeded to bash Materialism with arguments that we not even in the reading. Another thing, SO much reading for this class it is unreal. Some nights I spent 2+ hours reading. After a while, I said screw this and stopped. But yeah, my biggest complaint is all he wanted was regurgitated information and no new thoughts. THAT IS NOT WHAT PHILOSOPHY IS ABOUT. Do not take his class unless you are an excellent memorizer


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Mar 2003
Ok, I am not trying to simply flame Bethel, but by all means avoid him!! If you need this class for the GE, wait till another quarter when you can take it from someone else. He does not understand how to communicate with students - his best effort were some very poor jokes, mostly aimed at himself (whom he would refer to in the third person - "Bethel, your so funny." Became a little creepy at points). I would frequently go to him after class, asking how to improve, etc, and he was constantly telling me how much he admired my efforts - yet gave me no help whatsoever. He once told me the breakdown of the exam, in great detail, and when I actually got the test it was almost completely different. He has 3 exams, including the final, and gives 12 quizes (10 counted) which is worth about a 1/4 of your grade. The quizes are far from easy - in fact, you will only get a 6/10 if you get the answer correct. He wants you to literally regurgitate the answer, using his words (I once asked why I did not receive full credit, and he said he was looking for a specific word - not a term, just a different adjective!). I took this class since it filled my GE requirement, and since I have taken philosophy and english before and done well, thought it would be fairly easy, if not interesting. I ended up sacrificing better grades in other courses just so I could pull a C in this one. DO NOT TAKE HIM!


Junior
C
General Ed
Apr 2003
Like everyone else says, He thinks he's funny and annoys you with obvious moronic punning and then insults the whole class for "not getting it" when no one laughs. WE GET IT, ITS NOT FUNNY! His quiz format is insane. He gives you a 6/10 for the correct answer. Then he claims that 6/10 isn't that bad. If you want to get by in his class, just memorize what he says in lecture and vomit the same crap on the quiz. His tests have three to four answers multiple choice and LITERALLY two to three of the answers could be right; its just Russian Roulette with this guy's tests. If you get stuck with him just kiss his ass, laugh at his jokes, regurgitate his answers, and pray for your soul.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Jun 2003
I really don't understand why so many people hate Bethel. I was a bit scared after reading these reviews but there is nothing to worry about. I went to class everyday, wrote down whatever he wrote on the board, studied a little, and got an A. And yeah, he isn't the most funny guy, but I kinda liked him and his self-deprecating jokes. I felt Bethel presented the material pretty clearly. Do the reading for Plato and Descartes but after that, if you don't understand the readings, don't bother to read them. I read the Sparknotes, but probably didn't need to; Bethel explains them clearly in class the next day. I couldn't seem to get it through my head to study what we went over in class for the day because the quizzes were almost always on material we had covered in class. It's really simple if you learn this right away. Memorize your vocabulary. Really not a bad teacher at all.


Freshman
Credit
General Ed
Aug 2003
All I can say is there has to be better philosophy teachers out there. I didn't go to polyratings before i registered, and made a huge mistake. He is pretty boring, and a lot of the material on the test wasn't dicussed in class. The notes you take and study are sometimes rarely on the test. I was suprised to pass this class. There has to be a better teacher for this class.


Freshman
B
General Ed
Aug 2003
There is no way to describe how awful this class was. Bethel does not explain things very well and its basically him up there lecturing the whole time. when someone asks him a question he does not answer it but says, "no that's wrong" and moves on. He does not explain WHY its wrong and this discourages class involvement. Its very difficult to pay attnetion to him because of this frustrating style of lecture. consequently the notes he writes on the board are what you end up writing down. And, come test time, these notes make NO sense whatsoever. Its also frustrating during the pop quizes when he doesn't pay attention to the students. more than half the class cheated by keeping their notes out and writing the answers out of them. I wouldn't mind except that the quizes are curved. the curve helps your grade b/c everyone does horribly, brings it up a whole letter grade approximately. if you take bethel, i have only two words for you--Good Luck!!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Dec 2003
I really don't think Bethel is that bad of a guy. This is an easy class at a sophomore level. What I mean by that is, once you have a few units under your belt, this shouldn't be that hard of a class, but if it's your first class at poly, ever, then it may be daunting. He tries really hard to be entertaining, and I appreciate that, even if he isn't alltogether too funny (the funniest thing he said all year was when he made a little joke, nobody laughed, and he followed that with "that's the joke for today" and the whole class busted up). At least he tries -- and as folks get into school a little further, they'll be appreciative of that. My advice would be NOT to take this class your very first quarter at poly because it has a college-level workload and most of you will not quite be ready for that yet. Wait a little while. Screw the flowchart. Give Bethel his due -- he's not going out of his way to screw you over.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Apr 2004
Some don't, but I really liked bethel and his class, I thought he did a good job overall and he has great intentions, for me he was great and if u like lecture and scantron then hes a must - there were some short answer quizzes but we got the answers from ppl in the class before us - overall a great class and prof.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Nov 2004
Professor Bethel presents the material, expectations and grading feedback in a very clear manner. In order to succeed in his class, you must follow the assigned readings because he gives pop quizzes over nightly readings a few times per week. He always provides comments on the quizzes to help you figure out what was correct and what you need to study. Also, he drops two quizzes at the end of the quarter. He is always open to questions and will continue to provide examples and answers until you understand. There are two midterms and one final which are not overly difficult if you attend lectures and take time to study using the guides he provides in his lecture booklet. Do the reading and attend class and you will be fine. (sparknotes.com is helpful to clarify the readings, but don't rely only on that.)


Sophomore
D
General Ed
Dec 2004
Bethel was a nice guy. And his method of teaching worked well for a lot of people, I just was not one of those people. The readings are hard to follow, and there is no review done on the reading before you are quizzed on it. The quizzes he gave, I found to be extremely difficult. the whole class is based on your 10 highest quiz grades, 2 midterms and a final. The quizes are a single question which you answer in short answer or essay form. Some of the time I could hardly connect the question with the reading I did the night before, which made the quizes very difficult. His quizzes are based entirely on the reading, but after the quiz has taken place is when he lectures on the quiz answer. The exams are difficult, but the practice exams help a lot. Halfway through the quarter I went to speak to him about my status in the class ( at which point I had a D), and asked if I had a shot at getting a C, which he said would be tough but possible. I wish I had withdrew at that point, because now it feels like I wasted a lot of time doing all that studying and reading when the end result was a D-, that I worked hard for. I dont mean to say hes impossible, just he may not be the best professor to take if you are not very good with philosophy. Bethel was a nice guy, and was very aware of the fact that I was working hard( in fact he even mentioned it), just his class was more difficult for me than for everyone else. Basically I worked damn hard for that D-. Good luck for those who have him. Hes a nice guy, just not for everyone,


Sophomore
N/A
Elective
Jan 2005
I liked the way he presented the material. He was really clear and concise.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Mar 2005
Bethel is a really good teacher. He made the class interesting and really helped me learn. My best advice is to really go over the practice exams he gives you and do the reading.


Junior
No Credit
General Ed
Dec 2005
not the kind of professor i would take if this was ur first GE class. pop quizzes based on if you UNDERSTOOD the material, not just read it. so watch out for those. dont JUST rely on the practice exams in his workbook. i memorized ALL OF IT and the most i could get was a C-. you should deifintely know what to prepare for. if i knew how to preapre for this class earlier, i probably would have gotten credit for it. lectures get kinda boring but he is honestly a nice guy.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Apr 2007
ok at the beginning of the course i was really not looking forward to the class because i personally dont like philosophical topics and find it confusing and not interesting. after doing a few readings and being totally lost and failing most of the pop quizzes (he gives 12 pop quizzes through the whole quarter on the readings and these arent just questions that show you read you have to have understood the reading) i really hated it ...BUT at the end i realized bethel does this so that you actually READ and understand philosophy because youll never understand unless you read thoroughly...the midterms aren't hard at all he gives you practice midterms which have a lot of the same similar questions and they are multiple choice, matching, and have some short answers. i worked sooo hard to get an a in this class mostly because a 5 page reading would take almost an hour...but it was very rewarding and bethel is VERY helpful...if you email him a question he'll answer it in great detail and help you understand anything from the reading. take bethel to learn philosophy and take it from me its not impossible to ge an A!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jan 2008
This guy is great, although his jokes are a bit lame, he turns out to be a great teacher and a nice guy. The class was easy, 12 quizes (2 lowest dropped), 2 midterms, and a final. The final quiz grades were curved, along with all tests and the class. I found the subject to be pretty easy, just really boring. For Plato and Descartes I actually bothered to read the material since it wasn't that hard, followed by the spark notes which really give you a good understanding. This way the quizzes become much easier. The tests were also very easy, he provides you with practice tests for the midterms and final, which are very similar to the actual tests (some questions are even the same). So, as long as you review these you should have no problem. If you're not into doing the readings you can get by on just reading the spark notes for the quizzes, since the goes over all of the readings (after the quiz) in great detail and makes you clearly and distinctly understand it.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2008
He's clear, concise, and easy to follow. His lectures are interesting, and I learned a lot about philosophy. His quizzes are pretty easy if you read the material, and so are the midterms. He is a really nice person also. I think he's the best philosophy professor at Cal Poly. It's too bad he's retiring.

PHIL 231


Junior
B
General Ed
Jan 2002
He's old, boring, and thinks he's funny. And he wonders why he doesn't get much class participation. Most likely because many of them are asleep. Read the material, he gives pop quizzes to make sure you keep up on the material.

PHIL 330


Freshman
B
General Ed
Oct 2001
Bethel was overall a good professor. He explained things well enough in class that reading the boring books for the class wasn't neccessary. I did almost no work outside of class and got a B. I would reccomend the course to anyone. One tings though, he needs to get some new jokes....

PHIL 331


Junior
A
Elective
Aug 2001
This guy was an all-around great prof. He clearly understood his subject and fielded any and all questions regarding the topic matter (ethics is the class). He has a good personality and a relaxing sense of humor. He has a very approachable feel to him. Material was thoroughly covered in class and I rarely needed to touch the textbooks. Tests were mostly multiple choice and grading was fair. He can be a little too nitpicky with his comments on submitted work, but it doesn't detract from the quality of education or grading.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Aug 1999
Walt is a really nice guy. His tests are nuts. However there is no need to read the text book in his class because it makes no sense anyway. Ethics fulfills a C.3 requirement but Bethel just goes over theories. Other profs that teach this class try to make the subject interesting but not old Walt. I strongly recommend that Walt's class be avoided unless you are interesting in theories of ethics.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Mar 2000
I just happened to take this class because I needed another C3. I was a little worried about an upper division philosophy class, but this turned out to be one of the best classes I've taken at Poly. Dr. Bethel really cares about his students and his grading is extremely fair. His lectures are interesting and the tests fairly represent the material covered, with no surprises. Furthermore, unlike many of the professors here, he is actually IN his office during office hours! I highly recommend this professor, I wish there were more classes I could take with him.

PHIL 333


Junior
B
General Ed
Dec 1999
Bethel is a really nice guy. Conveys subject matter very clearly and even in a two day a week hour and a half class (Political Philosophy) kept things fairly interesting. My only problem with him is he can be nitpicky with essay (grammar and such). Otherwise, I recommend him.


Sophomore
A
Elective
Dec 2000
Coming into this class, I had prior experience with Bethel, thats probably what helped me do so well. Here's what I learned; most everything on his tests (99%) he wrote on the board at some time during class. If you take carefull notes on what he writes down, and study them, you'll probably do fairly well. Be warned though, his tests aren't easy in the slightest. It is also important to come to class, because he gives out simple quizes (not always simple) in the beginning of most classes. As for his teaching style, he comes across clear and is always ready to answer questions. If you aren't interested in the subject, you might be inclined to sleep. Bethels class is challenging, and though he does curve, A's are rather hard to come by.

SPAN 899


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Nov 2016
During this entire quarter all I could think about was how this professor reminded me of that small little dog that runs through the back of scene 23 in The Incredibles by Pixar. Seriously, if you look it up you will only be able to see it...