The Responsible Citizen Seminar at PCC


Members of our community ...


Have you had it with oversimplified & manipulative political communication? 

Would you like to examine complex social issues in an atmosphere of respect & intelligence?   Then this seminar is for you.   It’s especially designed for busy, responsible citizens – take your pick of time and place:


   Monday evenings from 6:40-9:40 p.m. at PCC, starting February 23, 2009


 ● Thursday evenings from 6:40-9:40 p.m. at PCC starting February 26, 2009


        This special class, offered as part of PCC’s spring semester, provides citizen-thinkers with practical tools to help them meet the awesome challenges they face in the 21st Century.  Each participant will focus on a major public policy issue of interest to him/her, and will practice applying a variety of ethical decision making tools to better analyze this issue. 

             These tools include: argument analysis, research skills, handling informational complexity, examining cultural & psychological influences on political decision-making, and becoming acquainted with some major ethical theories from the Western and non-Western traditions. 

             Finally, participants will work together in groups and build on each other’s strengths, so that they can better confront the “mess” that is our geo-political environment.  Seminars will also include a special research tutorial at PCC’s Shatford Library and visits from guest faculty members.  For busy, working adults who are concerned about the potential workload, they can take the course for a “credit/no credit” designation.  

             Tuition for the class is $73. The seminar is facilitated by Dr. Linda Handelman, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College.


“A great experience–philosophically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally!” M.K.


“What a blessing to have civil discourse about a host of prickly topics among a

varying group of once-total strangers!  Thanks to Dr. Linda Handelman.”  J.S.


Enlightening Discussions

++ Guest Speakers, Congeniality & Snacks



    “We live in a pro-and-con world and this course provides the discipline to examine both sides of issues with marvelous results.”  G.S.


                         “The eclectic mixture of students and professionals made for

                                     an enriching and unique learning environment.” M.V.


      Class size is limited.  Although the class is also available to PCC students, we are making a special effort to reach out to responsible citizens from the community.  If you think you might be interested in participating or if you have any questions, please contact us as soon as possible and we will reserve a space for you for our Spring Semester class.   


Call Dr. Handelman’s office: (626) 585-7406 or

email philosopher_citizen@hotmail.com



Text Box: The Philosopher-Citizen Institute
Text Box: More Comments from Participants 

     “Dr. Handelman's course gives you the tools to examine issues from a variety of philosophical viewpoints and stresses the importance of evaluating and understanding arguments from both sides.  There’s no ridiculing, no shouting-matches, no confrontations – very different from debates in which aggressive, outspoken, opinionated, charismatic people tend to dominate and assert biased arguments.  If that's what you want to see, watch Jerry Springer. But if you want to participate in thought-provoking and enlightening discussions of important issues, then you will enjoy the Philosopher-Citizen programs.”  C.B.

     “The course itself proved to be a challenge, especially since we had to learn how to have constructive discussions with people of many different personalities, cultures and political perspectives.  I look forward to the day when this type of course is offered throughout the country, as it will surely serve a fundamental need in our society to help citizens make better decisions about social issues.”  R.H.

     “In this age of apathy and cynicism and feeling like one’s voice or vote will not make even the slightest difference in the decision-making process, along comes an inspired and insightful class of philosophy which gives one the narrowest of hope that indeed we can make an impact on some of the socio-political challenges of the day.”  B.B.

      “During the class, my group focused on media issues: truth and fairness in reporting, the deeper psychological influences of films and advertising, & the effects of increased exposure to violence and sex via mass media.  We were amazed to discover how these issues led us to confront so many other issues – criminal justice, our rights as citizens, and our relation to the world as a whole.  I feel that I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this class.  We as a society would benefit greatly from more programs like this one.”  C.S.

     “This class is a must-take for all those who long to get the “splinters” out of their minds.  Not only has it expanded my biased viewpoints, it also left me wondering about the essence of humanity as a whole.”  K.R.

      “Participating in the Responsible-Citizen Seminar was a powerful experience for me.  I came to class with a troubling community issue on my mind.  I had made little progress in addressing the issue.  As a result of the course assignment (to present both sides of an issue without taking a position), perspective and even compassion replaced my previous anger and frustration regarding this issue.  To participate effectively and relevantly, we  need skills – the Responsible-Citizen Seminar helps its participants build the skills that every citizen needs.”  J.M.

        “This class is as close to an Aristotelian gathering as you are likely to find.  Truth is the touchstone; civility is the rule.  The class has forced me to use my mind in ways that are unusual and uncomfortable.  I am an advocate by training and opinionated by nature.  I can’t say that I will become a non-partisan participant in all future discussions, but I have learned how to communicate with people with whom I disagree without anger (most of the time) and that issues, especially deeply held moral issues, are never simple.  Having participated in these discussions and exercises has given me some hope that the great human divisions may be bridged by good will and honest thinking.”  F.G.