Spring 2017 - TL;DR: even philosophy majors say this is their least favorite philosophy class. Do not take. I read many reviews about how Hsu is hard to follow, how no one attends lecture, how TA's can grade harshly, etc. All of it is true. I did every single reading, yet could not follow Hsu's lectures at all, and would almost always end up falling asleep. Went to every single discussion (which they claim will allow them to boost your grade b/c good participation), went for help on my essays, yet still got a 77 and a 74 on both essays. Ended with a B-, no grade bump. It's ridiculous. The material is honestly not interesting, the lectures suck, discussion is pointless, and all your efforts end for naught. Do not take this class. A GE is supposed to be an interesting grade boost, and this satisfied neither.
Look, it's my fault. I should've read the comments before taking his class, but dear Lord. Hsu is a masterful speaker, and listening to him speak is like listening to your mother sing you a lullaby before bed as a child. He would make a great poet. But he is a professor and his job is not to sing his students to sleep. He throws a tidal wave of extremely complex information at you, and his words tends to blend together into long whimsical tangents that take more concentration than brain surgery to follow. Even then,I can't be sure I'm not hallucinating about what was just said. Getting one of these hallucinations clarified is like pulling teeth. He runs around in circles spouting off claims he hopes will satisfy you into just giving up on asking anything further. Just nod your head and accept his "answers" or he will stare at you with his classic "have I satisfied your question yet because I don't know how much more I can repeat myself" look. He is obviously prepared for lectures, but being prepared to him, is being prepared to give a lecture to himself. His expectations seem to be that all of his students should be at, at the very least, a graduate level in terms of philosophizing. I'm up for a challenge, and that's what I expect out of a UCLA curriculum, I just feel like Hsu would be much more effective and less dreaded by students if chose to base his classes on more straightforward material, because although he may grasp Wittgenstein, he cannot explain him with any straightforward precision. The mere mention of Hsu's name around his previous students sets off a chain reaction of groans followed by the shaking off heads followed by "I will never take him again." If this hasn't scared you out of taking him, then good. You are probably one of the few students who can handle his upper div courses. And he is genuinely an awesome and unique dude.