In-class writing exercises: These are short (100-200 words) written exercises we’ll do in class. You will be asked to answer one or two questions or write a response to the assigned reading for the day. In order to do well on these exercises, you need to do the readings and make sure you understand them. There will be no make-up options for these exercises (see the late submissions policy below). If you miss a class or arrive to class by the time the exercise is over, you do not earn any points.
There are 15 in-class exercises, worth 1.5 point each. I’ll drop the two lowest-scoring exercises. You can earn a maximum of 19.5 points total on these exercises. See the “Rubrics” folder for details on how these exercises are graded).
Writing assignments: These are written exercises (maximum 300 words) that you will do at home and submit through SacCT on their due date. Starting week 3, there are written assignments due every week, sometimes twice a week. In order to do well on these exercises, you need to understand the readings and the material discussed in class during the preceding sessions. Pay attention to the schedule and make sure you do not miss the deadlines. There will be no make-ups (see the late submission policy below).
There are 10 written assignments, worth 3 points max. each (see the “Rubrics” folder for details on how these exercises are graded).
Handout: You are expected to select a reading and develop a handout for it. The handout must summarize the argument of the reading. Ideally, it will also include questions challenging the argument or expanding it. Format: it can be regular structured prose (up to one two-sided page), a mental map, a comic strip, a song (up to 2 mins), an animation (up to 2mins), a collage … be creative! (samples of handouts will be made available).
Video Report: Check SacCT for details.
Short Paper: You will write a short paper on the self and personal identity. The paper will describe some event or situation and argue whether or not, and if so how, that event or situation is relevant to the self and personal identity.
Your paper must contain:
Note: writing assignment 1 (due 02/09) is designed to help you prepare for this paper.
Field work: You need to prepare two questions that will help you figure out someone’s approach to the mind (e.g. whether they are a dualist, identity-theorist, functionalist, materialist), without directly asking, e.g., “are you a dualist?”. These questions could take form of thought experiments combined with requests for personal intuitions about it. You need to survey at least two people who are not enrolled in this class (e.g. friends, relatives), and analyze their responses to determine which theory of the mind best reflects their intuitions (you need to give reasons for your conclusion, appealing to class material). We’ll hold a class session to share everyone’s “field reports”. You will be expected to bring a report, in hard copy, containing your questions, the participants’ responses, and your conclusions. I will evaluate both your questions and reasoned conclusions.
Phil 153: Philosophy of Mind - Spring 2017
Group presentation: The class will be divided in groups of three, and each group will prepare a presentation on one of the arguments or theories covered in class. Groups will present at the end of the semester. More details about group presentations will be provided in class and made available through the course site.
Participation: Taking a philosophy course is not like watching TV or going through your social media feed. You do not master philosophy and come to understand complex arguments simply by passively soaking up what happens around you in the classroom. In order to learn, you need to take an active role in processing the course material.
If you think you can do well in this course by working alone at home, without participating in class, please consider the following: Respectful and constructive discussion is a critical part to learning and becoming a good thinker. The pathway to good ideas and well-formed arguments is usually not a lonely one, but one filled with contributions and insights from others, sometimes in the form of challenges and questions, sometimes in the form of suggestions or comments. It is important to keep in mind that in this course, and in many others, you can learn not only from the texts and from me, but also from your classmates. Class discussions are a good opportunity to learn from classmates and to practice your own argumentative skills. It is also a way to initiate collaborative projects.
Participation will be evaluated on two parameters: relevance and quality. There is a maximum of 0.5 of a point per class, and a total of 10 points you can earn for participation. There are two participation formats: speaking in class, and writing your questions/comments and handing them to me at the end of class. Written participation contributions that were not handed to me at the end of each class will not be considered. If you feel uncomfortable speaking in class, come talk to me about it. I might help you with that. Check HERE for more information on how to get a good participation grade.