Question on assigned material: Starting on January 30 (session 3) and until May 1 (session 27) you are expected to submit questions on the assigned material, one per session. You can make a question on a single reading, or one that relates two or more readings/media resources in the same block. You must submit your questions to the SacCT course site. I will grade one question per block. There are four blocks, that means I’ll grade four of your questions (3 points each). In order to secure a good grade, you need to submit questions of consistently high quality. See “resources” for sample questions. IMPORTANT: The question will be selected randomly. I will randomly select one day, the same for everyone, and grade your question for that session. If there is no submission on the selected day, you will get 0 points for that block. Exceptions: You don’t have to submit a question on April 10 and April 12. Questions are evaluated on a 0/1/2/3 scale: 0: there is no question or the question is irrelevant. 1: the question is related to the readings but it doesn’t engage with the arguments; it shows misunderstanding of the reading or it deviates from the main ideas of the readings (e.g. it focuses on a marginal point, or it’s tangential). 2: the question engages with the argument; shows understanding of the material; points out the merits of the argument(s) or idea(s). 3: the question engages with the argument; shows understanding of the material; points out a problem with the argument, or proposes a counterexample, or suggest a future line of inquiry, or proposes an application of the argument(s) or main idea(s) to other domains or cases, or relates it to some other material discussed in class in an appropriate way.
(Surprise) Quizzes: Quizzes contain multiple-choice and short-answer questions. There is no established schedule for the quizzes, they could happen any day. There will be no make-up options (see “late submissions policy”). If you miss a class or arrive to class by the time the quiz is over, you do not earn any points. There are three quizzes during the semester.
Writing assignments: These are written exercises that you will do at home and submit through SacCT on their due date. 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 4 written assignments, worth 5 points max. each. See “resources” for rubric). example: Write a phone message exchange between René Descartes and Elisabeth of Bohemia (two messages from each, four messages total). Make sure the exchange reflects the class material and what we learned about their respective contributions to the debate about the nature of the mind. The exchange needs to show that each author defends a different philosophical position. Use any of the sites to generate fake phone messages, like this one: http://www.fakephonetext.com. Once you write the messages, click “download” at the bottom, then right click on top of the image (once on the new page), and “save as image”. Sampleshere.
Handout: You are expected to select a reading and develop a handout for it. The handout must summarize the argument of the reading. 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 2 mins), a collage … be creative! (samples of handouts will be made available). See sample handouts here.
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 the 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 (April 12) to share everyone’s field work reports. You will be expected to bring a report to class, in hard copy, containing your questions, the participants’ responses, and your conclusions. I will evaluate both your questions and reasoned conclusions. See "resources" for more instructions and rubric.
Group presentation: The class will be divided in groups of three, and each group will prepare a presentation. Groups will present at the end of the semester. See "resources" for instructions and rubric.
Participation: You do not learn 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. See "resources" for more details on how to get a good participation grade.
IMPORTANT: Participation also includes attendance and preparedness. If you miss several classes, you won’t earn any points for participation. If you come to class without having read the assigned material and/or do not participate in group activities, you’ll miss participation points.