WRITING STYLES IN PHILOSOPHY       Spring 2014

Dr. Christine A. James

 

PHIL 4800 A   Writing Styles in Philosophy   CRN 20829

TR 5:00-6:15pm in WH 104 

 

This syllabus is available online, and may be updated, at http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/WSIPSpring2014.html

 

Office: 1203 Ashley Hall

Office Hours: MTWR 3:30pm-4:45pm and after classes and by appointment as needed.

Telephone:  259-7609 

Mailbox:  Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Office, Ashley Hall First Floor North Side

Fax:  259-5011

E-mail address: chjames@valdosta.edu

 

Course content: This course provides an introduction to various writing styles in philosophy.  Dr. James began researching this topic as part of her work with the Writing Across the Curriculum group.  Following the work of philosophers like Laura Duhan Kaplan, we will find that there are a variety of writing styles that many undergraduates can benefit from studying: literary narratives, metaphors, personal philosophical autobiographies, and philosophical biographies.  We will examine these writing styles and consider how they relate to philosophical issues such as consciousness, awareness, literary styles, and critical styles. This is a reading intensive course, so it will require you to read, think about, and write about a considerable amount of material.

 

Requirements:  Class participation and attendance, two written examinations, two papers, a “Point Person” class day for each student, and various Blazeview assignments and discussions.  Pop Reading Quizzes may also be given during the semester.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

In accordance with the revised learning outcomes for the Core Curriculum of the Georgia State System, and the VSU Core Curriculum, our course follows the Area C Learning Outcome:

"Students will analyze, evaluate, and interpret diverse forms of human communication."

(In the past, Philosophy courses at Valdosta State University contributed to the VSU General Education Outcomes listed at the link below, with special emphasis on numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8.

http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/VSUGeneralEducationOutcomes.shtml )

 

The Learning Outcomes for our PHIL 4800 on Writing Styles in Philosophy are:

1. To understand the distinctions among the various writing styles involved in expressing philosophical concepts.

2. To recognize how philosophical inquiry applies to ‘real-world’ circumstances and to individual written narratives.

3. To become conversant with the history of philosophy as it relates to personal philosophical autobiography, touching on social issues such as feminism and racism. 

4. To recognize and define different world views, adopting a reasonably viable one and justifying it in a philosophically informed way that emphasizes critical reasoning and argument.

5.  To demonstrate the ability to discuss, in both oral and written discourse, the philosophical issues explored in the course.

6.  To be familiar with what academic philosophy is, and to understand how it can be applied to daily life as well as specific careers.

Members of the faculty in Philosophy and Religious Studies have verified that these outcomes are in line with the outcomes of the course as it is taught at peer institutions in the State System of Georgia.

These course-specific learning outcomes contribute to the departmental learning outcomes of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Major by enabling students better to

1. Explain and analyze central issues, topics, and philosophers in the history of philosophy, from the ancient to the modern periods.
2. Write and speak critically and logically, applying various theories to specific cases and examples.
3. Explain their own value system, evaluating their values in the context of a diverse range of ideas that inform contemporary controversies and social conflict.
4. Create independent philosophical research, synthesizing a variety of sources, including traditional primary philosophical texts and secondary source
commentaries.
5. Demonstrate a working familiarity with current research methods, citation styles, and presentation techniques.

All learning outcomes will be evaluated via formative and summative assessments, including research papers, formal presentations in class including verbal expression and Powerpoint presentations, and written work in Blazeview including Discussion postings, Assignment attachments of Word .doc or .docx format, and Assessment quizzes.

 

 

Required Texts:

 

Please note that many of our readings will be available free in Blazeview. The five books listed below are the ones you should plan to actually buy:

 

Categories of Philosophical Writing:

 

An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy) Paperback

by Søren Overgaard (Author) , Paul Gilbert  (Author) , Stephen Burwood  (Author)

25.75

Series: Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy

Paperback: 245 pages

Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 7, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0521175984

ISBN-13: 978-0521175982

 

Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, 2nd Edition Paperback

by Zoltan Kovecses

22.46

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 2e edition (March 12, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0195374940

ISBN-13: 978-0195374940

 

Philosophical Autobiography:

 

In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun: The Autobiography of a Japanese Feminist (Weatherhead Books on Asia) [Paperback]

Hiratsuka Raicho (Author), Teruko Craig (Translator)

26.60

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 30, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 023113813X

ISBN-13: 978-0231138130

 

Philosophical Biography:

 

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

by D. T. Max 

12.19

Publisher: Penguin Books (August 27, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0147509726

ISBN-13: 978-0147509727

 

Philosophically Informed Fiction:

 

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (Vintage Contemporaries)

by Rebecca Goldstein

10.99

Publisher: Vintage (February 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0307456714

ISBN-13: 978-0307456717

 

 

Be sure to do the reading before the class for which it is assigned. Please bring the relevant book(s) and/or article(s) with you to class, along with a designated notebook and some pens.

 

            (In addition, Philosophy and Religious Studies faculty encourage you to use Andrea A. Lunsford, St. Martin’s Handbook, 5th ed. which was required in ENGL 1101 and 1102 courses. These books are available for purchase at the VSU Bookstore. The St. Martin’s Handbook is shelved under ENGL 1101 and 1102.)

 

How grades will be calculated:

 

A          = 100 - 90%                              Class participation, attendance = 20%

B          = 89 - 80%                                2 Exams at 10% each = 20%

C          = 79 - 70%                                2 Papers at 20% each = 40%

D          = 69 - 60%                                Point Person Day = 20%

F          = 59 - 0%                                Total = 100%

 

Please note that I am not obligated to accept late work or to allow “make up” work after the date an assignment or exam or paper is completed by the other members of the class.

I also make no promises about extra credit items, although I will routinely announce events on campus that can result in some extra credit points for you.

 

Exams and Papers: The exams in our class will be “short answer” written exams.  Usually I ask six questions and a complete answer should be no less than four complete sentences.  These exams are “objective” in the sense that the answers can be directly related to class discussions and the textbook.  Reading and participating in class are important for your exam grades.  The papers involve more creative and independent thinking.  The papers should be no less than five pages long, double spaced, in a standard 12 point font like Times/ Times New Roman.  Expect to use the text and cite it with a consistent citation scheme (refer to theSt. Martin’s Handbook you use in your English classes).  “Use direct quotes!”  Don’t use plastic paper covers, just a staple is fine.  The ability to write and edit well-constructed academic essays is an important skill that will come in handy throughout your college career and beyond. Again, these papers must be typed, double-spaced, in a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times) with one-inch margins at the top and bottom of each page and 1.25-inch margins on either side (the default settings in Microsoft Word). More specific topics are given out as we do the readings, and I always mention things that would make a good paper topic during our class meetings and discussions.

http://teach.valdosta.edu/chjames/papers3000.htm

 

Here are some extra links, if you would like to use outside sources and secondary source material:

http://books.valdosta.edu/gal1.html  (click on “Full Text Journal Title List”) and

http://www.valdosta.edu/library/learn/guides/philosophy.shtml

The direct link for the database (Academic Search Complete)

http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=zbac  (Click on Academic Search Complete to open the first page with the search box.)

Attendance Policy: I do care that you attend class regularly.  As you know, VSU policy is that missing 20% of class meetings results in an automatic grade of “F”.  Faculty can also institute added attendance policies in their syllabi. Our class will have a 10% rule for absences.  You can miss up to 10% of the class meetings with no grade penalty.  10% of our 30 class meetings is 3.  On absence number 4, your final grade for the course will be reduced by one whole letter grade; on absence number 5, your final grade for the course will be reduced by two whole letter grades; on absence number 6, you will automatically fail the course.  Be considerate of your fellow students – don’t be late, and don’t leave your cell phones and pagers on.  Note that if you are regularly late to class, or leave class early, I will begin to count each as an absence.  Please note that this policy makes no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.

 

Access Statement: Valdosta State University is committed to providing inclusive learning environments for all students. However, students with disabilities may not always experience equal access to all learning objectives or assessments.  If students anticipate or experience any learning barriers, they should notify the instructor as well as contact the Access Office to determine appropriate ways to eliminate barriers. The Access Office is located in Farber Hall and can be reached by calling 229-245-2498 (voice), 229-375-5871 (videophone), 229-219-1348 (tty) or 229-245-3788 (fax). You can also visit the website at http://www.valdosta.edu/student/disability/ or email access@valdosta.edu for more information.

 

Participate!

 

Once you arrive at class, make an effort to get involved in the conversation. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need clarification or would like more information: if you are confused, it is likely that others are too! The participation percentage you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) the frequency and helpfulness of your contributions to class discussions and the care you take when peer editing.

 

Pop Reading Quizzes:

If I notice that there are many students who are not keeping up with the reading, I may periodically administer reading quizzes in class. These will not be announced in advance. No “make-up” quizzes will be given, and a missed quiz will result in a grade of zero.  These quizzes are a solid reward for attending class, participating, and keeping up with the readings.

 

Online Discussions:

During certain weeks of the semester, you also will be expected to participate regularly in on-line discussions using Blazeview. Use this opportunity to comment on the week’s readings, ask questions, raise objections, and respond to what others have written or said in class.

 

To use Blazeview, you will need access to a computer with an internet connection. Your computer and its software will also need to meet certain technical specifications. You are solely responsible for all technical matters. Although you do not need to be on campus in order to access Blazeview, it is worth remembering that computer labs are available at VSU. For technical help, please contact the VSU Help Desk (located in Odum Library, to the left of the Circulation Desk) at 229-245-4357 or by e-mail at helpdesk@valdosta.edu

 

To log in to Blazeview and the course online activities and graded items, please click here: http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/blazeview-d2l.php

 

When posting in an online bulletin board, like those in the Discussion area of Blazeview, you must (1) post at least one original message of your own, (2) read all the messages posted by others, and (3) respond substantively to at least one message from another student. Your postings are due the same day as the readings are listed in the schedule below (i.e., no later than 11:59 p.m. on the relevant dates.)

 

Your first message on a given topic should be about 200 words in length. That is roughly the length of two medium-sized paragraphs (e.g., this one and the next). Your second (response) posting can be about half that length, but it should be substantive (i.e., involving serious content). Try not to simply repeat what others have said already. Additional postings can be as long or as short as you desire. Be sure to give the first message an interesting title in the “Subject” line. This will help alert the rest of us as to what it will be about.

 

When you are ready to respond to someone else, do so by opening their message and hitting the “Reply” button. This will create a “thread” that others can add on to. Keep in mind that although it is fine to disagree with what someone else has said, it is important to do so in a way that is polite and constructive. If someone says something that makes you angry, pause and take a breath before firing off a reply! You can preview your message before you send it, but once you have hit “Post,” your message will no longer be editable.

 

Blazeview allows me to keep track of how many messages you have read and posted. I will monitor student activity and may from time to time add a message of my own.

 

Academic Honesty: Members of the Valdosta State University faculty value honesty and integrity extremely highly and do not tolerate cheating of any kind. Anyone caught cheating will automatically fail the course. Cheating includes – but is not limited to – plagiarism, giving or receiving assistance on a quiz, having someone else do work on your behalf, doing work on someone else’s behalf, and working with a partner or in a group on an individual assignment. By enrolling in this course, you are in effect promising to maintain the bond of trust on which the professor-student relationship is based.  In addition, VSU has a new Academic Honesty Policy.  Here is a link to the Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures:

http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/vp-office/academic-honesty-at-vsu.php 

 

E-Mail:

VSU policy mandates that all official communication by e-mail take place through VSU e-mail accounts or through the Blazeview Mail tool.  Please check your VSU (@valdosta.edu) e-mail account regularly.

 

Note: This syllabus is not a legal contract; the content of this course is subject to revision by the professor.

 

 

 

Schedule                                         

1/14 T

Introduction to the class.

 

Discussion of

Laura Duhan Kaplan, "Autobiographical Writing in Philosophy Classes", Address to a Plenary Session of the AAPT, August 2004, Teaching Philosophy 29:1, March 2006, pp23-36 (Will be emailed before class, and is available in Blazeview.)

 

     What is Philosophy?  Do Philosophy majors get jobs related to that major?  Here is some interesting information:

     http://teach.valdosta.edu/chjames/Philosophymajorjobs.htm

     http://teach.valdosta.edu/chjames/jobsphilosophyprint.htm

     http://nyti.ms/qEJoXJ

  

(Each date in the class after this one assumes that you will have read that day’s assigned discussion reading before class.)

 

1/16 R

Discussion of 

Stephen M. Fishman, "Student Writing in Philosophy: A Sketch of Five Techniques", New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 69, Spring 1997, pp53-66 (in Blazeview)

and

Michael A. Peters, "Academic Writing, Genres and Philosophy", Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 40, No. 7, 2008, pp819-831 (in Blazeview)

 

TRADITIONAL VIEWS OF HOW PHILOSOPHY IS DONE: BACKGROUND

1/21 T

Discussion of 

An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy) Paperback

by Søren Overgaard (Author) , Paul Gilbert  (Author) , Stephen Burwood  (Author)

25.75

Series: Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy

Paperback: 245 pages

Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 7, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0521175984

ISBN-13: 978-0521175982

Chapters 1, 2, 3

1/23 R

Discussion of An Introduction to Metaphilosophy, Chapters 4, 7, 8

 

Last Day to Turn In Introductory Work in Blazeview: First Discussion, First Quiz, and First Dropbox

 

METAPHOR AND NARRATIVE IN PHILOSOPHY

1/28 T

Discussion of An Introduction to Metaphilosophy, Chapter 6 (poetry, criticism, metaphor)

and readings in Blazeview:

Martina Reuter, "Significance of Gendered Metaphors", NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research Volume 14, Issue 3, 2006, pp151-169

Mark Johnson, "Why Metaphor Matters to Philosophy", Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 10, No. 3 (1995), pp157-62

J. J. Abrams, "Philosophy after the Mirror of Nature Metaphor", Metaphor and Symbol, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2002, pp227-242

Susanna Berger, "Theatre of Natural Philosophy Metaphor", Art Bulletin, June 2013, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp269-293

1/30 R

Discussion of 

Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, 2nd Edition Paperback

by Zoltan Kovecses

22.46

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 2e edition (March 12, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0195374940

ISBN-13: 978-0195374940

Chapters 1-4, pages 3-62

Compare and contrast with

Raymond W. Gibbs, "Why Do Some People Dislike Conceptual Metaphor Theory? " Journal of Cognitive Semiotics, volume 1-2, pp14-36

 and

Edward W. Strong, "Metaphors and Metaphysics", International Journal of Ethics, volume 47, number 4, July 1937, pp461-471

both in Blazeview

 

2/4 T

First Quiz Today on the first readings 

 

PHILOSOPHICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY

2/6 R

Discussion of 

Julian Baggini, “Philosophical Autobiography”, Inquiry, Sept. 2002, 45.3 (2002): 295-312. Print. In Blazeview

and

Béla Szabados, "Autobiography After Wittgenstein", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Lead Paper, volume 50, 1992, pp1-12

2/11 T

Discussion of The Philosopher's Autobiography: A Qualitative Study, Shlomit C. Schuster

Publisher: Praeger (January 30, 2003)

selections in Blazeview

2/13 R

Discussion of 

In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun: The Autobiography of a Japanese Feminist (Weatherhead Books on Asia) [Paperback]

Hiratsuka Raicho (Author), Teruko Craig (Translator)

26.60

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 30, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 023113813X

ISBN-13: 978-0231138130

Introduction to page 88

2/18 T

Discussion of In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun, pages 89-200

(See also an article on Japanese feminism, "Japanese Women’s Rights at the Meiji Era" by Junko Kiguchi, Sociology, Soka University in Blazeview)

2/20 R

No Class Meeting Today, Dr. James will be in New Mexico presenting a paper at a conference (on David Foster Wallace and environmental ethics)

Please work on the first paper, which will be due 2/25 T (present your paper briefly in class on 2/25 then turn it in by the Blazeview Dropbox)

2/25 T

Paper 1 Due by 11:59pm in Dropbox, present it briefly in class

2/27 R

Discussion of In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun, pages 201-286

3/4 T

Discussion of  Robert J. Nash, Liberating Scholarly Writing: The Power Of Personal Narrative, Teachers College Press 2004, section on Scholarly Personal Narratives (Richard Rorty) in Blazeview

and

Trotsky and the Wild Orchids, Richard Rorty (from Philosophy and Social Hope, New York: Penguin Books, 1999, in Blazeview

and

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig, William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008) selected chapters in Blazeview

3/6 R

Discussion of

Philosopher: A Kind Of Life, Ted Honderich, Publisher: Routledge (March 17, 2002) (only the last chapter, in Blazeview)

and

John Hick: An Autobiography,  John Hick, Publisher: Oneworld (October 17, 2005)

(only chapter 3, in Blazeview)

and

R. M. Hare, A Philosophical Autobiography, Utilitas, Vol. 14, No. 3, 269- (2002) (in Blazeview)

And
John Arthur Hogan, The Past Recaptured: Marcel Proust's Aesthetic Theory, Ethics, Vol. 49 No. 2, January 1939  (in Blazeview)

3/11 T – 3/13 R

No Class Meeting on these dates, Dr. James will be presenting a paper in Freiburg, Germany 

In place of class meeting, write your own brief “philosophical autobiography” and turn it in via the Blazeview Discussion Tool by 3/13 R at 11:59pm

3/18 T – 3/20 R

No Class Meeting on these dates, Spring Break!

 

PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE

3/25 T

Discussion of Philosophy and Literature

Arthur C. Danto, "Philosophy as/and/of Literature",  Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association , Vol. 58, No. 1 (Sep., 1984) , pp. 5-20; reprinted in Post-Analytic Philosophy edited by John Rajchman and Cornel West, New York: Columbia University Press, 1985 in Blazeview

John Rajchman, "Philosophy in America" in Post-Analytic Philosophy edited by Rajchman and West, New York: Columbia University Press, 1985  in Blazeview

Cornel West, "Democracy Matters" selection from Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, New York: Penguin Books 2005

3/27 R

Dr. James cannot meet with the class tonight, because she has to be a chaperone for a group of students presenting their research at the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference in Savannah: http://www.srhconline.org/hcol/content.php We will have a Discussion in Blazeview on tonight's readings listed below in place of class meeting. This Discussion will be due by Saturday 3/29 at 11:59pm.

 

Discussion of 

“My Appearance”

selection from The Girl With Curious Hair

by David Foster Wallace, W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (February 17, 1996) in Blazeview

and

selected pages from Every Love Story is a Ghost Story that relate to My Appearance, in Blazeview

and

"A Review Essay: The Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of David Foster Wallace and the "Reality Boundary" (a review of Both Flesh and Not) by Josh Roiland, Literary Journalism Studies. Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall 2013, p148-161, on David Foster Wallace on consciousness and awareness, in Blazeview

4/1 T

Discussion of

Consider the Lobster (the essay, not the collection under same title)

by David Foster Wallace

August 2004

(available http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster  online, and in Blazeview)

and

James Ryerson, "Consider the Philosopher", The New York Times, December 12, 2008, in Blazeview

4/3 R

Discussion of 

Kramp, M. K. 2004. Exploring Life and Experience Through Narrative Inquiry. In K. deMarrais & S. D. Lapan (Eds.), Foundations for research (pp. 103-121). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

and

Hyvarinen,Matti. 2006. Towards a Conceptual History of Narrative, in Matti Hyvärinen, Anu Korhonen & Juri Mykkänen (eds.) The Travelling Concept of Narrative Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 1. Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. 20–41 in Blazeview

 

Point Person: Dan Nix

4/8 T

Discussion of

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

by D. T. Max 

12.19

Publisher: Penguin Books (August 27, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0147509726

ISBN-13: 978-0147509727

First Half

 

Point Person: Heather Palmer

4/10 R

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

Second Half

 

Point Person: LaMarcus Wilkerson

4/15 T

Discussion of

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (Vintage Contemporaries)

by Rebecca Goldstein

10.99         

Publisher: Vintage (February 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0307456714

ISBN-13: 978-0307456717

First Half

(there are also helpful articles about Goldstein in Blazeview)

 

Point Person: Katherine Geter

4/17 R

36 Arguments for the Existence of God

Second Half

 

Point Person: Andrew Morgan

 

TRUTH AND CRITICISM IN PHILOSOPHICAL WRITING

4/22 T

Horwich, Theories of Truth in Blazeview

Grandy, What Do Q and R… in Blazeview

Both from

A Philosophical Companion to First-Order Logic [Paperback]

R. I. G. Hughes (Editor)

Publisher: Hackett Pub Co Inc (October 1993)

 

Point Person: Jonathan Lollar

4/24 R

Why is So Much Philosophy So Tedious by David McNaughton in Blazeview

and

How to Write a Crap Philosophy Essay by James Lenman in Blazeview

and

various selections on the McGinn/McKenzie exchange in Blazeview

 

Point Person: Richard Miller

4/29 T

Paper 2 is Due by 11:59pm in Blazeview Assignment Tool; Be ready to discuss your paper in front of the class

5/1 R

Review Day for Final Exam

 

The last official class meeting day for all Spring Semester classes is Monday 5/5. Our class has been assigned the final exam date and time of Thursday May 8 at 7:15pm. Our class has a final exam to be completed in the Blazeview Quizzes area. You should plan to turn it in via Blazeview by Thursday May 8 at 7:15pm.

 

To look up your other classes’ Spring final exams, see the online guide at the link to Registration at the university homepage.

https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/documents/spring-2014.pdf

Online Course Evaluations

Student evaluations are extremely important in helping faculty members plan and revise their courses. Rather than completing these evaluations during class time, students will need to access evaluation forms via BANNER and complete them in a period during the last few weeks of class. Please take the time to complete this important evaluation (or opt out of providing an evaluation) during the designated period. If you do not do so, you will not be able to access the grade for this class, scheduled to be posted on the Monday after the final examination days. They will be in Banner under Answer a Survey.

At the end of the term, all students will be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be available on Banner (where you registered for classes). Students will receive an email notification through their VSU (valdosta.edu) email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of term.) SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators. Instructors will be able to view only a summary of all responses two weeks after they have submitted final grades. While instructors will not be able to view individual responses or access any of the responses until after final grade submission, they will be able to see which students have or have not completed their SOIs, and student compliance may be considered in the determination of the final course grade. Some professors give extra credit for completing the SOI and some do not, please do not pressure any faculty member about giving extra credit - it's an individual instructor choice. These compliance and non-compliance reports will not be available once instructors are able to access the survey and a timetable for this term is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/OnlineSOIPilotProject.shtml

 

The Administration has not yet opened the online SOI forms, and Dr. James will update the class with instructions when they are available.

Tips for doing well in Philosophy classes, adapted from a handout by Robert Scott

1. Read text with a pencil, underline the important ideas and key concepts. Write down technical ideas, key terms, key distinctions between two terms, definitions, diagrams, etc. to help you remember them.

2. Write questions or reactions you have to the text in the margin of the book. Ask about these questions in class, and keep them in mind, since they may provide good points to make about that author in papers you will write for class.

3. Read ahead to see the ultimate objectives of the chapter and of the individual readings. Keep in mind the overall picture of the chapters given in the introductory sections to each chapter in the book.

4. Work with the new terminology frequently, and try to apply it to situations outside of class. I would recommend flash cards to help you memorize the meanings of new terms quickly.

5. For longer readings, be sure to review the reading as a whole after you have read it section-by-section. What was the main question the author wanted to address? What were the answers? What concepts were used to make the points?

6. When confronted with a difficult reading or question, break it down into parts, and into individual ideas. This will at least help to clarify the question, even if it might not give the answer. And for philosophy, clarifying the question is really half the battle!

7. Ponder an unsolved problem and return to it every so often to see if it will give. Inspiration may happen at an unexpected time, and the subconscious mind does work on problems even when we aren't consciously aware of it.

8. Begin work on all the class tasks early, and spread out your work over time so as to maximize your chances for comprehending the readings accurately, memorizing the information, and grappling with the questions for papers.

9. If you do need to meet with an instructor outside of class, be sure to have your questions for the instructor planned out ahead of time, to make the meeting as productive as possible.

10. Always think about the philosophical issues for yourself, rather than waiting to be told what to think or believe.

11. Study for all exams on a daily basis, for at least a week before the exam date. You will need to know who said what, from memory.

12. Try to anticipate the questions that will be asked on an examination beforehand. Questions may come from the readings or from lectures and class discussions, but in either case, certain terms and concepts will be emphasized more than others.

13. Listen carefully to different points of view, and actively respond (when you read, when you are in class, and when you write your philosophy papers)!

14. Philosophy involves skills, like learning to appreciate a good debate, learning to imagine the world differently than we assume it to be, and appreciating the world with a sense of wonder.

A really great website for students about how to write academic papers is maintained by the Dartmouth Writing Program:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/toc.shtml

In addition to lots of helpful general information, it has special pages on "Writing the Religion Paper" and "Writing the Philosophy Paper."

A great website that explains the importance of critically evaluating web resources is maintained by Robert Harris:

http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm