"How to Study Philosophy" and Deaton's "Fundamentals of Critical
First, review the syllabus and carefully read the section on the
weekly reflection assignments. That way you'll know what's expected, how you'll
be graded, that late reflections aren't accepted, etc. Should you have
questions, email or call (always call for anything time-sensitive).
Second, read Deaton's "How to Study Philosophy" and
"Fundamentals of Critical Thinking," and watch the lectures on each
below. All course readings are available here on the course site in PDF (click
"Modules to the left). All lecture videos will be inside the weekly
reflection directions like this (see below). And I'll usually (though not
always) also provide additional lecture notes, also found under Modules.
Once you've done all that, reflect a bit. Try organizing your
ideas in your own words.
Then start a new thread and answer the following prompts by
typing directly (or pasting your text directly) into your post (no attachments
unless specifically requested by me in writing, though this first week you can
attach an image of your diagrammed argument -- see below). Be sure to label
each section of your response with its corresponding number (see below). Don't
include any of these instructions or prompt details in your post (these do not
count toward the word-count expectations articulated in the syllabus). And
ensure you've submitted by the due date noted in the syllabus (usually by
Wednesday at midnight), when the ability to post will end.
Part 1: Summarize Deaton's “How to Study
Philosophy.” Explain his tips in your own words, being sure to include key
terms, as well as points you found especially interesting.
Part 2 (there are five sub-parts): Using the
instructions found in "Fundamentals of Critical Thinking," locate,
summarize, condense and enumerate the claims included within, diagram and then
analyze an argument posted publicly on the internet in the last 30 days. The
argument you choose can be from any area -- sports, fashion, economics,
religion, philosophy, ethics, science, entertainment -- your
choice. Be sure to include not only an informal summary of the
argument in your own words, but a condensed version where the premises and
conclusion are numbered, a diagram of how the premises are intended to
logically work together to support the conclusion, and your analysis of the
argument. Please review "Fundamentals of Critical Thinking" and the
associated lecture vid to see how to do all of this.
Your post should look something like this:
Part 1: "Deaton explains in 'How to Study Philosophy' that
academic philosophy is... He argues that philosophers are very much like
scientists except... One good strategy for studying philosophy he recommends
is... Another is..."
2a: [General introduction] The argument I chose to summarize,
analyze and diagram is by... It was published at... You can check it out
yourself at [include hyperlink]
2b: [Argument informally summarized in your words]
2c: [Argument condensed into its simplest, most
straightforward form, with premises placed within [brackets] and assigned
2d: [A diagram of the argument (using the numbers you assigned
the premises and conclusion in step 2c) which can be typed out as in the
following example (an "I" with a "V" beneath is an arrow
representing how premises support intermediate conclusions, and ultimately the
final conclusion), or you can simply draw your diagram on a piece of paper and
insert a picture of it in your post:]
(1 + 2) (4 + 5) [<--these numbers
correspond to the numbers you assigned premises in step 2c]
3 + 6
[<--these numbers represent intermediate conclusions which become premises]
would be the argument's ultimate conclusion]
2e: [Your analysis of the argument -- Are the premises credible?
Do they work together to logically support the conclusion? If so, how strong is
the argument? If not, how weak is it? Were any reasoning fallacies
committed? Please explain.]
Anticipated question 1: After summarizing
"How to Study Philosophy" and reading "Fundamentals of
Critical Thinking," you want us to analyze a recent argument we're able to
Answer: Yes. Any argument
published in the last 30 days. If it's older than that by a day or two, no
worries. If it's outside that range by a month, keep searching. The argument
can be on any topic, so long as it constitutes an actual argument -- includes
reasons intended to support a conclusion.