Prerequisite: One prior course in philosophy (such as PHIL-AD 101-119), or equivalent background. This course is not intended as an introduction to philosophy. I'll assume you have prior experience writing philosophical papers, reading texts critically, analyzing and responding to philosophical arguments, and so on. If you've already taken a prior course in philosophy, that will be adequate preparation. If you've just "read and thought a lot" about the issues this course covers, that is in most cases not adequate preparation. It won't have given you practice and feedback on writing philosophy papers, and it won't have given you experience analyzing and discussing arguments in the way we'll be doing in this class.
If you're unsure whether you're prepared for the course, you are welcome to write to me about it. You can also take a look at the handouts linked in the Methodologies section below, to see how much of them seem familiar to you.
Credit hours: 4
This course counts toward the following NYUAD degree requirements:
Meetings: The course will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:15 - 10:30 AM, in room A2-021.
Instructor: The course is taught by Prof. Jim Pryor <firstname.lastname@example.org>. My office in Abu Dhabi is A6-143. Office hours to be determined.
Goals for the course include:
Our class meetings will be a mix of structured presentation and seminar-style discussion. My expectations for the latter are explained in the Requirements section.
Here are detailed explanations of how you'll be expected to read philosophy papers, and how you'll be expected to write them. An explanation of what different grades mean for written work is linked below.
It is essential that you attend the class meetings. Much material not in the readings will be presented in class.
There will be a reading assignment for most meetings. These readings are often short, but they all require close study. You should read them carefully before we discuss them in class, and you will need to read them more than once. For most of the readings, you won't understand the material sufficiently with just a single reading. A good strategy would be to read the assignment once before we discuss it, and then go back and read it again after we've discussed it.
I expect our class meetings to have lots of discussion, and for all students to participate. Talking about philosophy is one of the best ways to learn how to do it. Your participation in these discussions will make up 10% of your grade for the course. See this page on participation for more details (though this class won't have separate "discussion sections" as that page assumes; we'll integrate discussion into the main meetings).
The rest of your grade will be based on:
Ungraded writing assignments: There will be one exercise (around 1200 words) due on Thursday 25 Feb that practices extracting and explaining the argument from a passage we're reading. There will be another exercise due on Tuesday 3 May that answers a selection of the Study Questions for Part I of the Frances book on Disagreement (pp. 101-4).
Neither of these exercises are graded; you get credit just for submitting (serious efforts at) them on time. (15% of the final grade)
First essay (around 2000 words, due Tuesday 15 March): One paper you write for the course will be graded, and given detailed feedback. You will then rewrite the paper, and the rewrite will also be graded. (first version is 10% of the final grade, second version is 15%)
Second essay (2000-3000 words, due Thursday 21 April): For the second paper, you will give each other feedback. You will submit only the final version of this paper. (25% of the final grade)
The topics for both essays will be distributed 2 weeks before the paper is due. You are strongly encouraged to meet with me to discuss an outline of your ideas, before you attempt to finalize and polish your paper.
Instead of a final exam, you will answer a selection of the Study Questions for Part II of the Frances book on Disagreement (pp. 205-7). These will be due Tuesday 17 May, during the final exam period. (25% of the final grade)
Here is an explanation of what different grades mean for written work. (See also the "How you'll be graded" section of the writing guidelines.)
Plagiarism is a serious offense and will result in failed assignments, failed courses, and worse. You should be familiar with the NYUAD page on academic integrity. This community expects fairness, respect, and honesty.
Your papers may be submitted to turnitin.com for review; if there is some special reason you don't want your work to be reviewed by that website, discuss this with me at the start of term.
If you have good reason for being unable to submit work for a deadline, discuss this with me well in advance of the deadline (at least one week before), and we will make different arrangements. You will not be able to contact me about this at the last minute. The only other cases in which late work will be accepted will be for serious and well-documented emergencies.
If things aren't going well for you in some way (physically, emotionally, or otherwise) during the term, and you think this is impacting or will impact your work, please let me know as soon as you can, or have someone at the university who knows what is going on contact me.
Other readings will be made available on the course website.
The reading assignements are posted in the Handouts, Readings, and Lecture Notes section of the website.
Please check that space regularly, as things may sometimes be reorganized, and the schedule will be adjusted, based on how our discussions in class are proceeding.