Assessment

Be a sure you have read and understood the 'Policies' page for vital information on attendance, on-time submissions etc.

  • Important details and deadlines for assessed work are tabulated below.
  • These details should be read in conjunction with assignment info on the 'Timetable' page.
  • You are encouraged to work collaboratively in all aspects of this class, including assessed work (see assignment details for whether you must submit individually). Joint presentations and final papers are encouraged.

Grading Scheme

Letter Low
Border
Middle
A+ 96.7% 98.5%
A 93.3% 95.0%
A- 90.0% 91.7%
B+ 86.7% 88.4%
B 83.3% 85.0%
B- 80.0% 81.7%
C+ 76.7% 78.4%
C 73.3% 75.0%
C- 70.0% 71.7%
D+ 66.7% 68.4%
D 63.3% 65.0%
D- 60.0% 61.7%
F 0% 55.5%

Table of Assignments

?%

Extra Credit

  • Opportunities for extra credit may arise as the class progresses. Some opportunities may be announced but others will remain secret. I will, however, give you this clue: that my greatest inspiration for giving out extra credit is exemplary class citizenship.

20%

Class Participation

  • Main consideration: Did you help enrich the class experience for everyone?
  • There are two main ways to contribute - the best students will exemplify both:
    • Join the discussion in class:
      • Ask 'silly' questions and speak up when you don't understand.
      • Say what you think and (more importantly) why you think it.
      • Question and challenge class readings, your colleagues, and your professor.
    • Participate in online discussions using the class Topics set up in Sakai@UD Forums:
      • Post brief questions or comments on assigned readings, or respond to someone else's post.
      • Only contributions posted before the start of the corresponding class will count.
  • Mere attendance does not help your grade.

Feb 21

12:15pm

5%

In Class Group Project 1: Abstract of 'The Survival Lottery'

  • A good abstract will state the main point of the paper and the core strategy the author uses in defending that point.
    • Pretend you are the author and that you have been asked for a very short overview of your piece for people browsing journal contents.
    • Write in the first person (again, as though you were the author) and do not waste space repeating the title etc. - abstracts always come with title and author information attached.
    • An abstract is pure exegesis: there should be no commentary, critique, or evaluative language - just the facts ma'am.
    • Hint - browse some philosophy journals on the web or in the library - it should not take you long to find some with abstracts.
    • Unlike writing papers, there's no need to cite sources or page numbers in an abstract. But, if you do use language from the text, make sure you put it in quotes.
  • Even if the assignment calls for individual submissions, you are encouraged to collaborate in thinking this through and drafting.
  • Word limits are strictly enforced (just as in real life) - even a word over will affect your grade.
  • Submit via Sakai@UD.

 

Group Project Instructions

  • In-Class Group Assignment
    • The assignment is completed in class, working with your group.
    • Submit in class via Sakai@UD, or by handing in a legible paper version.
    • One submission per group is acceptable. The submitted document should state the group number and the names of all authors who actually contributed.
    • It is the responsiblity of every group member to ensure that all participants are credited and that the submission goes through (make sure you see the confirmation page).
    • You are welcome to hail me if you have any questions during class.
  • If you are not in class, you will need to make an on-time, individual submission via Sakai@UD or by email.
  • Before class
    • Please think about how to make an effective contribution to a group project.
    • Review the relevant instructions for the assignment on the assessment page.
    • Refresh your memory of relevant sources.
    • Do any additional background research that might help with the project.
    • Come prepared to contribute.
  • Peer evaluations
    • Please take note of each group member's contribution and be ready to submit an online peer evaluation as requested.

Feb 28

12:15pm

10%

In Class Group Project 2: Bad Argument Assignment

  • You know you can make them but can you spot them?
    • Identify a very bad and very short written argument on the internet. (Newspaper editorials, news items, and political blogs are excellent sources).
    • Joke arguments are fine but...
      • DO NOT use an argument that is presented and discussed as an example of a bad argument (such as those in this Book of Bad Arguments).
      • DO NOT target an argument for which the main problem is circularity / begging the question.
    • Give the URL to the original source.
    • Cut and paste the relevant text - ONLY the relevant text.
    • Set out the essential form of the argument, stripped of any rhetoric and padding. You know... list assumptions (don't forget hidden assumptions), logical moves, conclusion(s).
    • Explain, VERY concisely, why it is a bad argument.
    • Limit of 500 words for the whole assignment (including pasted text, your set out of the essence, and your critique).
  • Examples:
  • Some points to consider
    • Your best target will be a simple and clearly stated argument.
    • Make sure it's acutally an argument. (Don't be seduced by mere opinion or heaps of points without logical structure.)
    • Make sure it's really, utterly, indisputably bad. Not all mistakes are stupid mistakes - I'm looking for mindblowingly idiotic, the worse the better.
  • Submit via Sakai@UD.

 

Group Project Instructions

  • In-Class Group Assignment
    • The assignment is completed in class, working with your group.
    • Submit in class via Sakai@UD, or by handing in a legible paper version.
    • One submission per group is acceptable. The submitted document should state the group number and the names of all authors who actually contributed.
    • It is the responsiblity of every group member to ensure that all participants are credited and that the submission goes through (make sure you see the confirmation page).
    • You are welcome to hail me if you have any questions during class.
  • If you are not in class, you will need to make an on-time, individual submission via Sakai@UD or by email.
  • Before class
    • Please think about how to make an effective contribution to a group project.
    • Review the relevant instructions for the assignment on the assessment page.
    • Refresh your memory of relevant sources.
    • Do any additional background research that might help with the project.
    • Come prepared to contribute.
  • Peer evaluations
    • Please take note of each group member's contribution and be ready to submit an online peer evaluation as requested.

Mar 15

11:55pm

5%

Abstract of the Famous Violinist argument from 'A Defense of Abortion.'

  • A good abstract will state the main point of the paper and the core strategy the author uses in defending that point.
    • Pretend you are the author and that you have been asked for a very short overview of your piece for people browsing journal contents.
    • Write in the first person (again, as though you were the author) and do not waste space repeating the title etc. - abstracts always come with title and author information attached.
    • An abstract is pure exegesis: there should be no commentary, critique, or evaluative language - just the facts ma'am.
    • Hint - browse some philosophy journals on the web or in the library - it should not take you long to find some with abstracts.
    • Unlike writing papers, there's no need to cite sources or page numbers in an abstract. But, if you do use language from the text, make sure you put it in quotes.
  • Even if the assignment calls for individual submissions, you are encouraged to collaborate in thinking this through and drafting.
  • Word limits are strictly enforced (just as in real life) - even a word over will affect your grade.
  • Submit via Sakai@UD.

Mar 22

11:55pm

20%

Midterm Quiz

  • Complete on Sakai@UD.
    • Questions may cover anything covered in class or in the assigned readings so far.
    • Some questions may require independent research.
  • Get started on quizes as soon as they are available - they are challenging and will take longer than you think.
  • Your two lowest quiz scores will be dropped in calculating your overall quiz score.
  • No quizzes will be dropped in awarding quiz participation credit.
  • No makeup quizzes:
    • Deadlines are stricktly enforced to make sure you do not miss them.
    • To avoid disaster, make sure you have at least an initial go at completing each quiz as soon as it is available - just do not click submit until you are sure you don't want to go back and change any answers. (If you never click submit it will not matter - you quiz will be auto-submitted after the deadline.)
  • Raw quiz scores will be curved. Please note the strategic implications of this:
    • If a group collaboration is mutually helpful, all members benefit.
    • If you help somone without any useful help in return then their higher score will make the curve tougher for you.

Apr 6

12:15am

5%

In Class Group Project 3: The Challenging Argument Assignment

  • This is related to the Bad Argument assignment.
    • Identify one focused argument from one of the class readings.
    • Quote or paraphrase all and only the relevant text.
    • Set out the essential form of the argument, stripped of any rhetoric and padding. You know... list assumptions (don't forget hidden assumptions), logical moves, conclusion(s).
    • State your idea for responding to the argument.
    • Word limit: 500. (Excluding pasted text and citations but including your setting out of the essence, and your critique.)
      • Fewer than 500 is fine... usually better.
  • Some points to consider
    • Your best target will be a simple and clearly stated argument.
    • You are not expected to 'win', only to make a substantive contribution to the conversation. E.g. raise a question or a challenge that will give the argument's author pause for thought.
  • You must properly cite all sources. (For details, see under 'Paper Submission Requirements' on the Class Policies page.)
  • Submit via Sakai@UD.

 

Group Project Instructions

  • In-Class Group Assignment
    • The assignment is completed in class, working with your group.
    • Submit in class via Sakai@UD, or by handing in a legible paper version.
    • One submission per group is acceptable. The submitted document should state the group number and the names of all authors who actually contributed.
    • It is the responsiblity of every group member to ensure that all participants are credited and that the submission goes through (make sure you see the confirmation page).
    • You are welcome to hail me if you have any questions during class.
  • If you are not in class, you will need to make an on-time, individual submission via Sakai@UD or by email.
  • Before class
    • Please think about how to make an effective contribution to a group project.
    • Review the relevant instructions for the assignment on the assessment page.
    • Refresh your memory of relevant sources.
    • Do any additional background research that might help with the project.
    • Come prepared to contribute.
  • Peer evaluations
    • Please take note of each group member's contribution and be ready to submit an online peer evaluation as requested.

Apr 25

12:15am

5%

In Class Group Project 4: Consent Form Assignment

 

Group Project Instructions

  • In-Class Group Assignment
    • The assignment is completed in class, working with your group.
    • Submit in class via Sakai@UD, or by handing in a legible paper version.
    • One submission per group is acceptable. The submitted document should state the group number and the names of all authors who actually contributed.
    • It is the responsiblity of every group member to ensure that all participants are credited and that the submission goes through (make sure you see the confirmation page).
    • You are welcome to hail me if you have any questions during class.
  • If you are not in class, you will need to make an on-time, individual submission via Sakai@UD or by email.
  • Before class
    • Please think about how to make an effective contribution to a group project.
    • Review the relevant instructions for the assignment on the assessment page.
    • Refresh your memory of relevant sources.
    • Do any additional background research that might help with the project.
    • Come prepared to contribute.
  • Peer evaluations
    • Please take note of each group member's contribution and be ready to submit an online peer evaluation as requested.

May 3

11:55pm

10%

Optional: Bad Argument Assignment Redux

  • You know you can make them but can you spot them?
    • Identify a very bad and very short written argument on the internet. (Newspaper editorials, news items, and political blogs are excellent sources).
    • Joke arguments are fine but...
      • DO NOT use an argument that is presented and discussed as an example of a bad argument (such as those in this Book of Bad Arguments).
      • DO NOT target an argument for which the main problem is circularity / begging the question.
    • Give the URL to the original source.
    • Cut and paste the relevant text - ONLY the relevant text.
    • Set out the essential form of the argument, stripped of any rhetoric and padding. You know... list assumptions (don't forget hidden assumptions), logical moves, conclusion(s).
    • Explain, VERY concisely, why it is a bad argument.
    • Limit of 500 words for the whole assignment (including pasted text, your set out of the essence, and your critique).
  • Examples:
  • Some points to consider
    • Your best target will be a simple and clearly stated argument.
    • Make sure it's acutally an argument. (Don't be seduced by mere opinion or heaps of points without logical structure.)
    • Make sure it's really, utterly, indisputably bad. Not all mistakes are stupid mistakes - I'm looking for mindblowingly idiotic, the worse the better.
  • Submit via Sakai@UD.

May 4

12:15pm

2.5%

May 17

11:55pm

30%

Final Quiz

  • Complete on Sakai@UD.
    • Questions may cover anything covered in class or in the assigned readings so far.
    • Some questions may require independent research.
  • Get started on quizes as soon as they are available - they are challenging and will take longer than you think.
  • Your two lowest quiz scores will be dropped in calculating your overall quiz score.
  • No quizzes will be dropped in awarding quiz participation credit.
  • No makeup quizzes:
    • Deadlines are stricktly enforced to make sure you do not miss them.
    • To avoid disaster, make sure you have at least an initial go at completing each quiz as soon as it is available - just do not click submit until you are sure you don't want to go back and change any answers. (If you never click submit it will not matter - you quiz will be auto-submitted after the deadline.)
  • Raw quiz scores will be curved. Please note the strategic implications of this:
    • If a group collaboration is mutually helpful, all members benefit.
    • If you help somone without any useful help in return then their higher score will make the curve tougher for you.