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1 PH2209/GEK2002 Art & Philosophy Assessment Weight Date Presentation Tutorials Essay Draft 2/3/2012 Final Essay 13/4/2012

Final Exam 30% < 2 hours 2/5/2012 40% 2000 words 23:59 0% 2000 words 23:59 30% 20 minutes In Length Time and

For your essay and presentation, choose any topic in the philosophy of art. The essay draft is voluntary. It will receive substantive comments, but no mark. The final essay is compulsory. It will receive a mark, but no substantive comments. Drop your essays in my pigeon hole before the due date. Do not email me your essays. Essays should be printed on A4 paper, stapled, double-sided, double-spaced, with justified margins and 12 point Times New Roman Font. On the top of the first page, write only your matriculation number. Do not write your name on the essay. Presentations will be scheduled in the first week of tutorials. Presentations should last for ten minutes, followed by ten minutes of discussion. Your presentation must be on the same topic as your essay, and must be accompanied by a handout. Reading Reading philosophy papers requires patience its not always possible to understand a paper the first time you read it. Its best to read the paper through fairly quickly the first

2 time, to get an idea of the main point the author is trying to argue for. If there are sections you dont understand, skip them. Just try to get the main point at first. Once youve grasped the main point of the paper, read it again slowly. As you do so, keep the main point of the paper in mind, and try to understand how each part of the paper is contributing to the whole. As you follow the paper, raise silent objections to it. If you find the author answering your objections, thats a sign that you understand. Dont worry if you dont understand every part of a paper even after youve read it three or four times some passages presuppose knowledge you dont yet possess and others are simply obscure. But if you cant understand a paper at all, put it aside and find another you cant write a good essay based on papers you dont understand. Research To begin your research, take a look at the articles I have assigned they are available in the work bin and see if any in particular interest you. When you have found one that does, look for papers on the same topic. To do this, you can use the philosophers index (just search for philosophers index in the library catalogue to find this tool), Google scholar ( and PhilPapers ( Dont rely on keyword searches alone, but use the articles that cite this article and related articles tools in Google Scholar and the categories system in PhilPapers. You should be able to find hundreds of relevant articles in this way. Dont try to read them all. Instead select a few closely connected papers which you find interesting and try to understand those papers in detail. Choose papers you can understand. More often than not, youll find the issue you began by looking into is too large, and breaks down into many smaller disagreements between philosophers on various sides. When this happens, you need to narrow in on a smaller group of papers which address just one of these sub-questions otherwise youll have no hope of resolving the issue before the due date and within the word limit. Dont be too ambitious! You should begin your research right away, and begin writing almost right away

3 before youve finished research. As youre reading, you could summarize the articles these summaries could be useful later, in the parts of your essay where you need to explain what other philosophers have said on your topic and note any disagreements with the authors youre reading. Writing Once youve narrowed down your topic to a very specific issue, you need to take up a position on this topic. Your position should be stated explicitly and precisely in the introduction to your essay, and again in the conclusion. For example, if your position is that the meaning of a name is its referent, you should state in your introduction Ill argue in this essay that the meaning of a name is its referent. The next most important thing, after a clear and precise statement of your position, is for your essay to have a clear argumentative structure. If your position is supported by an argument with three premises, for example, then your essay might have a section for each. Or if you are defending the position of one author from an objection, youd need three sections: one each for the position, the objection, and your reply. Once you have a clear position and structure, drafting should be straightforward. But after the essay is drafted, it still needs to be polished. Wherever possible, jargon and technical terms should be replaced with ordinary English. Concrete examples should be used to illustrate any abstract points. Ideally, your essay should be intelligible to all literate people, regardless of whether or not they have a background in philosophy. When writing a philosophy essay, its especially important to write literally and with precision. For example, in trying to explain how music arouses emotion, its tempting to write that music is moving. But music doesnt really move and, unless it is dance music, it doesnt make you move. The problem here isnt solved; its just hidden. Finally, dont neglect to proofread your paper. This is tedious, but well worth it it makes a huge difference to the final result. It helps to swap your paper with a friend, wholl be able to pick up mistakes both typographical and substantive you cant. In order for me to give the best feedback possible, the draft you hand to me should be

4 polished and proofread otherwise, Ill be distracted correcting trivialities. For more advice about writing philosophy papers see: Presentation The points above about writing apply equally to presenting you need to state your position clearly and explicitly as well as to have an explicit argumentative structure. It helps to have your position and the structure of your talk written on a handout. Your handout should also include the key points of your talk, but not too much text: the aim of the handout is to help the audience follow, not to distract them. In addition to the points above, presentations need to be rehearsed. This is because (i) you need to remember what you want to say, (ii) you need to know how to say certain things sometimes its only when youre rehearsing that you realise you dont know how to pronounce a certain word, for example, (iii) you need to time your talk and (iv) you need to be confident. Some people prefer to read their talks. This is usually terribly boring, and I encourage you not to do it. However, some people do read papers well. This is because (i) they still rehearse, (ii) they prepare a special version of the paper just for reading, and (iii) they still engage with the audience, including by extemporising when necessary. If you are going to do all this, then theres not much point in reading at all. Apart from the issue of rehearsing, therere some obvious but often overlooked things which make a presentation go well. Speak loudly and clearly, so people can hear you. Stand up, so you can speak loudly and people can see you. Keep in eye contact with the audience. Gesture and move around, without pacing like a tiger. These things are all small, but make a huge difference to how your presentation goes. After your talk, youll need to answer questions from your audience. Just like the talk itself, this is something you can prepare for. Think in advance about what questions youre likely to be asked. Talk to your friends about your paper first, to get an idea of

5 the kinds of objections and misunderstandings people are likely to have. If you know your material well enough, answering questions should come naturally. Of course, not every question can be anticipated and sometimes youll be faced with a question that takes you by surprise if this wasnt the case, there wouldnt be much point in presenting your work at all. In this case, answer the question if you can, but if you cant theres no need to worry. Just explain the question to the audience in your own words, explain why you cant answer and then promise to think about it later. For more advice about philosophy presentations see: Final Exams All the advice above about reading and writing above applies to exams. To prepare for exams, you should read the assigned readings with care and attention. During the exam, remember to argue for an explicitly stated conclusion, and to write literally and precisely. Forewarned is forearmed use the library website to find past exam papers. You should find you have plenty of time for the exams after all, if you just read the assigned readings every week in the way described above, youll be ready before the semester is even over. But if youve left things to the last minute, its best to read just some papers thoroughly. You might read everything, but understand nothing. Plagiarism Sequences of words borrowed from another author should usually be between double quotation marks, followed by a reference to the author. Quotations of this kind should be used sparingly to illustrate that an author youre disagreeing with holds a certain position, for example. Ideas borrowed from other authors and expressed in your own words should be followed by a reference to that author as well. Plagiarism passing off anothers words or ideas as if they are your own is a bad idea. Ive never seen an assignment which has benefitted from plagiarism the result is

6 almost always a poor essay. Moreover, most plagiarism is very easy to detect, even without the aid of specialised software. If you have not already done so, consult the emodule on Academic Culture in IVLE for further information about plagiarism. Good Luck!