Philosophy 385: Colloquium in Philosophy
The Colloquium is a forum for the discussion of issues in Philosophy. It is an opportunity for us, as members of a philosophical community, to share ideas that interest us, and to engage those ideas in a friendly, spirited discussion. There are no assigned readings or topics; instead, the topic for each meeting is set by the research projects that you choose, and our discussions are guided by the ideas and information that we share with each other.
Your grade in the class will be determined by the following components:
1) RESEARCH PAPER
You will write a research paper of approximately 10-15 pages in length on your chosen topic. Your papers must be submitted no later than 11AM on Monday, 12/1; the sole exception is the tenth presenter, whose paper must be submitted by 11AM on Wednesday, 12/10. Hard copies of your paper should be delivered to all three faculty members, unless you are specifically directed otherwise. These papers should be well-written and consistent in style and formatting. Further details about the paper will be discussed during our Colloquium meetings.
2) RESEARCH PRESENTATION
The bulk of our Thursday sessions will be devoted to student presentations and discussions. Presentation dates will be chosen early in the semester. On the date of your presentation, you should plan to present your project to the group for roughly 20-25 minutes, and to spend the time responding to audience questions about your project. You are not expected to have completed your project prior to your presentation—think of it as more of a rough draft, where the “roughness” is contingent on how early in the semester you present—but you should have made substantial progress prior to presenting.
While your paper and presentation are the two most significant components for determining your grade in Colloquium, other considerations will factor in as well. These include:
3) RESEARCH ACTIVITY
A research paper cannot be written in a few nights. Accordingly, you will be expected to plan well throughout the course of the semester in order to write an acceptable paper and deliver an appropriate presentation. To help you in this process, you will be assigned a faculty member to mentor you in your project. While you are encouraged to meet with any of the Philosophy faculty about your project, you are expected to arrange meetings with your mentor regularly to discuss your research. At a minimum, this means meeting at least one full week prior to your presentation to ensure your readiness, and meeting shortly after your presentation to discuss revisions to your paper in light of our group discussion.
4) IN-CLASS ACTIVITY
The philosophical enterprise is one of discussion and engagement, and Colloquium is designed as a forum for this activity. Accordingly, you are expected to come to each meeting and to play an active role in our conversations. You can fail to satisfy this requirement by either not attending—no more than one absence is allowed for the semester—or else by attending, but sitting quietly aside while the rest of us converse. If you are concerned about your ability to meet this goal, you ought to plan as a rule of thumb to try to ask at least one question during each presentation.
If a situation of prolonged absence is unavoidable, please make sure to contact us about it. Be aware that we will normally request proper documentation should such a circumstance arise.
What follows is the plan for the semester as we see it now. Note that this schedule is tentative; if changes are required, they will be announced in class.
Note also that we are not scheduled to meet as a group on Tuesdays during the presentation portion of our syllabus. You should not, however, make other plans for our Tuesday meeting time, as we may make use of this slot from time to time. Whenever we do not meet for our Tuesday hour, you should look at that free hour as an opportunity to find a meeting time that week with your faculty advisor to discuss your project.
If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please provide the appropriate Learning Center documentation to us early in the semester so that your learning needs may be effectively met. Be aware that we cannot make special accommodations without direction from the Learning Center.
8/26: Class introductions
8/28: Thesis exercise & preliminary research discussion
9/2: Research project proposals; determination of presentation dates
9/4: Research project proposals
9/9: Research modeling
9/11: Research tools and practices
9/18: Presentation 1
9/25: Presentation 2
10/2: Presentation 3
10/9: Presentation 4
10/16: No class, fall break
10/23: Presentation 5
10/30: Presentation 6
11/6: Presentation 7
11/13: Presentation 8
11/20: Presentation 9
11/27: No class, Thanksgiving break
12/4: Presentation 10
12/9: Colloquium wrap-up