PHIL-101: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructions for Student Presentation of Objections
The presentation counts for 100 points (10% of the course grade). Each student will sign up for a presentation date on the sign-up sheet circulated in class. Should you miss the day when others sign up, it is your responsibility to contact the professor to arrange a presentation date.
The purpose of the presentation is to find potential flaws or weaknesses in the arguments presented by the philosophers being studied. For example, it might be argued that the author’s conclusion does not follow from his or her starting assumptions, that one of his or her starting assumptions is false, that there are exceptions to a general claim the author is making, that his or her argument is unclear or ambiguous in some damaging way, etc. Even if you find that you agree with the author’s conclusions, it is always possible to find some aspect of his or her views with which a reasonable person might disagree.
Presentations are not timed, but should not exceed ten minutes. More than one objection may be made, though it is better to thoroughly support one objection than to make several superficial objections. For each objection made, the presentation should do the following:
1. Clearly identify the claim or argument to which the objection is being made.
2. Use textual evidence to establish that the author does indeed make the claim or argument identified in step 1.
3. Clearly state the objection, explaining why and how the author’s claim or argument is open to dispute. A brief summary statement of the objection(s) must be written on the board in class. (For example: “Philosopher X’s definition of such and such is too broad,” or “Philosopher X’s assumption that blah-blah is false.”)
Presentations will be evaluated for the use of textual evidence, the accuracy of the interpretation of the author’s claims, the relevance of the objection to the author’s aims, the strength of the support provided for the objection, and the presenter's ability to answer follow-up questions in a way that shows substantial understanding of the issues.
Consultation with the professor is required prior to your presentation, either in person or via e-mail.