Weekly Russell Round Up/Critical Reflection This Round Up assignment is intended to result in a brief, informal essay of about 400-500 words in which you need to cite only the philosophers mentioned from the weeks readings (Russell should be cited each week, of course). No other outside research is required to get full credit for this assignment.
Think of it as a weekly summary/critique of what you learned in the course that made the most impact on your thinking or that you found to be the most interesting or even puzzling
. If you did not learning anything or were so confused, frustrated, or challenged that nothing you studied even made sense, then discuss that. Be sure to support such claims with reasons or explanations.
You are invited to go beyond just explaining what the takeaway ideas and theories were for you this week through description and analysis by adding evaluative commentary on the material.
Were some ideas introduced but insufficiently or confusingly explained?
Were the arguments sound or strong, or were there problems with the argumentation?
Were some important points glossed over or missed altogether?
Approach this brief essay as a kind of think piece, a personal reflection of your learning of this weeks specific content. Avoid simply making a list of topics you read about. Work for originality as well as clear and concise expression. After completing this weeks assigned chapters of Russells The Problems of Philosophy, in addition to the other required readings for this week, complete this brief essay that connecting the two sets of readings in terms of philosophical concepts, themes, and goals. Think of this as a meaningful reflection rather than an informational report.
The goal of the assignment is to demonstrate your understanding of how Russells philosophy ties into or contrasts with one or more of the other philosophers covered this week. You may choose to switch the focus and make a particular historical or contemporary thinker from this weeks readings the focus of your reflection, bringing in Russells view in relation to what the historical philosopher says. (Russell is also in the category of historical philosophers, as the term is intended here; this assignment asks you to counterpose Russells univocal view throughout the course with the various different philosophical positions and theories we cover each week. He covers many of the same topics addressed by the other philosophers we study and write about.) Suggested format: Start with a very brief summary of the ideas, theories, and perspectives on the nature of reality and knowledge youll be highlighting, analyzing, and evaluating. Keep the summary as brief and concise as possible; no need to report back every point or detail in the Russell chapters. Your main goal in the essay, over and above summarizing, is to find connections amongtie togetherany theories, themes, concepts, important ideas, arguments, important observations, etc. you find in Russells work, the various particular philosophical views, and the general content covered in the other readings. There will plenty of material that will invite comparison and analysis. Russell Round Up-continued Some of the themes or issues you should look for include: what philosophers do (or the purpose of studying philosophy); the possibility of human knowledge of the nature of reality in itself; the meaning of the appearance–reality distinction and its role in knowledge claims; the nature and extent of human knowledge; the definition of truth and criteria for distinguishing truth from falsehood; the value of philosophy. As you move through the Russell chapters, you will come across the following terms. Be sure you include some analysis and discussion of your understanding of these, from Russells point of view as well as whatever other philosophers you are commenting on for that week. (These are in alpha order, not in order of exposition in the text): a priori knowledge abstract ideas correspondence vs. coherence theories of truth existence vs. subsistence induction vs. deduction intuitive knowledge Kants synthetic a priori knowledge by acquaintance knowledge by description self-evident truths sense-data universals vs. particulars You may submit your Russell Round Up as file or simply write it directly into the text editor (but best practice is always to save your work in a file so you dont risk losing it through a technical glitch or a stray keystroke). Please pay careful attention to grammar, spelling, word use, and writing style; this means you need to proofread your work before submitting it. This assignment is worth 5 points. Please consult the course calendar for due dates. No late posts accepted. Week One: Weekly Russell Round Up/Critical Reflection After completing this week’s assigned chapters of Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy as well as the other required readings, do the following: First, briefly summarize what you learned from reading the Russell chapters this week. Then, set about achieving your main goal in this assignment, beyond the summary, which is to tie together any theories, themes, concepts, important ideas, arguments, important observations, etc. you discover in Russell’s work and the particular philosophical views and the general content covered in the other readings. For example, in Week One, you will be summarizing Chapters I-IV in The Problems of Philosophy, and then consider how what Russell says links up with, adds to, or even conflicts with the philosophical views and ideas of Plato and Descartes. There will be plenty of material that will invite comparison and analysis. Please take a moment to review the detailed before completing this assignment. Also, don’t forget to review the scoring rubric for this assignment:
. This brief, informal essay should be in the 400-500-word range. You may submit your “Russell Round Up” as a file attachment or simply write it directly into the text editor (but best practice is always to save your work in a file so you don’t risk losing it if your computer shuts down). Please pay careful attention to grammar, spelling, word use, and writing style; this means you need to proofread your work before submitting it. This assignment is worth 5 points (weighted at 5.75%), for a total of 23% of your course grade for all four Round Up essays. Please see the course calendar for assignment due dates.