Your assignments are threefold:
Assessment will be based on class participation and attendance (10%), the two course essays (20% + 30%), and the final exam (40%).
During term time all grades will be given in points—letter grades are too imprecise. At the end of the term, the point average will be converted into a letter grade according to the table given in the General Catalog. If necessary, the average will be rounded upwards: a 3.5 average, for example, will result in an A–.
Note the following:
The first course essay consists in a brief commentary (800–1,000 words) on Parmenides fr. DK 28 B 8 (in Barnes², pp. 82-84 [= Barnes¹, pp. 134-135]); it will be due by Monday, 9 April, at 10 pm. And an update: here two lovely specimens of the first essay—the one by Darby, the other by Maria.
The second course essay consists in a commentary (1,200–1,600 words) on Plato Sophist 260A–264B, on the problem of non-being; it will be due by Thursday, 3 May, at 8 am. Update: two nice specimens of the second essay—one by Jennifer, and the other by Jonathan.
The third course essay consists in a commentary (1,200–1,600 words) on Aristotle Physics 4.4 210b32–212a20, on place (= Waterfield, pp. 85–88); it will be due by Thursday, 24 May, at 8 am. As a final update, two excellent (and very different) specimens of the third essay—the one by Patrick and the other by Wei.
You should sketch the context in which the argument or objection was offered, show the structure of the passage, extract the premisses you need for your argument, present your reconstruction, and try to give a brief assessment. Please use this template (including the option ‘Line spacing: Single’), and submit your essay by email. The file name should follow the pattern:
essay1-surname.initials.docx, etc. Before sending me your work, be sure to reread the Notes on Writing (last updated: 2012-06-06).
The final examination will be held on Tuesday, 12 June, from 3 to 6 pm, in Dodd 167.
Update: The exam will consist of two parts. We’ll start with a brief quiz, where you have to give one- or two-word answers to a number of relatively simple questions on the course as a whole (c. 15 min.). Then you’ll be asked to write a commentary on one of the following passages (c. 150 min.):
I’ll bring photocopies of the set text, so you don’t need to bring your own books to the exam. Lecture notes and the like are not needed either. The only thing you should bring is your Blue Book and something to write. In case you were concerned about not having enough time, don’t worry—I’ll stay till the end…
There will be an optional study session on Sunday afternoon, 10 June, from 2 to 5 pm. We’ll meet in the Shapiro Courtyard. I’ll give a quick intro and then you may ask me questions. I’ll record the entire three hours and upload the more interesting parts of it in the evening in case some cannot come but would like to know what we talked about.