Saturday, 29 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 12

29 Dec
  • ActivityAudio Feature 5, 'The politics of power'; Book 3: Chapter 4, 'Interest groups and interest representation in UK politics'

    Still trying to finish Chapter 2......

Friday, 28 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality :TMA02 Marked and Returned

Just returned from a few days away without access to the internet to find that my TMA has been returned over the Christmas period. A couple more marks than last time so just slipped in to the Pass1 bracket. Doesn't make a lot of difference at the end of the course, but a couple of marks one way or the other does make a big difference to the motivation for the next TMA.

So with the next TMA due on the 17th January best get caught up with the reading to answer the next question,

"To what extent is politics in the United Kingdom ‘completely dominated’ by the government of the day?"

Saturday, 22 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Christmas break and Santa is delivering the TMA results

The study schedule says from now until 29th December is the Christmas break..... but back in the real world it is called a 'catch-up week'.

And whoever thought it was a good idea to resume study 2 days prior to Hogmanay needs their head examined, we will have to get over the celebrations and mandatory recovery period before any meaningful study can resume.

The good news is however that we now have a date that the TMAs will be returned on, and along with everything else he has to do, Santa will be sending our results out on his busiest day of the year....... Good olde Santa...

Friday, 21 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : We appear to have survived another doomsday prophesy.....

...... well better get on with life until the next one comes along.

I haven't picked up a book since last weekend's tutorial. I would like to blame it on waiting for an outcome, one way or another, from the Mayan  'end of the world' prediction. However, in reality it has been a mixture of ill health (well man-flu), being extremely busy and lack of motivation as I am STILL waiting on the results from TMA02.

So the weeks break next week can catch the slack.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Tutorial 3

Today's tutorial was not particularly well attended, but I suppose that is down to the rotten weather and being close to Christmas.

We had a good chat through aspects of chapter 1, which was interesting and brought some of the aspects of the discussions more to life.

However, the down side of the timing of the tutorials means there is not much of this section of the course to discuss, and so there was not much discussion about the TMA. It was mentioned that the book may be out of touch with the current politics in Britain today and so it may be necessary to find better examples than are in the book.

It also appears that most of the TMA may be in chapter 1, but until I have read the rest of the book it is a bit difficult to per-judge.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 11

15 Dec
  • Activity: Book 3: Chapter 2, ‘Centre–periphery relations’; Chapter 3, 'Citizens and politics'

    The course has finally taken off and is both a easier read than the last book and far more interesting. We have the third tutorial tomorrow (I couldn't make the second one) so it will be interesting to see what the attendance is and hopefully a bit more help for the TMA.

    I was rushing the last TMA a bit, and a great bit of explanation about one of my examples came to me as I was relaxing one evening, but it came too late as the deadline had passed. This is why I much prefer to finish the TMA and keep it a couple of days to think about it with the pressure off and see if anything else comes to mind. Hopefully, that will be returned shortly.....

    It also appears that the course forum has gone completely quiet and the tutor group is also silent, so just as well the Facebook group is active.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : More interesting week - shame about the forum

At last we seem to be getting in to 'proper' politics, the Audio Feature 4: Explaining the prime minister was actually a good listen so I'm motivated to launch myself into Chapter 1..... motivated but somehow not yet started.

I had another look at the Open University Forum again and it is just depressing. Either the discussion on the bit I am currently reading seems to have already taken place (obviously some people either have a lot of time on their hands or are quick readers because they are well ahead of the suggested schedule) or the forum is cluttered with extremely lengthy, and IMHO bordering on pretentious, discussions  between the 'usual suspects'.

The Open University MUST surely wonder why so few of the course members participate on the forum. It would be useful if mid-course they asked why this was and what could be improved. 

I would suggest that,
1. The Forum was split into sections which did not open until the appropriately scheduled part of the course.
2. That the Forum discussions were slightly better directed by Tutors.
3. That people have a limit to the number of times that they can post.

It would be useful it this could be trialled for Book 4 of this course, and of course if this this does not work and improve the situation it can revert back to what it is now.

As an alternative Forum, the Facebook group seems far more friendly and accessible, and so I will continue to engage with and be a part of that.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 10

8 Dec
  • Module Part 3: Politics and Power in the UK
  • Activity: Discussion Audio C, 'Introduction to Part 3'; Book 3: Introduction; Chapter 1, 'Governing at the centre'; Audio Feature 4, 'Explaining the prime minister'

    So, on to Part 3 and this is getting pretty relentless. I didn't really read Chapter 4 at all in the last book, so I need to find time to try and fit reading that in. Meanwhile, at least there is a week's break over Christmas, so need to get some cramming and catch-up in over that week.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Stay on track

After a fairly good start with an introduction and some definitions, I then started writing about the comparative study of different electoral systems, and if that had been the question it would have been a great paragraph or two towards the essay.

However, the essay is not asking you to critique the examples you use to explain the advantages of using a comparative, but just stick to the advantages of a comparative approach...... it has been very easy to stray off track.

I also wasted some time over analysing the question and worrying if the use of the phrase 'empirical examples' would exclude certain examples or tie up with inductive or deductive methods - but I'm sure this is not the case and that was just further wasted time.

I keep having to check the date..... we have until tomorrow night..... so that is a late end tonight, early start, lunch hour and no evening meal until it is finished.......

Oh, and I'm doing this course for 'fun', I must keep reminding myself of this.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Need to find some motivation

Too many far more exciting things happening elsewhere to be motivated to write this TMA.

This has been a real drudge, partly because it appears to be a fairly pedestrian exercise of ploughing through the set text and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of two examples using the competitive approach.

So to pull out some quotes and references for the definition of the comparative approach to politics, and the choose two examples and sprinkle with more references regarding functionalism and institutionalism, and inductive / deductive. I suppose the only part of it that allows you to add your own thoughts and personality is what you choose as advantages and disadvantages and why you feel this is so.

As I wrote previously, the bones of this are in Chapter 5 - it is the key.

The task tonight is to get about 1200 words down in a rough skeleton of an essay, and then to refine it tomorrow into something that reads properly.

This is a real wake up that I need to get further ahead in the next Chapter and quickly.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Chapter 5 is the key.

What a difference Chapter 5 is.

Easy to read, easy to follow and most imprtantly makes instant sense.

This chapter is the key for the TMA, which asks,

"What are the advantages of using a comparative approach to the study of contemporary politics? Please illustrate your answers making use of two empirical examples drawn from the module material"

So there will be a lot of summarising from chapter 5 to pull out the advantages etc. and then I think the two examples will be low voter turn out and different democratic voting systems in some European counties.

The TMA deadline is looming soon, so I need to crack-on. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Looking towards the TMA

There is a children's counting rhyme which says "one, two, miss a few, ninety nine, one hundred".

This is effectively my approach to Books 2 as I'm jumping Chapter 4 and going on to the audio and the Chapter 5.

I will then try and pick out two examples, one will probably be different voting systems, and grind out an essay for the TMA.

This has been pretty hard going, partly due to how difficult some of the chapters are to read. I hope Book 3 is a lot better......

Saturday, 24 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 8

24 Nov
  • ActivityAudio Feature 3, 'In defence of politics'; Book 2: Chapter 5, 'Story telling and theory building'

    Now one chapter behind the suggested reading schedule and beginning to fall behind. 

    This will not be helped by a weekend of football on the TV and the brand new and long awaited Hitman Absolution for XBox360 arriving via Amazon. 

    I am anticipating a weekend of wanten bloodshed, goals galore and very little study.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 7

17 Nov
  • Activity: Book 2: Chapter 3, 'Taking part in politics'; Chapter 4, 'Common citizenship and plural identities'
Two chapters !!! I think I am seriously falling behind...... my motivation mojo is failing and the TMA is due in about 3 weeks and the question is....

"What are the advantages of using a comparative approach to the study of contemporary politics? Please illustrate your answers making use of two empirical examples drawn from the module material."

 Firstly, I think that TMA questions should have a strick word count limit, and this question has breached thast limit.

Secondly, on the reasding so afr I am struggling with the advantages of using comparitive or indeed any approach.

Thirdly, I have no idea what empirical examples I have to choose from - I hope these become apparent in the next couple of chapters.

Better get reading......

Friday, 16 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 6

This has been a struggle, although Chapter 2 is mildly better than Chapter 1.

The main problem is that the author is using far too many words to describe what appears to be fairly simple ideas. The same point is also hammered home over and over again, to the point when you think you are re-reading something you have already read.

I hope Chapter 3 is better, otherwise it is going to be a struggle to get through this and write the TMA ........and this is supposed to be fun :-(

Monday, 12 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : TMA 1 Marked and Returned

The long wait is over, and I have had TMA 1 marked and returned. A pretty good Pass2, not far from a Pass1 so pretty encouraging really.

The tutors comments were pretty much onthe ball - and I could not argue with any of them, so perhaps room for improvement  next TMA.

However, Chapter 1 of Book 2 is proving to be fairly impentrable. I have tried to finish it, but the words just swim in front of my eyes and my mind wanders off. At least the Audio for this weeks study seems far more interesting, so I may rush through the last part of Chapter 1 in the hope that Chapter 2 ingintes my interest again.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 6

10 Nov
  • Activity: Audio Feature 2, 'Dissenting voices'; Book 2: Chapter 2, 'Framing politics'

    At least there is only one chapter this week, especially as I have still to finish last weeks chapter :-)

Friday, 9 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 5

Difficult week to study, far too many distractions,

i. American Election - Thank goodness it went to Obama, I woke up pretty early to see how the election was going only to see Romney was in the lead - it was a bit worrying for a while.

ii. European Football - What a Wednesday night, Celtic, Man Unt and Chelsea all coming home winners with a lot of late drama.

iii. But most problematic is that other people have been receiving their TMAs back since almost the day after the submission date, and I always find it really difficult to move on to the next block of study until I have the TMA results back. Now just into the second week and there is supposed to be a tutorial at the weekend, so fingers crossed for tonight/this weekend.

The study I have done is read about 3/4 of the Chapter 1, it is not too hard going. I also did Exercise 1 but felt somewhat underwhelmed at the end as there was no online marking - it just left you with some questions.

If I have missed something on this exercise please let me know, but it just basically showed the depth of information available and the many ways in which the same issue can be (mis)represented.

So a bit of catching up to do on the reading front next week, at least it should be quite on the football front.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Advice for TMA02

I have just listened to the audio at the start of the study for book 1, there is nothing that startling in it except for at the end of the discussion when it turns to what is needed for the TMA.

"Well the TMA for this part of the course is explicitly designed to test understanding and use of competing evidence. So, evidence from across the different elements of the part and different kinds of evidence that serve to support or disprove certain kinds of arguments. So obviously comparative narrative would be an important part of this in terms of understanding and using competing evidence. "
"Well one of the five themes people will note quite easily is that of evidence and argument and that provides some kind of pointer I think to its relevance to this particular TMA which is the theme developed in Chapter 5 of the book. But it is equally important to draw on material from across the parts in this respect in order to assemble a range of competing evidence in order to support or disprove a certain kind of argument. So a focus there, but also drawing on a whole range of material to provide a really good answer. "
So, that is pretty clear, evidence is needed from all chapters, all exercises and all audios - that gonna be a lot of referencing.
The next TMA question is,
What are the advantages of using a comparative approach to the study of contemporary politics? Please illustrate your answers making use of two empirical examples drawn from the module material.  

Saturday, 3 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 5

3 Nov
  • Module Part 2: Exploring Political Worlds
  • Activity: Discussion Audio B, 'Introduction to Part 2'; Book 2: Introduction; Chapter 1, 'Politics, powers and structures'; Online Activity 1

Friday, 2 November 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 4

That's TMA 1 done and dusted, now for the post-TMA slump while we wait on the essays being marked and returned.

In the end the essay question "What makes something political?" seemed simple, but could be deceptively difficult to answer properly.

After the introduction I defined politics using several quotes from book and audio, then discussed narrow/wide - optimistic and sceptical, before picking 4 examples from the text, these being the detainees in Oz, refugees in the UK, the MMR vaccination and immigration statistics.

So, need to start Book 2 tomorrow, and try and keep up with the course timetable.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : On to book 2

TMA 1 has been submitted, so I thought I'd make a quick start on Book 2 "Exploring Political Worlds", but I have have been put off by just picking up the book - it just seems so much heavier than Book 1.

I have read somewhere that it is best to start the book by reading Chapter 5, and once that is finished continue reading from the beginning.

I'll give this a try tomorrow, still getting over the shock of how heavy this book feels......

Sunday, 28 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Writing TMA 1

I had a fairly productive couple of hours yesterday and now have just over 1200 words but no conclusion written, so some serious editing is required.

There seems to be a variety of ways that people are approaching this TMA and I'm not sure if anyone of them is incorrect, they are just different. I think the key statement from the TMA writing advice is,

"you will need to consider different perspectives that point to a narrower or wider definition of the things – the issues – that may or may not be considered as political."


"You should choose examples from the module material to illustrate your arguments."

 So, time to get editing while keeping the above statements very much in mind.

and a very useful OU link which I keep forgetting to get to the Harvard Referencing Document.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 4

27 Oct


  • Assignment: TMA 01 (cut-off date 1st November)

So, about 500 words done, books read and passages of interest marked. Not panicking yet to finish this essay, but I had hoped to have been slightly further ahead than I am at present. The 1200 word limit is going to be the challenge, risk of picking too many examples and discussion being too shallow, or too few examples and discussion too deep. This is my third course and the TMAs aren't getting any easier.

Friday, 26 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 3

That's the reading done for the first book of the course and it has been fairly gentle stuff.

The two chapter read this week were Chapter 4, 'Who belongs to a political community?' and Chapter 5, 'How does one encounter the state?' and there was quite a lot of the subject matter of these chapters chimed back to some of the work done in DD101 for the final TMA.

The difficulty now is answering the TMA question "What makes something political?' in an appropriate way and managing to reference chapters from the bookn and the audio - they have been very specific regarding the importance of the audio - so I need to crowbar this in somewhere.

At least the TMA deadline has been pushed back to the 1st November, so hopefullt write it over the weekedn and then leave it for a day or two before re-reading and refining it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 3

20 Oct
  • Activity: Book 1: Chapter 4, 'Who belongs to a political community?'; Chapter 5, 'How does one encounter the state?'; Conclusion

Friday, 19 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 2

Chapter 3 : Where does politics happen?

This has been the most interesting chapter so far, especially the section on the immigrants held in the detention centre in Australia and the various elements to their story that allowed fairly disenfranchised and marginalised people to grab the national headlines and become the centre of political debate - and in doing so swing popular opinion behind their cause. I found this story interesting as their protest could easily have gone unnoticed had it not been picked up by sympathetic and powerful forms of media & social media.

The first audio feature "Debating Politics" was set in Manchester, but the first noticeable thing for me was nobody seemed to have a stereo-typical Mancs accent - perhaps Noel and Liam were elsewhere that day - and I'm not sure the vox pops actually helped move the debate on at all. When the academics got involved in the discussion they discussed whether they have a wide or narrow view of what is politics, and whether they are a political optimist or a political sceptic. While I can see where the arguments were going, whether the academics were Narrow - Optimist, Narrow - Sceptic, Wide - Optimist or Wide Sceptic but I don't believe it is sensible to pigeon hole yourself as one of these 4 options. It seems to me that it very much depends on the issue under examination,  the position you take (given the 4 on offer) will depend on how the issue effects you (positively or negatively), if you can effect the debate or outcome and how the decision regarding an issue is arrived at.

The second audio feature, 'Reading across as well as down', is more about the structure and themes of the course than actual course material, so I have briefly listened to it, but I will listen to it again once the first TMA is submitted.

So, 2 chapters left to read and the TMA to be submitted before 1st November.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 2

13 Oct
  • Activity: Audio Feature 1, 'Debating politics'; Book 1: Chapter 3, 'Where does politics happen?'; Discussion Audio A, 'Reading across as well as down'

    It doesn't seem like a lot of work this week, except that the two audios are pretty long and it is  easy for your mind to wander while just listening to them - I find it easier to read the transcript while listening to the audio as it keeps your mind more focused.

    The course description emphisises that the audios are an important part of the course teaching material and the TMA instructiosns say that you will get marks for referencing course materials, so I think I would like 2 or 3 references from the audio used in the TMA - I just have to find them.

Friday, 12 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : End of Week 1

Well, Week 1 was a fairly gentle start to what looks as though it will be a very interesting course.

The tutorial last Saturday was without a doubt the best tutorial I have been to so far on the road to PPE, and the first two chapters in the book "What Is Politics, Ch1 "Why Is Politics Important?"and Ch2 "Who Does Politics?" have been pretty well written and easy to follow.

I am already thinking about how to answer the first TMA "What makes something ‘political’?". It is only 1200 words, so by the time you've written the introduction and conclusion, there will only be 950 words or so for the meat of the argument, so it will be all about carefully choosing specific points and examples from the course book and arguing around these points succinctly.

I have actually made a start on Week 2's reading already and Chapter 3 is very interesting, although on the downside the two audios do appear very long at around 40 mins each.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : First Tutorial

Today is officially, according to the course timetable, the start of the course, so it seemed an odd date on which to have a tutorial.

The tutorials for my previous courses have been a bit dreary or not really covered that much, and I have gone along to them more because I thought I should, and because I feared I may miss something important, rather than because I thought it would be useful.

However, today's tutorial was actually really good. Practically all of the 2 hours was spent in interesting and well-paced discussions, which were well directed and moderated by the tutor. It has always felt a bit pointless in past tutorials having the tutor simply go over what we should already have read, so to have discussions around the course text and content was far more interesting, and it also brought in new and different ideas

A great start to the course, and it has motivated me to get some more reading done, and if all of the tutorials are as good as this one I will certainly be going to as many tutorials as possible.

So, with TMA01 due by the end of the month it is time to get back in to study mode for real.

Friday, 28 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : TMA Submission Dates Revised

Great news announced on the course forum this evening. The TMA submission dates have been revised as a result of various emails and comments regarding the odd timing of these dates within the TMA Week.

This really shows that the OU are listening to what their students are saying and that they are prepared to revise the course program for the benefit of those studying.

The new cut-off dates are......
  • TMA 01 Thursday 1st November 2012
  • TMA 02 Thursday 6th December 2012
  • TMA 03 Thursday 17th January 2013
  • TMA 04 Thursday 21 February 2013
  • TMA 05 Thursday 28 March 2013
  • TMA 06 Thursday 9 May 2012

Thursday, 27 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Tutorial Dates announced online

I don't really want to complain about the course timetable two posts in a row, but considering that the course officially starts on the 6th October it seems somewhat odd that the first tutorial is on the 6th October.

This is the same throughout the course, the tutorials at the at start of each section, when I think it would be better towards the end of each section when there would be the opportunity to discuss that section and what is required for the TMA.

Oh well, may as well just get on with it and stop complaining, and get some reading done before the 6th Oct, this week has slipped past very quickly with not much having be done......

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Beware the TMA Week

The importance of keeping ahead of the timetable is no better illustrated than through the oddly timetabled TMA cut-off dates.

  • Week 4 starts on SATURDAY the 27th October.
  • TMA01's cut off date is Monday 29th October
  • This doesn't make any sense at all.

Why not make the cut off date Friday 2nd November or over better slight overlap with Week 5 and make it Monday 5th November.

I'm sure this will catch me out at some point even though I think I am well aware of it.

............. and they say common sense is the least common sense of all :-)

Monday, 24 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Week 1

The courses first week of study is supposed to start on the 6th Oct, however there is nothing quite like the feeling of being slightly ahead of the course timetable and knowing that you have a bit of a 'study buffer' should things happen to put your study back a bit.

So, Week 1's timetabled study is,

Saturday, 22 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Get set to study...

I now have the books at home. The website is open. The new PPE study support webpage is open and I even have a tutor assigned..... so with 2 weeks to go until the timetabled start of the course I'll try and get a bit of a head start on the reading and get some chapters read over the weekend.

I have 'Googled' my tutor and I am pretty impressed by their credentials, which doesn't necessarily follow that they will be a good tutor, but I doubt their main motivator in being part of the Open University is a financial one, so I am very hopeful that they will be good. Also, they are based not too far away, certainly no further than the tutor on the last course, so that should hopefully mean that the tutorials are fairly close.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Website Open and new PPE Page

The course website has opened on time and it is quite a bit different from the last two course websites I have experienced.

I'm sure it has been well thought out and will be an improvement, but I just need some time to navigate round it and see where everything is.

There has also appeared a brand new PPE study / course page, and again it is early days but this may be useful although I can see a lot of potential overlap with this PPE Forum and the Facebook page.

On the plus side, having gone home from work two nights in a  row and forgotten the course books they are now in the car.... just got to remember to get them from the car to the house and study can commence.

Still no tutor assigned, maybe I'm difficult to place ......

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

DD203 - Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics : Books have arrived.......

I guess it has been about six weeks since my last post, and it has been a welcome break from study.

I have arrived back from a very enjoyable holiday to find that my course books have arrived. The holiday was so relaxing that although I took a book away on Political Philosophy I think it was opened briefly on the plane on the way out and then not at all through the holiday, so I really need to change gear and get back into study mode.

The 5 books that arrived do not seem overly thick, so I wonder if there is lots of external texts that need to be found and read to augment this teaching material. There are also no audio CDs included, so unless these are online this will also be another change in teaching style.

The website says it will open on the 20th September, so not long to go now, and I see that I have still not been assigned a tutor, but I guess that is not an issue at present.I just hope they are not too far away. Last year my wife was assigned tutorials two and a half hours away, and I'm not sure a total of five hours driving is worth the bother going on past experience, so fingers crossed for a local tutor.

May try and start Book 1 tonight.......

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Results are in.

Just arrived back in the modern world of Internet and mobile phones, and so have been able to access the OU website and find out my exam and overall module score.

Well the overall module score was a Pass 2, which I am pleased about although it was pretty predicable as I would have had to have had an almost flawless exam to get a Pass 1 or a disaster for a Pass 3.

I was however slightly disappointed with the exam score, I though I had done better than the mark I got - it was a lot lower than the TMA scores, but I guess this doesn't matter one way or another now as the module is finished.

So now for a month or two of non-study before the Politics course starts in October.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Looks like its going all the way......

Well just a week to go until the date by which the module result "should be available" and it looks as though it will go right to the wire...... well I'm certainly not expecting any news over this weekend.

So I'll have to be patient and will expect to get my result when back in the UK, and therefore access to internet services, in a week or so :-)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Still waiting.....

This is agony....... I'm waiting for the exam and module result for A222 and completely separately an exam result for a professional exam and it is 'doing my nut'.

The Open University don't help matters with their imprecise use of the English language. The website says "The module result should be available by the 3rd August".

The use of the word 'by' indicates to me that it could well happened before this date.

The use of the word 'should' however casts doubt on it happening by this date.

Which is it !!!

Why could they not simply have written ""The module result will be available on the 3rd August", and ensure it is so.

Emailing the OU was little use, they were unable to shed light on any timetable at all. It appears that the 3rd August is the date for many courses, so I suspect that this is simply the end of their academic year and then they all go off on holiday.

The problem for me is that unless I get the result in the next week, I will just after then be working on a remote island with no readily available internet and no mobile phone networks - so it could be some time before I get the result.

Come on Open University - get on with it !!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Waiting.........

Well that is pretty much 4 weeks since the exam, and three weeks until the date by which we should have received our module results.

I hope we get them earlier, as the wait is driving me mad.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Facebook Group for those starting A222 in October 2012

If you are starting A222 in October 2012 there is a Facebook Group opened for this particular course, you can find it here, Facebook Group for A222 Oct 2012

And good luck with the course and you should enjoy it.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Course Review

Although I'm waiting on the result for this course, it is effectively over and so that is the second course of the six courses necessary to complete the PPE degree completed, so 2 down, 4 to go.

This was my first brush with philosophy as an academic subject, and now that I have had time to let the dust settle after the exam, and look back on the course, I can say that it has been well worthwhile. Quite apart from the actual 6 subject areas we looked at, the additional aspects of the course regarding constructing and deconstructing arguments has been very useful.

The other thing that I noticed was that the TMA essays were very different from the essays required for the DD101 course.  I either had a strict tutor this time round or a lax tutor for the first course, or maybe it is just that more is expected at Level 2, but my TMA marks were down by roughly 10% which was slightly annoying because if anything I put more effort in to these TMAs.

The final classification of this degree is based on the two Level 3 course results and the best two of the three Level 2 courses, so this course is not necessarily counting towards the final result, but of course there is no way of knowing that until the other two Level 2 courses have been completed.

So to the actual course.

It is emphasised that to fully engage with the course it is necessary not only to read philosophy, but to actually do philosophy. This means thought and discussion. The discussion part can be quite tricky, as not everyone in your social circle has the time or interest to engage with what can be abstract or emotional subjects, and those that do may not discuss in as ‘philosophical’ a manner as you would hope, parting comments of “well that is clearly bollocks” do not move the discussion forward in any meaningful way.

The course FORUM can be useful, but it can also be dominated by a few individuals, some of whom contribute knowledgeable and lengthy (sometimes very lengthy)  discussions, and some of whom just post a stream of what is effectively just SPAM

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, boiled eggs….. and SPAM.

The Forum discussions also seemed to start before the point that the study planner would indicate that they should, so by the time I had read the course text and felt ready to contribute to the discussion the discussion was either well underway and covered all the points I wanted to make, or had effectively moved on to other subjects. I think that the Forum tutors/moderators should grip this a bit better as it must put loads of people off of contributing. For these reasons the Facebook group was really good and was used more than the OU Forum was.

The tutorials were a mixture of Face to Face tutorials and online ‘Elluminate’ tutorials. The Face to Face tutorials never really seemed long enough, and there was too much time spent covering what people should have already read before getting discussions underway. I think these could be better structured to do what we cannot do on our own, i.e. have large discussions and debates on the subject at hand. The Elluminate tutorials were only an hour and to be fair by the time everyone had logged in and sorted out minor IT problems with speakers and microphones, not a great deal got done – but at least this could be done (not done) from the comfort of your own home.

I thought it was worth attending to get some Face to Face communication with the tutor, as it always makes further email communication easier if you have met in person. Other than that it was no great problem for me to attend as they were only 40mins away, but any further for the next course and I will have to think twice about the value of such tutorials.

The course books were…..

The Self : Interesting discussion in to what makes me – me. Short introduction book to get onto the course and after a short discussion three very identifiable theorists which made it an obvious choice for the exam. I can’t understand those who did not choose this book.

Religion : Sort of skirted round the reasons to believe there is a God and the reasons not to, but it didn’t really get in to any significant depth on the subject. It did show however that long held views received without any proof from authority figures are very hard to change and indeed those that hold these views will protect them by ignoring self evident proof that is all around us. From a philosophical point of view it shows that science has a question and searches for the answer, whereas religion has the answer and modifies the question to ensure the answer remains.

Ethics : I was looking forward to this, but there was too much Bentham and Mills and not enough Kant. I had hoped for a course similar to Michael Sandel’s ‘Justice’ for Harvard University – check it out on YouTube – but this was not that.

Knowledge : I didn’t really do this book justice. All we needed for the TMA was Descartes and this book coincided with a  very busy period and I just did not have time to look at Hume and Popper and the rest of the Knowledge chapters.

The Mind : This book was completely spoilt by the nonsense that was the Chapter on the extended mind which was also the TMA. Their ‘paper’ had more holes in it than you would expect from an academic paper and the author does not seem to have moved his argument on in 15 years or so since it was published.

Politics : Excellent, interesting and useful for my next course. Challenges your ideas of both egalitarianism and libertarianism, and makes you questions your long held views. After reading this book, I’m really looking forward to my next course.

If there is a criticism of the course it is that it can be very compartmentalised and if you are short of time you can skip large chunks of reading in order to get the TMAs done and maybe not have to revisit the books again depending on what exam questions you pick.

The exam is another thing. Six books, two questions from each book, choose three questions to answer, but not from the same book, complete in three hours. Three hours is about as long an exam as it is possible to sit. I was OK after the exam but really fatigued later in the evening – it sort of caught up with me. So after writing TMAs that took hours of planning let alone writing, cobbling together an essay in an hour is never going to be up to the standard of a TMA. I am still thinking of things I should have added, but as I was basically writing for most of the three hours how could I have included these extra ideas.

So my advice to anybody thinking of doing this course is that it is a great course, but what you get out of it depends on what you put in (as with many things). It also helps if you have a good tutor and your regional forum is active – but don’t rely on that. Get stuck in to the reading early, note down all relevant theorists and ideas as revision notes from the word go. As you move through the course return to the previously read books and revision notes, all of the books either made more sense or became more obvious on second reading and there were some ideas and strands that worked across different books that you would not be aware of at the start. I will certainly try to do this for the next course, and it makes the revision not seem quite so daunting a task once the final TMA is out of the way.

So if you are going to study A222 – Exploring Philosophy, good luck, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Study Materials

I contacted the OU to ask when the study materials may be available for my next course, DD203, and received this reply.

"The course DD203, the materials are due to be dispatched week commencing 8 September, and the website will open on the 27 September."

I then asked if any of the learning materials for the forthcoming course, for which I have already paid, such as books or pdfs could be send out earlier. Their reply was.

"We would suggest you could try the website the University Book Search, to see if you can purchase any material for this course."

And indeed they are absolutely correct, as you can see from the image below it is possible to purchase some of the course materials from this website now.

So, as it appears that the OU are perfectly happy for me to purchase course materials from this website in advance of the course starting,  there can surely be no objections to receiving course materials for other sources before the 'official' course material is sent out on the 8th September. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

DD202 to be replaced by DD209

The Level 2 Economics course, DD202 - Economics and Economic Change, which is mandatory if you are studying for a PPE, is running for the last time in Feb 2012.

This will be replaced by DD209 - Running the Economy (Note: this is not Ruining The Economy) which will run for the first time in October 2013.

This, for me, is far more helpful as it means that I can finish DD203 in June and start DD209 in October, rather than have to try and study for two level 2 courses at the same time, or alternatively have a 8 month break from study.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Friday, 15 June 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Facebook Group Open

If you are studying DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality the level 2 Politics course starting this October, then you may be interested to know that there is now a Facebook Group open for that course.

The Facebook groups for DD101 and A222 were fun, interesting and good moral support, and at times more useful than the OU 'official forum', so if you are interested the link is here DD203 Facebook Group . It is a closed group but if you request to join I'm sure Karen will let you in :-)

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Well that's that then, exam and course over.

Well that's that then, exam and course over.

The exam went pretty well. Got there in good time, so no stress getting there and in and it was fairly comfortable in the room - there is nothing worse than being too hot or cold.

When the exam started I looked at the questions from Books 1,2, and 6 and 1, 3,and 12 jumped out. Didn't even look at questions 5,6,7,8,9 and 10, and I have no idea what there were or if my backups of abortion or Nagel and his bat came up.

So to the questions.....

Q1. Was am I the same person who started the module. 
So obvious questions with Parfit and Locke, although they got everything I had and references to Plutarch, Hobbs, Reid, Hume, Kant, Butler, Mackie & Taylor - I have no idea if this is a good idea, but I don't know what else to do - If I knew it, whoever marks it will now know I knew it. I think I made sense and wrote pretty well for most of the first hour.

Q3. Problem of Evil. 
Couldn't have been better - which doesn't mean I had a brilliant answer, but it was a great question. They got it all again - first the reasons to believe, then Epicuras, then the excuses for Evil then a conclusion. Again, wrote for pretty much the hour.

Q12. About Economic equality and self interest. 
This was a bit more left field....... Started with Rawls, contrasted with Nozick, added Dworkin, Kymlicka and a touch - just a touch - of Anderson and rambled a bit. Not the best answer but the one I'd revised to give - the other question was obligation and I knew I was better at this one.

I wrote on every other line in an attempt to help the marker read it. Paragraphs would start neat and easy to read and then get gradually worse until I noticed and reset myself. Ended up effectively filling the main answer book and 2 subsidiary books - so 32 pages of double space, roughly 16 pages normal, but big writing, so say 3 to 4 normal persons hand writting per answer.

The website says,

Overall module result

Your module result should be available by Friday 3 August 2012.

So, I guess that is it until about the 3rd August.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy - Revision Done for tomorrows exam.

First OU exam tomorrow, and its been quite some time since I sat an exam of any sort that requires 3 hours of hand writing.

So I guess it is now about turning up on time, not panicking, reading the questions properly and hoping the ones I want come up - and if not having a good stab at whatever is there.

If there is one thing I have learned from this experience it is not to leave the revision to the last minute, or even until after the last TMA, but to do a little and often through the year. Easy to say, harder to do, but I'll certainly try and remember this for my next course. 

So tomorrow.......

Book 1 'Self' - fairly happy to see any questions about "Is there an inuring self" or "Personal Identity across life" - Locke was in the TMA, so only leaves specific questions on Hume or Parfit and if so I'd take Parfit.

Book 2 'Religion' - bring it on, "Problem of Evil", "Miracles and Experiences" or "Reasons to believe" would all be OK, just got to ensure I answer the question fully and in the way they want.

Book 6 'Politics' - far happier with the second half of the book, so anything about egalitarianism, libertarianism, Rawls, Nozick, Dworkin and Anderson would be great. Less happy with Obligation and political dissent.

But most importantly I must keep reminding myself that I am supposed to be doing this for FUN, nothing disastrous will happen if I do badly and there is no great reward for doing well, so the biggest challenge may be to go there and ENJOY the experience......

So 'Good Luck' to everyone sitting the exam tomorrow, 
I hope the questions are kind to you.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Book 2 'Religion'

Early start this morning, which means I may get to watch some more football this evening....... not sure my priorities are in the right order...... oh well.... on to the last book,


polytheism, pantheism, theism, atheism, fideism

Blaise Pascal's Wager, William James,

Reasons To Believe in God
1. Personal Experience
2. Hstory
3. The Way the World Is
4. The nature of the idea (ontological argument)

Way The World Is
1. Argument from Design (teleological argument)
2. Fact the world exists at all (cosmological argument)
3. Existence of orders of causes -Aquinas's Second Way.

World like a machine adjusted to an accuracy that ravishes in to admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. ANALOGY Machines have creators, so must the world.

Watch on the heath. Precise organisation and function. same basic ANALOGY.

Discredited creationalist moron. Proof of God within evolution.......

Proof of God as a prerequisite to evolution - DNA / RNA.

Proof of God as creator of the world.

If God created the Earth, who created God. Is the God of this creation a God we would recognise?

Problem of Evil - Epicuras
If God is all powerful and all loving, why is there evil.
1. He doesn't interfere with the natural processes.
2. He hides his face to give humans choice
3. To give people a desire to put things right.

i. 2+2=4 God can not change this, so he is not all powerful.
ii.Freewill Defense
iii. Why can't God design  humans that do good things.
iv. Future Hope Defense - It will all be OK in the end.... whenever that is.

Acts of God
Arguments for God's existence from miracles.

Miracles "violation of the laws of nature by the immediate interposition of a deity" Hume

Hume - It is never rational to believe a report of a miracle,
i. How many witnesses
ii. Do they have a vested interest in being believed.
iii. Are they of sufficient character.

Proof v. Proof
Confidence in the reporter can be high, but the unlikely event means confidence should be low, so cancels out. Violation of a law of nature - confidence should be non-existant.

Hume - Which is less unlikely, that someone misinterpreted or misrepresented what they experienced ? or that a miracle occurred?

i. Past experience not perfect in predicting the future.
ii. More often it happens the more reliable
iii. reliability of reports depends on past reliability
iv. Person's character can be unreliable in many ways.

Miracles - other arguments.
1. Those reporting have in general low credibility
2. Passion of surprise and wonder an agreeable emotion
3. Reports from backward cultures
4. Different religions have miracles - so cancel out.

Sillyness v. Selectiveness.

Religious Experience
1. Not just a sense of God, anything wonderful or morally positive.
2. Should make you a better person.
3. Culturally bound.
4. Comes with interpretations that can differ.

Parallels of argument to Miracles

Miracles                              Experience
Hume's Argument               Should be rejected because it
                                            doesn't fit in to Scientific explanation
selective-ness                      selective-ness

agreeable emotion               it has a scientific and not religious explanation

i. We can explain belief in miracles without supposing they happened.
ii. silly, sentimental and self-serving
iii. Chapman and Suttcliffe experience
iv. Why would God have silly and sinister experiences.
v. Cultural differences show experience are man made.

That has ended up as a bit of a ramble through the book, but it is there in essence, and I'm quite happy for a question on Pascal's Wager 'cos as my son said,

"Well if you apply that sort of slack thinking to everything, the government would be building anti-alien attack missile silos and safety bunkers, and we'd have a dragon trap in the back garden, just in case, you never know, can't be too sure, better safe than sorry and all fact better strengthen the front door there may be a YETI collecting for charity and you know how hard they knock on doors...."

I'm not sure he's helped matters.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Book 1 'The Self'

Today's big decision - just stick to revising three books. I am pretty happy with the three books that I have chosen, so concentrating on them must be better than 'wasting time' on back-up questions...... I don't think this is a gamble, but time will tell :-)

So the theorists to remember from Book 1:

Plutarch & Hobbs
Ship Of Theseus, what is identity anyway ? Qualitatively v. numerically identical.

Man, Person, Substance, Soul,
Personal identity important in matters of moral responsibility and the day of judgement.
Issues of PRAISE and BLAME, mainly retrospective
5 thought experiments: Prince/Cobbler, DayMan/NightMan, Drunk/Sober Man, Detached Little Finger, Mayor of Quinborough,

Reid's challenge through Boy-YoungOfficer-General,

Mackie says that rather than just being retrospective knowing that we will be a day of judgement in the future should/may influence out behaviour now to make a better life for a future self. How does this change if we are a different person in the future through memory loss ?

Self is a fiction. No evidence of an enduring self when we reflect on our experience.
Empiricist and skeptic
Ideas and impressions, giving perceptions and experiences.
How could you have the idea of colour or taste without an impression
Bundle Theory of Self
Impressions vivid - ideas faint
Hume's Fork If an idea is neither derived from an impression or true by definition then it is worthless and 'can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion'

Butler said there was an unchanging self and that it was primitive, and we are all conscious of our continued personal identity. We can perceive a continuing soul.

Hume Cont.
Complex ideas can be made from multiple impressions. The idea of a  Snowy Mountain having the impression of snow and the impression of a mountain.
The Self is a simple idea, a faint copy of the original impression, but there is no impression.
Impressions, heat, pain, taste, pleasure, grief - no single impression gives the idea of self.
You do not survive death.
Theatre of the Mind - with ideas and impessions passing across it.

Kant - self was a structural notion. There has to be a self to have a thought. There must be an 'I' to have an 'I think'. - Descartes ?

Hume Cont.
The experience of perceiving an unchanging object (a stone) and that of perceiving an object that through a series of linked stages changes somewhat can be very similar. So we describe things that succeed each other as one identical thing, but this is a mistake.

Thought experiments, Split Brain, Teletransporter,
Are we the same person as we were when we were 8, or that we shall be when we are 80.
Like Locke psychological continuity matters.
Like Hume has thought experiments that ow the self is an illusion.
Survival is the important thing.
Parfit says we have various successive 'selfs', some of which are so distantly related we should not care for them. Phases of a single life.
Parfit wonders if we should worry about death, as it will not be our present self that dies but a different future self in which, depending on when death happens, some, all or none of the present self will exist.

Taylor's criticism of Parfit - we have to understand ourselves in terms of our WHOLE life's experiences, attitudes,concerns, as a life narrative so that we can make sense of ourselves. We are not like a car..... There is a relationship between our sense of self and questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives.

So, it is a matter now of getting a good question, interpreting and answering it correctly and not panicking and forgetting everything........

Monday, 11 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Book 6 Politics

My wife went for an OU exam today and she said there was roughly 30% no-shows.  It seems a bit of a waste of money and time not to at least have a stab at the exam.

So with that in mind, it has been a fairly good revision of Book 6.

And the names to remember are :

Plato                 - Obligation, parental, fairplay, contract,
Nozick               - Free-Riding, no obligation through benefits
Locke & Hobbs   - consent tacit and implicit
Hume                 -unconscious man carried aboard a ship
Rawls                 - original position, veil of ignorance, two principals,
                           difference principal
Kymlicka           - difference principal allows the lazy to get resources
                           from the productive
Nozick               - Re-distribution is forced labour,
Dworkin             - Luck Egalitarianism distribution should be
                           choice-sensitive and luck-insensitive.
Anderson           - Democratic Egalitarianism, equal moral worth, judgements
                            about responsibility are abandoned.

So on to Book 1 again tomorrow.....

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy - Final Revision Plan.

Well the Spain v. Italy and Ireland v. Croatia matches effectively put a stop to any revision tonight.

Final Exam Revision Plan.

Monday Night:
Watch France - England (miss Ukraine - Sweden) then study Book 6 Politics.

Tuesday Night:
Watch Greece - Czech Rep (miss Poland - Russia) then study Book 1 Self

Wednesday Night:
Watch Denmark - Portugal (miss Holland - Germany) then study Book 2 Religion

Thursday Night:
Watch Italy - Croatia (miss Ireland - Spain) read through all notes so far.

Friday Night:
Euro2012 football viewing schedule returns to normal.

On top of this, I can probably get an hour and a half of listening to the audios to and from work each day, and then to the exam. Plus 4 lunch hours of reading.

Ah, I'm sure this will be plenty - it had better be, its all a bit too late now otherwise :-)

A222 - Exploring Philosophy - Too many distractions.....

Back from a great week walking the West Highland Way. The weather was great, the scenery was spectacular and I feel mentally refreshed and ready to study.

At least I did fee ready to study until I released that there are 2 football matches a night   this week for Euro2012.

So, this is terrible scheduling by the OU, they should keep all exams clear of football tournaments, league games, friendlies, the Jubilee celebrations, school holidays, the Olympics, the Para-Olympics, the Edinburgh Fringe, Wimbledon, my birthday ...... oh... I see their problem.........

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Revision in chaos

Walking the West Highland Way is a really bad revision tactic. While I have had loads of time to think, i've had very little time to read. Still there is this weekend and all of next week to go .......

Thursday, 31 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Exam Revision & Website Audios

It may seem a bit late in the day to be discovering this, but the website audios are really good revision material.

Going back and re-reading the early books has really brought some aspects of the course to life. I don't know if this is because the first read was really all about getting the TMA written, or if having read it, left it, thought about it and then re-read it's falling in to place and making sense a bit more.

The other observation is that with the books having been re-read, there is probably an awful lot of information in the audios now to get you through most of the exam. They certainly cover a great many of the important philosophers and ideas in an accessible way, and a way that you can engage with while driving, cycling or walking.

So tomorrow all the relevant audios are going on to the iPod shuffle and will be pretty much the only thing I intend to listen to for the next two weeks.

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Last tutorial of the course.

I was unable to attend the tutorial at the weekend, so the on-line tutorial this evening was the last 'official' interaction with this course.

It covered most of what had been done at the weekend, and was all about study and exam technique, so nothing earth-shattering, but worth doing for the odd snippet of new information.

The revision forum on the website seems to have taken off, so that is another good source of ideas, however it doesn't really matter now, it is all about cramming for 3/4 books and hoping that good questions come up.

I am however surprised at some people's study choices, for me, Book 1 is obvious as it was short and had a fairly small number of philosophers and ideas to grasp. Book 2 Religion, bread and butter really, been arguing about this all my life. Book 6, Politics, most recently covered and considering I am aiming for a PPE, fairly obvious, although the more taxing of my choices.

Ethics, Knowledge and the Mind, all seem far more complicated and difficult.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Exam Study Continues

The exam revision forum has finally started and a helpful tutor has put some additional example questions on the board. This has been very useful as it has cemented by revision choices.

Knowledge - is just not for me, Descartes Cognito was fine, the rest.......... er no.
Mind - the TMA was pretty unconencted to the rest of the book, so appart from the last paragraph as a back-up, I'll give that a miss also.
Ethics - Bentham and Mill were in the TMA, but this is just too tricky a subject, except maybe the Abortion chapter which seems to sit on its own as a good backup.

So for me the revision will be below, already had a good read of Books 1 & 2 and an pretty usre I have identified the main philosophers, arguments and ideas - just got to get this committed to memory now.

Phone tutorial this week, so lets see what that throws up......

Book 1 The  Self
1 What Am I  Ship of Thesius, 3 Thought Experiments
2 Locke             Self through continuity of memory
3  Hume              Bundle Theory
4 Parfit             Transporter Thought Experimetns, split Brain.

Book 2   Religion
1 Aquinas             First Cause, 3 reasons to belive,
2 Cleanthis & Paley Classic Design
3  Modern Versions  Problem of Evil, design in evolution, before evolution and to make the cosmos. Epicurus problem with evil.
4  Acts of God  Hume on miracles, parallel with experience.

Book 6  Politics
1 Obligations
2 Consent & Consiquences
3 Distributive Justice
4 Justice and Equality

Book 3 Ethics
4. Abortion IX 9, Reading 4, Reading 5

Book 5  Mind
4 Consciousness IV 12, additional reading

Friday, 25 May 2012

A222 -Exploring Philosophy : Exam Revision Book 2 'Religion'

So.... on to revision notes for Book 2 - Religion.

I have also had a look through the Forum discussions and copied the end of book summaries from the tutors, along with some of the more interesting  posts, to add to the overall revision reading - different perspectives are always useful.

Now considering that the TMA covered the argument from design with Hume, Paley, Behe and the modern theory of evolution, and the example exam paper has the questions.......

PART II The Philosophy of Religion
Question 3 ‘Religious faith does not need reasoned justification.’ Do you agree?
Question 4 Does the testimony of those who claim to have witnessed miracles show that there is a God?

I am leading towards focusing most of the revision towards the Question of Evil......

It might be a bit of a gamble but I can't see how it won't come up, but I'll also look at miracles and re-read the argument from design just in case..... so somehow now back to studying the whole book...... Doh!!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Exam Revision Book 1 'The Self'

This should be the easiest book to revise, it is the shortest, and after the introductory chapter in which the only real thing worth discussion was the 'Ship of Theseus', the second chapter was Locke and covered in the TMA, which leaves the chapters on Hume and Parfit.

I have gone over the book and summarised it in to headings which should jog the memory. I will look at the whole book, but you have to think that with two questions on this topic, one of them has to be on Hume or Parfit.

It has not been easy getting motivated to start this revision, at least the last book is still fresh in my mind so that may take some of the pressure off.....

On Line Tutorial next week, so hopefully a bit more of a steer from the tutor then.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Week 34

19 May

Revision week

That is the end of the "learning" part of the course, which is a mile stone of sorts, so on with the revision.

Somebody on the Facebook group is having a good go at organising  on-line revision groups, so good luck to him, I hope it takes off it seems like a great idea.

If you are interested in the Facebook group and are studying A222 you can request to join the group, they are here.

  Examination advice and tips

Friday, 18 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : TMA06 Marked and Returned

That was quick !!!

I'm really pleased to get this TMA mark back so quickly as I can now move on to get some revision done without repeatedly checking the website to see if the mark is in yet. I do find it really difficult to move on to another part of the course with a marked TMA still outstanding.

Another solid Pass 2, which is good as I spent a lot less time on this than other TMAs, which is not to say I didn't put much effort in, I did. But rather that in the other TMAs I spent a lot of time on editing and re-wording the essay, which in the final analysis probably added little to the essay.

I did get marked down for not putting both sides of the argument, but as we were supposed to be proving one premise false (or so I thought) there wasn't much room for both sides of the story. However, if I did it again I would write something like "While is it understandable that there is a view that says that States with inequalities are unjust due to ................. This essay disagrees with that point of view and will show that states with inequalities can indeed be just." or something like that. At least acknowledge there is an alternative point of view.

Anyway, so it now means that the final course mark is reliant solely on the exam which is a frightening thought, as with the TMAs there was always the possibility of recovering from one bad score, but one 'bad day at the office' with the exam will sort of blight the course.....forever.... (is that a bit too dramatic).

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Better Exam Revision Information

A fellow A222 student on the Facebook Group has received a very useful set of revision tips from their tutor, there is a link to that post below.
A222 Facebook Group

It does seem however that there is a great deal of variation between what advice is available from tutors which seems a little unfair, as that is surely what a great deal of the course fees are paying for.

Hopefully, mine will come good with similar information shortly.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Plan for Exam Revision

Now I need to check this with my tutor, but looking at the six books below and marking the areas covered by the TMAs in RED it then becomes easier to see where the revision effort should be targeted and for me which books to avoid.

The the subjects I intend to revise are in GREEN and the ones I intend to ignore are just WHITE  

Book 1 - Self. I was marked down for no sticking strictly to Lockefor the TMA, so I have already read pretty deeply in to the Chapters of Hume and Parfit and they don't seem that difficult, maybe because it was the first book and they were leading us in gently. so Hume and Parfit are a given.

Book 2  - The TMA pretty much took up the best part of the first three chapters, leaving only the problem of evil and Acts of God, so this should be a fairly confined section, and if it does stray in to evolution versus delusion then even better.

Book 3 - There is just too much non-TMA material to cover, although it may be worth giving Kant and Abortion a quick read as a back-up to the back-up.

Book 4 - AVOID

Book 5 - Dualism seemed straight forward, functionalism and ID theory was OK, and consciousness would seem the obvious question.

Book 6 - Just had to read all of it so it is fresh in my mind.

So this is my attempt at breaking down the books and chapters in to identifiable subject areas.

Book 1   Self 1 What Am I
Ship of Thesius, 3 Thought Experiments

2 Locke
V 1, Reading 1, Reading 2

3 Hume
V 3 (6 paragraphs),

4 Parfit
V 5, V 6, Reading 3

Book 2   Religion 1 Aquinas
VI 2

2 Cleanthis & Paley
VI 6

3 Modern Versions

Problem of Evil

4 Acts of God
VI 7

Book 3   Ethics 1 Plato - Why Be Just
VIII 1, Reading 1, Reading 2.

2 Bentham & Mill
IX 7, VIII 6, Reading 3

3 Kant

4 Abortion
IX 9, Reading 4, Reading 5

Book 4   Knowledge 1 Descartes
I 4, I 7,

2 Hume on Induction
VII 5,

3 Popper

4 Khun
VII 12, Reading 2,

Book 5   Mind 1 Descarters / Dualism
I 4, IV 4,

2 Functionalism, ID theory
IV 11, additional reading

3 Extended Mind

4 Consciousness
IV 12, additional reading

Book 6   Politics 1 Obligations
X 1, Reading 1,

2 Consent & Consiquences
X 4, X 5, Reading 2,

3 Distributive Justice
VIII 10, Reading 3,

4 Justice and Equality
X 10, X 12, Reading 4

So I'll ignore completely Book 4, not worry too much about Book 3 and try and stick to this study plan below - ONCE I'VE CHECKED WITH THE TUTOR.