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.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : TMA06 Finished

I'm less confident in this essay than some of the others I have submitted, but I now have about 1,700 words and have covered everything I intend to. As anything other than a simple pass is just a vanity exercise (I know the band the TMA marks so far have put me in), it is probably best to cut and run and get on with revision, although until I get the mark back it is always difficult to move on to the next task.

I managed to reference Rawls, Noisack, Dworkin, Kymlicka and Anderson and find three valid objections to the second premise that covered a practical real world view, and also from the egalitarian and libertarian perspectives, so hopefully successfully objected from all possible view points.

I'll leave it a couple of days, then re-read and submit. In the mean time I should review again what I intend to cove for the exam. 

There is four weeks to go to the exam, I want to revise 4 possible books, so time to have a guess at what will be in it.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : TMA 06 and writers block

Third objection now thought through and completed. Fourth objection appears not to exist - so I'll stop looking for that.

Now at 1300 words and that is basically all I have to say on the essay. This is the first time this has happened, I'm usually struggling to get under the maximum word count.

I'm gonna leave it for a couple of days and see if anything else comes to mind, but it has to be bulked out somehow

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : TMA 06 underway, and its heavy going.

Its been a bit of  a motivational struggle to get the first 600 words down, but I guess that is the essay about a 1/3 of the way there.

     Into - Done

     Explanation of valid deductive arguments as it relates to this question - Done.

     First objection to Premise 2 - Pretty much done.

     Second objection - Not fully thought out.

     Third Objection - May not exist.

     Fourth Objection - Is but a dream.

     Conclusion - Already stated in Intro.

     References -  Are just a pain.

What else can I do to avoid writing essay apart from this blog - plenty, I'm just getting started avoiding this essay.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

DD203 - Power, Dissent, Equality : Registration Complete

Well its not the snappiest title, but I've now registered for,

DD203 Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics

which starts October 2012.


Luckily for me, the fees for this course come under the transitional fees arrangement, and are ONLY £735 for the 60 point unit. I say ONLY £735 as if I'd been starting this course now the full fees would have been £2,500 and I would not have been doing this course. 

 It is taking a lot to save for the £735 per 60 point course, £2,500 is simply unaffordable for those who are self-funding.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Revised Essay Plan

Luckily bellatrix left a comment on the post about the TMA06 Essay Plan pointing out that the assignment guide points out (if read properly) that you have to concentrate on one aspect of the argument - NOT BOTH.

The assignment guide says,

This question asks you to evaluate an argument. The argument has two premises and a conclusion. For the argument to be sound, the premises need to both be true and the inference from them to the conclusion needs to be valid.

You cannot possibly discuss every aspect of the argument in the space you have available. 

This final assignment is calling for you to give a focused discussion of one or two aspects of an argument and to explain the overall implications of your discussion for that argument. How you choose to focus is up to you. Here are two possibilities, for illustration:
  1. You may choose to argue that the first premise is false: citizens are sometimes obliged even to states that are broadly unjust. That by itself would be enough to show that the argument is unsound, so you would not need to discuss the second premise or the validity of the inference.
  2. You may think the argument is sound, but even then you don’t need to defend all parts of the argument in detail. You could, for example, pass quite quickly over the validity question and the first premise in order to focus on responding to a possible weakness in the second premise.
But as well as focusing on one or two specific aspects of the argument you must explain the implications of your discussion for the soundness of the argument as a whole. You should do this as you go along and in a separate ‘upshot’ paragraph at or near the end of your essay. In the two examples above, your upshot paragraph might include sentences like:
  1. ‘I have focused on trying to show that the first premise is false. If I am right, this is enough to show that the argument as a whole is unsound.’
  2. ‘I have used the space available to argue that an apparently quite strong objection to the second premise fails. A more substantial defence of the argument would need to consider other possible objections to this or the other premise, and to defend the validity of the inference from these premises to the conclusion.’
So, I need a revised essay plan.
As I don't really think I can argue against Premise 1, and I actually disagree with Premise 2, I guess I will be concentrating on arguing that Premise 2 is False and therefore the argument is Not Sound.

Perhaps this was something that may have been discussed at the tutorial I missed, oh well, thanks to bellatrix I should be on the right track now.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A222 - Exploring Philosophy : Unable to connect to Elluminate Tutorial

For some reason while I'm abroad I cannot connect to the Elluminate Tutorials. It was not too much of a surprise the first time as I had just sort of expected it to work and it didn't - that was about two weeks ago.

However the I.T. Dept have been wrestling with this problem since then and even they can't punch a hole through the Firewall or sort the proxy settings or whatever is wrong, so this will be the second online tutorial that I have missed.

Oh well, better get on with reading and studying Book 6 then.