Throughout the semester, you will make weekly substantial contributions to a collaborative document housed on inspire-lab’s google drive. This document will collect together collaboratively-authored discussion questions, key critical terms and definitions, helpful passages from secondary and primary sources, as well as tentative claims we’re testing out in anticipation of writing longer, critical essays.

During the first two weeks of the semester, we’ll develop five key terms and questions that we’ll return to again and again as we undertake our course reading. Later on the semester, we’ll also use the document to create a list of philosophers to read and summarize.

As we’re reading primary texts, we’ll use the collaborative document to prepare for our in-class discussions.  Before each class session, then, you’ll want to work on the document to create:

  • 3-5 discussion questions we can address in class together
  • 3-5 key passages we should discuss
  • 2-4 key theoretical terms and definitions either taken from or inspired by secondary readings or independently-conducted research that we can apply to (or redefine based on) our readings of primary materials or
  • 2-4 sets of claims/counterclaims (2 parts to each set) that offer a critical take on the assigned primary text. Think of these as 3-5 first-attempt thesis statements that are productively conceived as such because they can be met with a reasonable, disagreeing response.

Each of these should be collaboratively written, which means that although one student may take the brave first step of drafting a question, term, or claim or supplying a passage, other students may certainly revise and refine that draft. Certainly, work on one item in the list will lead to other work (a discussion question might help to identify a passage; a passage might help to lead to a key term, etc). You should consult this document regularly and avoid repeating the work done by your peers. You can skip one week of contributions, but more than one missed week will compromise your grade on the assignment. Edits to the collaborative document need to be finalized weekly on the Tuesday evening before class meets so that everyone will have time to review the document in preparation for our discussions on Wednesdays.