Chapter Summary


During “Participation” weeks, each student is expected to post at least three times in the course Blog Section. Two of these must be questions about the assigned readings from the previous “Reading” week and one must be a response to classmates’ posts, for a total of three posts per “Participation” week. Your two questions must be posted in your own personal blogs that you will create (each new blog) every other week.

The first post of the Participation week must be a question about the readings, not a response to a classmate’s post. Questions must show familiarity with the assigned readings and must be specific, not open-ended. For example, “What do you guys think?” is too open-ended and non-specific, which makes it hard for the rest of us to write effective responses. Questions should also suggest a possible analysis of the reading or a line of inquiry to be developed by commentators. As a result, question posts should be at least paragraph length. Commenting on another student’s blog post (either an original question post -OR- a comment to an original post) should develop and enrich the points in the post; helpful and respectful criticism is welcomed. As a result, comments should be roughly paragraph in length or more. Students will not earn credit for posts of insufficient quality. To receive credit, posts must be intellectually valuable, encourage further discussion, and draw support from at least one reference to the assigned readings from the previous “Reading” week. Students will not receive credit for posts such as “Good idea!” and “I agree with you!”

The purpose of each post should be to help each other better understand the arguments made in the assigned readings and how to apply those arguments to real-world situations. I will comment on some posts in order to help the class to understand better certain ideas. Feedback will also be given on your individual blog posts. You should monitor all posts to improve your understanding of the material.

Note: In an online environment, it is tempting to write in the kind of shorthand we often see in text messages, blogs, etc. Please note that for our course this is not acceptable. Blog posts are considered formal writing, so they must be written in complete sentences with a minimum of spelling and grammatical errors. Blog posts that are not written in complete sentences or that contain excessive spelling or grammatical mistakes will not receive full credit. Additionally, in an online environment, it is tempting for some to be less courtesy. You are expected to be courtesy and respectful to each other and me. Inappropriate posts will be monitored and sanctioned (See Code of Conduct).

“Participation” weeks open at 12:05 AM on Monday mornings and close at 11:55 PM on Sunday nights.

To encourage ongoing discussions, no more than one post per day in the Blog section will be selected for grading. To be clear, if a student creates four posts on a single day, only one of them will be graded. This means that students must post on at least three different days in order to receive full credit for a “Participation” week.

TO ACCESS OTHER STUDENTS’ BLOGS: In the upper right hand corner, your name or a name should be listed. Click on the name and other students’ names will drop down. Click on a name to see the posted blog question and blog responses.

TO CREATE YOUR OWN BLOG QUESTION: In the upper left/middle of the page, click on Createe Blog Entry button. For each question, please create a separate blog entry. So, each of your two questions are required to be posted in separate blog entries.

Students must post at least three times per “Participation” week. Students who post less than three times per “Participation” week will receive a maximum of half credit for the posts they do create.

Below are examples of two questions and one response from previous courses:

Question Posts: Samples

1.) From the very first objection, in “Third Set of Objections”, Descartes’ responses are shown to be usually quick and final. I was surprised to find that Hobbes wrote these objections from the introduction in one of the other readings, it’s interesting to see them discuss Descartes’ Meditations.

I found “Against Meditation II” one of the most interesting, because it covers the “I think, therefore I am,” argument that I believe Descartes is famous for. In the second objection, Hobbes criticizes Descartes’ deduction that the subject in “I am thinking…it follows that I am,” is “…a mind, or soul, or understanding, or reason” (76). He discusses that Descartes’ second meditation did not address an action separate from the thing itself that causes the action. In a response from Descartes, he defends himself by clarifying the relationship between acts and the objects themselves. He then defends himself to a third objection, clarifying his phrasing and stating that “modes of thinking are within me” (78). Hobbes’ last objection details that Descartes failed to clarify the difference between imagining and conceiving with the mind/reasoning adequately enough. Descartes explains that examples he provided show the difference, and further demonstrates that Hobbes is ignoring the semantics of his arguments. He asks, “…why does he not want our reasonings to be about this something which is signified rather than about mere words?” (79). Do you think that Hobbes’ objections of Descartes’ second Meditation had some other merits that Descartes did not address? Are there any objections you would offer to this Meditation (Meditation II: Concerning the Nature of the Human Mind)?

Cited: Descartes’ “Third Set of Objections with the Author’s Replies” 76-79

2.) Zeno of Elea is cited as having challenged the “seemingly incontrovertible evidence of our senses” (66) via his famous “paradoxes” or arguments as they are described in the provided reading. The reading focuses on Zeno’s four arguments concerning motion and Aristotle’s interpretation of these arguments in Physics. My attention was held by Aristotle’s descriptions of arguments two and three. The second argument I will discuss now and the third I will discuss in my following post. Aristotle’s interpretation of Zeno’s second argument. The Achilles (68), describes a slower entity that can never be caught be their faster pursuer based on the Zeno’s concept Aristotle refers to as “the Dichotomy” (69). However, If it is the case that Zeno describes the entities as either slower or faster in the way Aristotle suggests, wouldn’t labeling each entity with a relative speed invalidate Zeno’s original notion that there is no motion as speed itself is a relationship between distance and time? To assign one entity as being faster than another admits that a rate of change exists, this admission seems to me to undermine Zeno’s position. Is there something I have overlooked to reach this conclusion?

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