Essay 1 – 30%
Due: Friday of week 5, 25 August
As the first essay in a third-year course on a difficult thinker, this assignment task is designed to gauge students’ ability to find their footing in the philosophical analysis of a primary text: individual critical reflection and argumentative reasoning are the priority here.
In an academic essay of around 2,000 words, address one of the following topics:
1) Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism has prompted renewed reflection on philosophy’s relationship with politics. What do you think this relationship should be? Support your position with reasons as well as relevant quotations from Heidegger’s writings.
2) Heidegger calls the human the uncanniest of all beings in Introduction to Metaphysics. Expound and evaluate his position.
3) What does Heidegger understand by “Dasein” in Being and Time? Why does he make Dasein his starting point for an inquiry into the meaning of Being?
4) Analyse Heidegger’s account of death in Being and Time.
Essay 2 – 60%
Due: Friday of week 13, 27 October
This essay is more heavily weighted since students will be expected to demonstrate that they have researched their chosen topic extensively.
Students must not only refer to the secondary literature but also engage with it critically by pointing out the weaknesses of a given commentator’s position, setting it in context and/or spelling out its implications.
In an academic essay of around 2,500 words, address one of the following topics:
1) Expound and analyse Heidegger’s treatment of the difference between derivative and existential temporality.
2) Discuss and evaluate Heidegger’s reading of Kant’s critique of the ontological proof of the existence of God.
3) Discuss and evaluate Heidegger’s essay “On the Essence of Truth”.
4) Heidegger’s thinking revolves around the question of being human and yet he is wary of the term “humanism”. Discuss and evaluate his reservations.
5) Discuss and evaluate Heidegger’s conception of nihilism.
6) Choose one of the four commentaries that we have read during the course (Carnap, Deleuze, Derrida and Nancy) and write an appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses as an interpretation of Heidegger.
Students are encouraged to devise their own essay topics, since self-directed research as an undergraduate is an excellent way to prepare for postgraduate study. Please consult the course convenor for approval of your chosen topic.
Assessment Rubric/Essay Standards
Exposition of issues
Conveys in a coherent manner a clear and profound comprehension of the issues.
|Conveys in a coherent manner a clear comprehension of the issues.||Conveys in a coherent manner a comprehension of the issues.||Conveys a comprehension of the issues.|
Exhibits skills associated with the philosophical analysis of texts, offering innovative and insightful interpretations.
|Exhibits skills associated with the philosophical analysis of texts, showing independence of thought.||
Exhibits some skills associated with the philosophical analysis of texts.
|Exhibits some reflection on the issues covered.|
Demonstrates detailed attention to and successful execution of a wide range of conventions particular to the academic essay in philosophy, including organisation, content, presentation, referencing, formatting and stylistic choices.
|Demonstrates consistent use of important conventions particular to the academic essay in philosophy, including organisation, content, presentation, referencing, formatting and stylistic choices.||
Follows expectations appropriate to philosophy and the academic essay for basic organisation, content, and presentation.
|Attempts to use a consistent system for basic organisation and presentation.|
|Citations and quotations||Demonstrates critically reflective use of relevant sources to advance argument.||Demonstrates reflective use of relevant sources to support position.||Demonstrates an attempt to use relevant sources to support position.||Demonstrates an attempt to use sources to support ideas in the essay.|
|Syntax, punctuation and vocabulary||Uses graceful language that communicates meaning with clarity and fluency and is virtually error-free.||Uses straightforward language that generally conveys meaning to readers.
The language in the essay has few errors.
|Uses language that generally conveys meaning to readers with clarity, although writing may include some errors.||Uses language that sometimes impedes meaning because of errors in usage.|
Weekly Questions/Comments – 10%
All students are expected to write before each week’s class a question/comment on the set reading. The class will break up into small groups to discuss these questions/comments. Each week’s question/comment should not exceed 100 words and should demonstrate an engagement with the reading. The task does not involve writing a summary of the reading. Showing that you have done the reading is not necessarily the same as showing that you have understood it. If you can say what it is about a text that you find confusing, you will be demonstrating your engagement with it. Think about the use of terms, the cogency, basis and direction of arguments, and the connection with other texts/authors.
By the end of week 13 you will have to upload to Moodle all your questions in a single document, at which time the course convenor will review the questions and assign a grade. Without a copy of the questions no grade can be awarded.
If you are unsure of what is expected for this task, please feel free to e-mail the convenor with your questions/comments early in the semester. This is an opportunity to obtain feedback on your progress in the course from week 1