This module provides intensive training in postgraduate-level writing and research. It’s primarily designed for MA philosophy students. First-year PhD students can request permission from the Course Instructor to attend the class.
In the course of the term, we will explore all the core aspects of philosophical writing—style, the creative and critical phases of writing, argument reconstruction, dialectical strategies, types of analytical essays, and more. We will take seriously the idea that writing is a practice—students are required to write regularly and to provide evidence of doing so. They are also required to attend all SPAH philosophy talks – typically, we have one every two weeks – so we can critically assess and learn from our visitors’ writing and presentation style.
Our weekly meetings will consist of two-hour common sessions and one-hour small-group tutorials. In our common sessions, we will work through the week’s reading, discuss some element of philosophical writing, and help each other develop works in progress. In our tutorial sessions, participants get feedback on the various assignments from their writing tutor or peers or both.
This module will not add significantly to your philosophical workload; it’s designed to help you develop your skills as a writer and researcher, as you make progress on your work for other modules. If you look at the assignments for this module, you will see that they are designed to scaffold the process of producing two postgraduate-level essays. (Students are also welcome to use this module to develop their PhD applications and funding proposals.)
In the ninth week of the term, students will share and critically discuss their essays in a writing workshop. They will then use the feedback from that workshop to improve their final essays, and in the last two weeks of the term, they will present their work to the entire group.