Internationale Akademie für Philosophie an der Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Common Seminar 2011-2, Thursdays 17.00-18.20 h
Those participants who live outside Chile should call at 16.55 h the Skype address ‘iap-puc1’.
Ética / Ethics
Content of this page
What kind of course is this?
This course is a seminar in which participants are required to give talks giving and defending an answer to a philosophical question. Another participant gives a response. An improved written version of the paper is to be submitted by the end of the seminar. Papers can be in Spanish or English.
See official course description (PDF)
See official course description (PDF)
Examination method: 2 oral presentations, and 2 papers (one major paper on the topic of oral presentation, of 2000 to 4000 words, one short response paper).
- Be on time. The sessions start at 17.00 h and finish at 18.20 h.
- The presentation of the main speaker is 20, maximally 30 minutes.
- The reply is 10, maximally 15 minutes.
- The speaker should give his manuscript to the commentator at least two days in advance. He should also send it to Paulina Martinez so that she can send it to all participants.
- The file with your text for the Common Seminar should be formatted so that it can be printed without waste of paper. That means: line distance: single spaced, margins not too big. For example: font size 11 (with a font with serifs, not Arial) and two columns, orientation landscape (then it looks like a book) or portrait, margins ca. 1,5 cm. Do not forget to switch on the hyphenation. And there must be page numbers.
- Produce a one page handout with your main claims. This will be printed for every participant. Additionally or instead you are encouraged to make a computer presentation.
- Read carefully what is written below about the content of the presentation. In particular:
- Say clearly in the beginning what the question is that you want to answer! Do not just say it once, but state it several times and explain it.
- Say clearly and several times what your claim is, that is, your answer to the question. Say this at the beginning of your talk and in the end.
- Do not mention any names of other authors! Just answer the question, investigate the object of your investigation, and discuss alternative views without interpreting other texts.
Choose a topic that can be formulated as a question, for example "What is the moral good?" Do not just present 'reflections' on some topic. At the beginning of your presentation, state that question clearly!
The speaker must present and defend what, after searching the truth, he believes to be true. Do not present other peoples' views. Do not mention any names, although reading many texts is necessary as a preparation. Do not approach the issue as if you were the first to think about it. If you find a claim in a text which you want to endorse do not just say who said what but put the claim forward as your claim. Do not say ‘Saint Thomas said that X’, but say: ‘X’. State it not in Aquinas' words but in your own words, understandable to the audience. Answer the question, analyse, and describe the things you are investigating, the ‘things in themselves’. Say how things are. If you find an argument in a text which you think is sound and you want to use it, do not just say who proposed which argument but use the argument yourself. Put it forward in defense of your view.
This means that the structure of your talk and text is determined by the logic of your claims and arguments. Do not structure your text with ‘Author A says first L, then M, author B says N ...’. Begin your talk with presenting the question or the object of your investigation. Then answer the question or analyse and describe the object of your investigation. Bring in the arguments which you find in the texts not in the order in which you find them in the authors, but use these arguments in your text when you need them in order to defend what you believe to be true.
One possible structure is:
- Say what the question is which you want to answer or what the object is which you want to describe
- Summarise what you believe to be true
- Say what you are going to say now
- Present preliminary doctrines and presuppositions and define terms
- Expand. Spell out your view
- Name the most important other views
- Defend your view against the most influential and against the strongest counter-arguments
- Give further arguments for your view
- Summarise what you have said and what your conclusion is
In your oral presentation in our meeting you may have to omit or shorten some of these parts. Concentrate on explaining and defending what you believe to be true. The written version which you submit should be more complete.
- Use footnotes to refer to important texts which express views or arguments which you defend or criticise. For example, when you give an argument add a footnote saying ‘A similar argument has been put forward by Reinach 1913, 72.’ A reference without comment may also be added in the text in brackets: (see Reinach 1913, 72). For more details, see Daniel von Wachter's Instructions on How to write a philosophical essay.
- Only in footnotes you should mention names of other authors and quote other texts. In the main text discuss arguments and views only in general. Formulate them with your own words and construe them in the best possible way. For example write: ‘Against this view one might argue ...’ In footnotes you can then for example write: ‘Swinburne (2001, 87) put forward an argument along these lines. He writes: ...’
- Add a bibliography giving the bibliographical data of all texts referred to. (This can be done most efficiently with bibliographical software, like Zotero or Bibus. At least if you write a thesis you should use this. Some programs are mentioned on http://tips.von-wachter.de.)
State the question clearly!
State your answer to the question and your main claims clearly and write them on a handout!
Mention no names!
Notes on the sessions
4.8.2011: Profesor Josef Seifert
11.8.2011: Profesor Carlos Casanova
18.8.2011: Profesor Daniel von Wachter: Does Goodness Depend on God?
See official course description (PDF).
Bibliography on moral realism, the belief-desire theory etc. at von-wachter.de
Bibliography on relativism etc. at von-wachter.de