(Edited after 2/09/15 snow day.)

UMass Philosophy 398W – Junior Year Writing

Spring 2015 – Prof. Kevin C. Klement (Call me “Kevin”.)

Course description: This course aims to improve your writing skills. Because it is aimed at philosophy majors, the focus is on writing well about abstract and controversial topics.

Conditions for enrollment: This course may only be taken by Junior (or Senior) philosophy majors, and, in Spring 2015, must be taken in conjunction with Philosophy 321: History of Modern Philosophy.

Contact info: My office is 358 Bartlett. My office hours are Mondays 4–5pm and Wednesdays 12:15–1:15pm and by appointment. My office phone is (413) 545-5784. My email address is klement@philos.umass.edu.

This course also has a teaching assistant. His name is Thomas Shea. His office is 359 Bartlett. You may contact Thomas at tshea@umass.edu.

Readings: In addition to the readings for Phil 321, the only required reading for this course is Jim Pryor’s Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper. Additional reference works covering citations, grammar, etc., will be made available through Moodle.

Web pages: We have a “public” site at http://courses.umass.edu/klement/398w/. More important is our Moodle site, which has links to a variety of writing resources. This is also where you submit your writing drafts (see below). Log in at https://moodle.umass.edu.

Requirements and grading: This is a mandatory pass/fail course. To pass, you must do the following, for each of the three papers assigned for Philosophy 321:

  1. When the paper is first assigned, schedule an appointment to meet with Thomas Shea to go over a first draft. The appointment should be some time in the two weeks prior to its due date for Philosophy 321.
  2. Complete your first draft the day before your meeting with Thomas and submit it electronically through the Moodle page for Phil 398W.
  3. Bring a paper copy when you meet with Thomas. Listen to his advice and take notes.
  4. Rewrite your paper, preferably from scratch, taking into account Thomas’ suggestions.
  5. Submit the paper for Philosophy 321 in its Moodle page on or before the deadline set for that class. This is the draft that will be used in determining your grade for Philosophy 321.
  6. Submit a final draft to the Phil 398W Moodle site. Thomas must approve the changes made to this draft for you to get credit. An approved final draft must be submitted no later than a week after the Phil 321 due date for papers #1 and #2, and by the end of Finals Week (May 7th) for paper #3.

Note that this means that you will submit drafts of the same paper three times, twice to Thomas (through the Phil 398W Moodle site), once to Kevin (through the Phil 321 Moodle site). You may (but are not required to) use the same final draft for both courses; indeed, you are encouraged to meet with Thomas early. That way, you will have time to complete the improvements to your writings in time for submission for Phil 321.

However, please note that your paper will be evaluated using different criteria for the two courses. A paper that receives a high grade for Philosophy 321 for its philosophical content might still need lot of improvement in terms of its writing. A well-written paper may be lacking in philosophical content or understanding.

As a condition of continued enrollment in this course, you agree to submit all papers to the Turnitin service for textual comparison and originality review for the detection of possible plagiarism. All submitted assignments will be included in the UMass Amherst dedicated database of assignments at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism in the grading process during this term and in the future.

Final draft due dates (subject to change) : March 16th for Paper #1, April 15th for Paper #2, May 7th for Paper #3.