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View Diary: Florida Bill To Attack Philosophy (241 comments)

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  •  another way (4.00)
    I have them use primary sources instead. My concern with having them write only on historiography is that it reinforces that in a debate, one simply chooses side -- rather than having to weigh evidence.

    So I ask them to take a side and argue it but make clear that the grade is on how well they use the most reliable and relevant primary sources.

    If they chose to use outside sources (like say the Bible for a paper on Locke's idea of tolerance) I can talk to them about whether or not this is the most reliable source for this topic. (Not a foolproof approach: The one student who did use the Bible for this dropped my class the next day.)

    •  great idea (none)
      i am a college sophomore, in the honors program at a medium sized jesuit institution. i have been challenged by the profs ive had to read plato, aristotle, marcus aurelius, gilgamesh, caesar, and cicero, and that was just in one semester. it was hard, but i learned a lot more about how to think and how to weigh evidence from the paper topics like "what caused the fall of the roman empire?" than i might if i was asked to rephrase gibbon's thesis or something like that. primary sources are a great way to go. certainly reading secondary sources helps in the analysis, especially of literature, but a liberal arts education should be about learning to think, not gaining knowledge.

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