Tuesday, June 10, 2008

term papers

In case you were wondering why the blog silence, I'm writing my term papers. I have three subjects this semester, so that's three 5,000 word term papers*: one for Moral Psychology, which I'm writing on integrity and conscientious dissent; one for Value Theory, which I'm writing on the role of endorsement in an account of agency; and one for Ecology and Environmentalism, which I'm writing on the views of nature enacted through a particular carbon offset program. Anyone feel like helping by looking over drafts in the next few weeks?

*I know, 5,000 words is pretty short. That's the problem. For instance: the rough draft of my Moral Psychology paper was 12,000 words, and I've only managed to cut it down to 7,500 so far. Philosophy professors like challenging their students by giving a really short word limit, and then forcing the students to condense their arguments on these really huge topics until they are practically black holes of rationality. While I appreciate tight rationale as much as anyone, I think this short-length practice leads to more inaccessible, dichotomous, argumentative, rigid, and unrealistic thought than is necessary. How can you reflect the messy realities of life in ten pages or less? I had to cut my entire section on oppression from the Moral Psychology paper, which pained me. And I'll have to leave out an explanation of how carbon offsets work from my Ecology and Environmentalism paper, making what I write understandable only to someone who's already familiar with the process. But that's all a discussion for another time.