Unit 1: Discussion
Actions for Unit 1: Discussion
Must post first.
In this Critical Thinking Enhanced course, discussion questions will give you the opportunity to actually do philosophy. You’ll find that participating in the discussion will sometimes require you to go back and reread portions of the readings. In order to understand philosophy, you will need to read the material several times. The language and style will likely be very different from what you’re used to (I still have to re-read some passages). Philosophy is often argumentative, but don’t let that put you off; the challenge is to think about the readings and develop careful, thoughtful responses.
You must make your first post before you’ll be able to see and respond to those of your classmates.
Discussion 1:
This activity will help you develop stronger essay-writing skills. It divides short essays into four components:

1. State your thesis.
(What do you want to say/prove? “I will argue that…”)
2. Elaborate on your thesis.
(How else would you say what you want to say/prove? “In other words, …”)
3. Give reasons for others to accept your thesis.
(Why should anyone believe you? Note: “It is my opinion” is not a sufficient or acceptable response in this context.)
4. State the implications of your thesis.
(What follows if you are right? “If all this is correct, …”)

In this activity, you will practice by applying this structure to someone else’s argument.
Read Bertrand Russell’s article, “Appearance and Reality” found here:

Use the following template to explain Russell’s article in 200-400 words:


Russell argues that… (this is his overall conclusion)

In other words, … (rewrite the overall conclusion, elaborating or defining terms)

He thinks this is true because, … (use an example other than a table)

If Russell is right, this implies that… (in this section, explain what Russell probably thinks this means for our everyday lives).[For all discussions:
Be civil. Personal attacks will not be tolerated and can affect your grade. If you cannot respond with a cool-head, sleep on it before responding, or do not respond at all. Antagonistic or mean-spirited comments will be deleted.