Tips for Intro to Philosophy Students

I sent these tips to my section students, but I think they apply pretty generally.

The readings and lectures give you a great opportunity to take in new ideas. The discussion sections and writing assignments give you the opportunity to try out your ideas. Often, ideas turn out to be harder than expected to put into words. That’s fine. A lot of what we’re doing is practicing the process of putting thoughts into words.

On that point, I suggest being adventurous in discussion. Explore different positions. Take positions. Don’t be afraid to change. Many of the questions we’ll be exploring are difficult to feel very confident in your answers. Nonetheless, taking some position may help you gain more from discussions.

Finally, simplicity and slowness both have plenty of uses in philosophy. Really break things down and work through things slowly so you can clearly see each move being made.

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