HONR 219Q: Perspectives on the Cosmos: From the Ancient Philosophers to Modern Science

Course Work

Weekly Reading Responses
One page written response to assigned reading. A good response will include a concise description of the topic covered, and your reaction to it. Your reaction should be critical (though not necessarily negative) and may be emotional (do you find the idea compelling? stupid?), but must be well argued. To help focus your response, a particular question related to the reading may be posed.
Group Discussions.
Considerable class time will be devoted to discussion. You may use your Reading Response as the launching point for your contribution to the discussion.* We will also pose specific questions to debate, and discuss some issues in small groups prior to wider class discussion.
Term project, culminating in a term paper and an oral presentation.
Term paper: 10 pages, on a topic of your choice.**
Oral presentation: 10 minute talk to the class.***
Midterm and Final Exams.
Exams will be a mixture of essays, fact based knowledge, and challenges of critical reasoning.

Grading and due dates:

10% Participation in Class Discussions****
20% Reading Responses
weekly, as assigned: 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/4, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22
20% Midterm exam
March 11, in class
20% Term paper**
Due May 6. Select a topic by April 8.
10% Oral presentation***
20% Final exam
date & time TBD

*For the terribly shy: don't worry, this is not onerous. With 20 people in the class, the challenge is to get a word in edge-wise. For the loquacious: good - please express yourself. But also be respectful of your fellow students and don't overly monopolize the conversation.

**Dig into something that interests you. The possibilities are endless. You could choose to explore the cosmology of a particular Ancient Philosopher, investigate the conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church, or learn about modern ideas about multiverses. Please discuss your interests directly with Professor McGaugh.

***Ten pages may seem like a long paper, but ten minutes is a very short time in which to discuss your topic. Keep focussed! A schedule will be posted when topics are chosen: we will have our own mini-conference, organized by subject (to the extent possible).

****Examples of class participation include, but are not limited to, engaging in class discussion with substantive ideas, questions, and insights; contributions to group projects; and posting to a course e-chat page.

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