Some Teaching Materials Used in the Past

Below, you find some fun video materials I designed for teaching in the past, some quizzes, an example of a set of PowerPoint slides designed and used for a lecture on Kant, instructions for how to generate a 1-page summary of a philosophy paper. You can also find some class visualizations here.

PHI-1060 Symbolic Logic, Ashoka University, Monsoon (=Fall) term [2018-21] 

The video below is a heavily edited version of a scene from Shaktimaan, a Hindi television show which is basically an Indian version of Superman. I use it as part of my slides to signal what we have so far arrived at and what is yet to come.

The video below is one I generated to introduce the last sessions of my logic class. I use the music from the Star Trek TOS and a voice-over that relates to my logic class and mimicks the original voice-over in its diction.

This last video shows the slides I use to explain scope ambiguities in quantified expressions.

Philosophy 101: No Bakwās, AshokaX Horizons, Winter 2021

The video below serves to bring home a point concerning Carnap’s 1931 conception of the meaningfulness of sentences and questions discussed in class. The video used is from a Star Trek Episode called The City on the Edge of Forever.

Intro to Logic, University of Pittsburgh, Summer 2017

For teaching this course, I used Language, Proof and Logic by Daver Barker-Plummer, Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy. There is a self-paced online course associated with the book (see here), as well as tons of additional material (e.g. video lectures and tests) that is beneficial for students to consult. Also, the book comes with various software applications that students use to work on assignments, which they then submit to the website (several times if necessary) affiliated with the course. For many (though not all) assignments, the website generates (automated) feedback on student’s work, including hints as to how to improve their work where necessary. As a side benefit, the website also alerts instructors to (what are with a very high likelihood instances of) plagiarism.

I find working with this book highly enjoyable. Especially, I find that the time I do not need to spend on grading homework assignments is better spent on polishing and adding to my lecture (I added e.g. an excursion into non-Western logic at the outset of the course to make students aware that logic is not a Western technique ultimately derived from Aristotle), on addressing students’ questions, devising short quizzes, midterms, practice exercises, etc.

You can find a few sample short quizzes below, also a long in-class midterm I used. As for the midterm, it is still a bit too long. At least in my summer course, many (though not all) students – even those who did well on the homework – needed more time to go through the exercises than I had expected.

PHIL 0500 – Midterm – no solutions

Short Logic Quiz 1

Short Logic Quiz 2

Short Logic Quiz 3

Intro to Ethics, University of Pittsburgh, Spring 2016

I designed and used the following PowerPoint to give an introductory lecture on Kant’s moral philosophy which was part of the 2016 Intro to Ethics course in which I served as Teaching Assistant. The following video runs you quickly through the PowerPoint. It does not have the explanations I contributed. Sadly, that can’t be helped. Basically, I included interactive elements whenever examples where needed and whenever pictures and question marks show up. These serve to indicate that some philosopher whose material we had covered earlier in the course would disagree with Kant’s view. So naturally, the questions that arose were: how and why?

Some people don’t like slides that are animated and crowded. That said, I received rather enthusiastic feedback – students responded really well to the lecture. I also made the slides available to students afterwards, so they did not have to take extensive notes during lecture and were free to look at the slides as often as they desired.

Principles of Science, Ashoka University, Summer 2022

The following PowerPoint serves to briefly introduce Kitcher’s conception of explanation as unification and as a segue to Wesley Salson’s conception of explanation in terms of causal processes. At this point of the course, students are already familiar with Carnap and with Hempel’s conception of explanation, which is why some references are added to how they would have responded.

How to Write a 1-page Summary

The document provided below contains a few guidelines how to write a 1-page summary of an essay or a book chapter. I like to ask students to write these summaries, comment on them extensively, and then meet with students to discuss what I liked about their summary as well as ways in which they can improve. If possible, I do this twice a term so that we can jointly assess ways their writing may already have improved.

How to Write a 1-page Summary – Some Guidelines

Bring me back to the teaching section, please.

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