Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Old Assignment

Digging around in my files, I came across this in-class assignment (for review, not for a grade) I had given the students of my Rationalists class. There were four groups, and each group was given one of these directives. (The first group came up with a very clever jingle, but unfortunately I've forgotten it since then.)

Advertisement

Suppose that philosophical arguments needed to be advertised. Come up with a television advertisement, one you can act out as a group, for Malebranche’s ideological argument for the existence of God. Make sure that viewers can learn the basic elements of the argument from your advertisement. Your advertisement should include a jingle and a slogan.

Advertisement

Suppose that philosophical arguments needed to be advertised. Come up with a television advertisement, one you can act out as a group, for Malebranche’s argument for the immateriality of the soul. Make sure that viewers can learn the basic elements of the argument from your advertisement. Your advertisement should include a jingle and a slogan.

Party Debate

Suppose the Cartesians were the philosophical equivalent of a political party. As a group, script and act out a moderated debate within the party on whether the party platform should include Descartes’s or Malebranche’s views on whether we have a clear idea of the mind. Make sure that those watching the debate can glean the basic positions and arguments of both sides. Each side should in the course of their arguments lay out a basic campaign strategy for arguing against the dreaded Skeptics, Materialists, and Atheists Party (the Cartesian Party’s political foes), including a proposal for a campaign slogan.

Mimes

You have been chosen to coordinate a philosophical presentation in the Canadian Society of Philosopher-Mimes. Divide up the elements of Malebranche’s theory of sensation among yourselves and together figure out how to present, in mime form, each element. When you present, you may put a word or two (but no more) on the board to clarify the presentation. Be prepared to explain your presentation to reporters, who, alas, are uninitiated in the ways of philosopher-mimes.

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