The module result for my level 3 philosophy course was supposed to be available on 17th July, which is the last day of my psychology residential school. An email appeared in my inbox from the OU this morning titled ‘128361280 Result Notification’, advising me that my result for the module was now available online. I knew that I had just over 75% for my continuing assessment, giving me a pass 2 (2:1) grade, but also that my final essay would be worth half of my mark and the overall module mark would be the lower of that continuing assessment mark and the final essay mark.
I logged in to the OU website, scrolled down to the philosophy module to find out my final essay mark…80. This gives me a good solid pass 2 for the module, keeping me on track for a pass 2 for the degree overall. I am now motivated to do well in the project I will be completing during residential school, in my final essay, and in my exam (if it had been a pass 3 then it would have been impossible to get a pass 2 for the degree and motivation would have drained away).
Farewell Key questions in philosophy. My EMA, worth 50% of my final course grade, is due on Tuesday and I submitted it today. I spent my holiday in Suffolk working 3-4 hours a day on it, then continued to polish and tinker with it once I returned. I decided that I was only going to start making it worse and not better by messing around with it further, so submitted it today.
Fingers crossed that I get a 70 or higher (which will give me a Pass 2/2:1 for the course) and not a 69 or lower (which will give me a Pass 3/2:2 for the course). I will find out on 17th July.
No rest for the wicked, however, I now need to catch up on the last two weeks’ worth of psychology course that I have neglected and do three weeks’ worth of work in 10 days in order to submit another assignment due on 9th June (and fit in 3 races, a day’s worth of work on my car and publishing two new knitting patterns in that time). After that I will be able to resume a social life and go out to the cinema, or to visit kittens.
Well, that’s it. I have read all of the material for course A333: Key questions in philosophy. This week felt pretty light since it was looking at science and rationality and it covered a lot of ground I was already familiar with regarding scientific method. All that is left now is the TMA for this fifth and final book, then the big scary extended essay.
It was back to the books again today, but with a really debilitating cold so it was just as well that the chapter was on the light-ish side and covered ground I was already familiar with. Can personal testimony be believed and considered knowledge? In most cases no, don’t be so silly, so that was simple. Some laughable opinions as to why it should be and why testifiers should be believed (‘because trusting them will make them want to tell the truth’, pull the other one, it’s election season). A lovely dose of cynicism to keep my spirits up.
I selected which of the two independent study options to study based on the only one I could actually find anywhere online, which handily agreed with my ‘don’t be daft’ cynical viewpoint.
I had received the result to TMA04 whilst I was away. It was a little nerve-wracking checking the website for the score after the previous low of 68. Thank goodness it was a new psychology high of 81, which puts me firmly back on the 2:1 path in this course, having to hand in a pretty awful TMA05 to bump me down, though the extended essay is still a bit of a lottery (and it counts for half of the course’s mark).
I am still managing to keep a week ahead of schedule on my philosophy course and hope to steal an extra week over the Easter break so that I will have been able to read all of the final book before our final tutorial in the middle of April. This week continued looking at the rationality puzzle, this time taking apart the standard principle that humans are rational only if reasoning in accordance with logic, probability theory, etc. If we can reject the standard picture than we can resolve the rationality puzzle generated by experiments showing how people often don’t appear to reason in accordance with logic, probability theory, etc. No direct mention of Kahneman this week, though he was alluded to in Papineau’s recognition that we can reason in two ways: a fast, intuitive manner (which is often caught out by the rationality experiments); and a slow manner which utilises logic, probability theory, etc. But, since this is philosophy instead of psychology there was much arguing as to what constitutes rational reasoning, slicing and dicing it into some form of mush by the end, so that the rationality puzzle could be said to apply in only a small number of cases and even then we could train ourselves not to fall into its traps. So, yay?
It was back to the books again after what felt like and age, and hurrah it was starting with rationality and biases. A nice amount of Kahneman and lots of familiar psychology to ease me back into my book studies and this last book in the philosophy course. I may even be tempted to change my final essay topic if I can cram some more psychology into it (something I think I understand), but that might take me dangerously off-topic.
I am still a couple of weeks ahead on my philosophy class (just as well or I wouldn’t have been able to participate much in Saturday’s tutorial), so this week was finishing off book number 4 by looking at whether life has meaning or not. This involved much discussion about what “meaning” and “life” meant as well as whether you were thinking objectively, subjectively, individually, or globally. Some navel gazing and sighing over nothing ever having meaning as isn’t the universe vast and we are just insubstantial specks of carbon. Ooh, I wonder if I could quote Tim Minchin in my essay? Probably not but I might be able to get Tolkien in there on elves (if Williams can right a paper using a fictional character as evidence for immortality being boring then I don’t see why I can’t use some too).
A tutorial double header for Valentine’s Day and a clash with parkrun, England cricket and rugby matches, and Lizzy Yarnold in the skeleton. It started with 2 and three quarter hours of psychology, one of only four tutorials we are having for this course (though we get a full week of residential school in July). I was the only person not on a full psychology pathway and everyone else seemed to be looking forward to doing the social psychology module (I am doing the cognitive psychology module instead of the social psychology one). I think I contributed in a good way and enjoyed myself, something I carried through to the philosophy tutorial. I managed to catch the end of the commentary of the rugby and was home in time for the France match.
Bah, why is it that the assignments that you feel go well are the ones you get the lower marks on? Is this related to the exams you feel went badly turning out to be the ones you do the best in? A 68 isn’t a terrible score, but my lowest to date on this course. I still keeps me on course for a 2:1, but shows a worrying downward trend in my marks just as I am going full-time (and after I took extra time on this particular assignment). At least the presentation part of the assignment scored well.
This chapter felt unfinished. The book is new for this module and it just didn’t feel well thought out. It was supposed to be looking at whether it is good to be born, but started by making a series of arbitrary assumptions (which I didn’t agree with and cut out large sections of the debate) and then just mentioned various arguments. It seemed to mostly be a chapter in which to mention Parfitt and Benatar’s arguments, but without the structure to back them up. The final section appeared to be just a series of suggestions and thought experiments, all of which ended with “I leave it to you to consider whether this is a good argument”. All in all a bit sloppy and incoherent. At least it does not feature in the TMA for this book.