Professor Scott Anderson Reviews
Prof: Scott Anderson / Fall 2021
Nov 27, 2021
This is not a good course. It is cobbled together. I do think that its only purpose is to fulfill the departmental requirement and that's really it. I know part of why grades suffer: the way in which we're told to write papers is directly antithetical to how it is done in the profession. No one in philosophy takes 900 words to summarize an author's position and then 600 words to apply it to a practical case in a single paper. Not to mention that we're advised to do away with intro and conclusion, as well as roadmapping. That notion is absurd to me. I cannot recommend, honestly, that you take this course until it is fixed. Of course, you may not have that option if you're doing PHIL as your major.
We didn't learn much. We touched on Mill, Kant, Bentham, Hume, and Aristotle. Anything I learned about those texts I could have gotten a more in-depth take on from the SEP. I now have a copy of the Nicomachean Ethics. That is it. It isn't annotated in great depth because we never got there. We didn't explore the underlying complexity of Ancient Greek terminology (Dr. Griffin does a fantastic job of this in PHIL 211) even though we should have (I'm referring to things like eudaimonia here). I have barely gained an understanding of the text, and honestly, I'm going to read it front-to-back over the summer with the SEP so that I can actually get stuck into the details. I frankly think that this is a filler of a class.
Dr. Anderson seems to me to be a smart, well-educated, and proper philosopher. However, his teaching leaves a lot to be desired. I don't want to drag him down as a person--he's great in that way. However, when his teaching style is reading questions to us off of slides we already have access to in order to answer in a sort of discussion-format...that is where my criticism begins. This does nothing, pedagogically speaking. Many students are not PHIL majors or intending to do real, specialized work in the field. The people I know in this class are taking it as an elective. As a result, the course is dry and boring--few people make discussion points. As such, the teaching feels non-existent. I barely learned--not to be rude, but rather to say that if I wanted to learn what I did in this cours...read more
Don't take it if you don't have to. Otherwise, buckle down and get ready for ridiculously formatted essays and little by way of helpful feedback. Be weary of the ethical question you have to generate. Anything systemic or interesting (like criminal punishment or racism or environmental issues) is usually deemed "too" social-political philosophy. I for one, wrote on such a question, and I got the same mark I did when I wrote on an interpersonal ethical question (the kind we're supposed to make). You'll be better off writing a paper you're interested in and care about since you're stuck with the question you make for the year. Do your best, and don't expect to perform outstandingly.