General Advice

I have a lot of advice about attending college, both for undergraduate study, and for graduate study. I’ve prepared an essay for each:

Undergraduate Study: Advice for Undergraduate Students (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Graduate Study: Advice for Graduate Students (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Teaching Policies

For complete statement of my teaching policies, please click on the courses listed for their syllabi. Below are just a few general requirements that I wish to emphasize.


Come to class. Do your work. Ask questions. Make comments. Submit a final paper. Pretend my jokes are funny. That is all.


Attendance and Participation: Attend all classes. Don’t be late. If you do arrive late, enter the classroom unobtrusively; don’t make a fuss about it. Read all assignments before class lectures. Read them again after class lectures. Listen attentively. Take notes. After class, take notes on your notes. Don’t be late. Treat everyone in the classroom with respect. Feel free to ask questions and engage other students in class. I want to hear what you have to say, so long as it reflects an effort to do so from an informed standpoint.

Turn off all electronic devices, including your laptop, cell phone, and so on before class begins. Don’t talk to others when I am speaking. Don’t do other work in my class.

Grading Complaints: I am happy to discuss your essay with you after I have graded it (or after your TA has graded it), but I will have no debate with you at all about why you should have a higher grade than the one that I assigned. If you wish to raise a complaint about a grade, please submit it to me in writing with a hard copy (not by email), and make it no more than one paragraph. I will consider it and then let you know in a one on one conversation whether I will change your grade. If you find my response unsatisfactory, please feel free to pursue the matter through whatever channels the university affords you, but do not ask me about it thereafter. Some fields of study have clear, exhaustive, objective means of assessment. Philosophy is not one of them. The bottom line is that I am the one whose task it is to evaluate your work, and there is an inescapable subjective element in that process. I try my best to be fair and to draw upon objective measures where possible, but that is all anyone doing this sort of work can do. The same applies to your TA. If you find this arrangement intolerable, please do not take this course.

Completion of all assignments: A requirement of earning credit for any course from me is that you complete all of the assignments. I reserve the right to judge that a piece of work submitted does not constitute a sincere effort to complete an assignment.