Philosophy of Computer Science

Suggestions and Guidelines
for Peer-Group Editing
of Position Paper #1

Last Update: 1 February 2010

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

  1. When you get into your small groups:

  2. Choose one paper to discuss first.

  3. The other people in the group might find it useful to imagine themselves as members of a committee set up by the Provost to make a recommendation.
    Their purpose is to try to help the author clarify his or her beliefs and arguments,
    so that they will be able to make a recommendation to the Provost on purely logical grounds (again: ignore politics!).

  4. Start by asking the author to state (or read) his or her beliefs about whether computer science is a science,
    giving his or her reasons for those beliefs.

  5. Be sure that the author has discussed:

    1. the validity of the argument
    2. the truth value of (or their (dis)agreement with) premise 1
    3. the truth value of (or their (dis)agreement with) premise 2
    4. the truth value of (or their (dis)agreement with) any missing premises.
    5. the truth value of (or their (dis)agreement with) the conclusion

  6. Any time you have a question, ask it.
    Here are some suggestions:

  7. The author should not get defensive.
    The committee members are friendly. Critical, but friendly.

  8. Keep a written record of the questions and replies.
    This will be useful to the author, for revision.

  9. After spending about 10 minutes on the first paper, move on to the next, going back to step (2) above, changing roles.
    Spend no more than 15 minutes per paper (because you've only got about 45 minutes at most).
    Perhaps one member of the group can be a timekeeper.

  10. At home, over the next week, please revise your paper to take into consideration the comments made by your fellow students (a.k.a.(*) your "peers"):
    Perhaps defend your claims better, or clarify statements that were misunderstood, etc.
    For help, see me.


(*) a.k.a. = also known as

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