Philosophy of Computer Science

Suggestions and Guidelines
for Peer-Group Editing
of Position Paper #4

Last Update: 29 March 2010

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

    1. When you get into your small groups, introduce yourselves quickly, and share copies of your thinksheets with each other.

    2. Choose one thinksheet to discuss first. (Suggestion: Go in alphabetical order by family name.)

    3. After spending about 10–15 minutes on the first thinksheet, 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.

    1. Make sure each "cell" of the thinksheet is filled in.

      1. The cells in the "Agree? (T?F?)" column should be filled in with "agree" or "disagree" (or "T" or "F").

      2. The cells in the "Why?" column should contain a reason why the author agrees or disagrees with the statement,
        or why the author thinks that the argument is valid or invalid.

        (For a reminder about how to explain why you think that an argument is, or isn't, valid, see my earlier email (point #2).)

        These don't have to be complete sentences, but they should be comprehensible.

    2. Keep a written record of the peer-editing suggestions. This will be useful to the author, for revision.

  1. The "revision" this time should, of course, be a correctly formatted paper, like the ones you have been writing all semester.

    1. It should be fairly straightforward to turn the thinksheet outline into full sentences and paragraphs (with correct citations if needed).

    2. I strongly urge you to have someone peer-edit your paper before you produce the final version!
      Tell that person to make sure that you have:

      1. Evaluated each statement (premise and conclusion) for ("absolute" or "independent") truth or falsity
        (see my email (point #1) about that terminology),
        and given a reason for your evaluation.

      2. Evaluated each argument for validity or invalidity
        (i.e., evaluated each conclusion for "relative truth", i.e., truth relative to the premises),
        and given a reason for your evaluation.

      3. Correctly used the "true"/"false"/"valid"/invalid" terminology.

    3. Failure to correctly distinguish among
      "true (or false) sentences, propositions, statements, premises, or conclusions"
      "valid (or invalid) arguments"
      will result in a lower grade!
      (After all, you need to demonstrate that you've learned something this semester :-)

    1. Your position paper should be approximately
        1–2 typed pages, double-spaced (i.e., about 250–500 words), and single-sided.

    2. At the top of the first page, please put the following information in the following format:

        Position Paper #4                 YOUR NAME
        DATE DUE                 CSE 484 (or 584) (or PHI 584)

    3. Please attach the peer-edited thinksheets to your paper, as usual.

    4. For general assistance with writing (including my preferred method of paper preparation and format, as well as advice on grammar),
      see my website "How to Write".
      As before, no abstract is needed for this position paper, but you do need to give full citations to any sources that you cite.

Copyright © 2010 by William J. Rapaport (