The portfolio has three versions (or volumes), v1, v2, v3, with the following elements:
|v1 due 10/07
||v2 due 11/18 extended to 11/20
||v3 due 12/11
Richards Lecture Reaction [1-2 pages]
Media/Science Analysis [1-2 pages]
Plagiarism self test
Other Themester Event Reaction [1-2 pages]
Media/Science Analysis [1-2 pages]
Empirical Study Report [3-5 pages]
Revised Themester Event Report
Revised Media Analysis
Revised Empirical Report
New: Judge's Decision, "Star Witness" [4-6 pages]
Explanation of Components
- (v1) Plagiarism Self-Test Certificate: take the test after doing the IU School of Education plagiarism tutorial
- Themester event reports:
Suggested structure for these reaction pieces, in two paragraphs. (1)
Identify an interesting (to you) claim that was made or reported
by the presenter and that is significant to the topic of the course.
(This claim need not be the presenter's personal view, but could be
someone else's view that was presented, e.g. Darwin's.) State the
claim as clearly as you can, give as much of the context for the
claim as is necessary to understand it (you should imagine your
reader was *not* at the event), and any argument that the presenter
provided for the claim. (2) Explain why you find the claim
interesting or significant. If you agree with it, suggest an
additional reason to believe it that the presenter could or should
have mentioned. If you disagree with it, give the reasons for your
- (v1) Reaction piece on Richards Lecture [1-2 pages]
- (v2) Reaction piece on one other Themester event [1-2 pages]
- (v1,v2) Critical analyses of a media report and the associated
scientific paper (you must cover different reports and papers for v1 and v2).
Precleared media sources are:
Ask individually about others.
(Hint: Many scientists have links to media stories about their research on their websites.)
Did the media presentation use anthropomorphic terms more than the scientific paper?
Was the research presented accurately?
[1-2 pages each report; provide copies or links for items discussed]
- (v2) One "empirical" study [3-5 pages]. Progress in the science
of animal minds depends on clever ideas for experiments or
observations, but also on understanding trends and developments within
the science. The goal of this part of your portfolio is to describe
an actual or potential study that would advance the science of animal
minds. You should describe a study (experimental, observational, or
"metascience" -- see below) that you have carried out, or would like
to see carried out. Your report should have these five elements:
The kinds of empirical studies we have in mind fall into three categories.
- 1. A brief introduction to the topic of your study that provides a
hypothesis that you would like to test, and a clear rationale for the
study, referencing any similar studies that you have heard about or
read about for this class;
- 2. A description of the methods of the study.
- 3. A description of the results, if you actually carried out the
study, or a discussion of what you predict you would find if you were
to carry out the study;
- 4. A discussion of the significance of the actual or expected
- 5. A concluding section summarizing the findings, noting any
limitations in the study, and listing suggestions for further study.
You will be graded on originality and rigorousness of the study design
-- does it, or would it, show what you claim it shows? -- and the
thoroughness with which you document it according to the 5 parts above.
Extra credit will be given for actually carrying out a study rather
than merely describing a possible study, however very creative ideas
for potential studies will be considered equivalent to actual
Because you will be required to revise this part of your report
between the v2 and v3 editions of your portfolio, you may wish to
describe your study concept for v2, drafting all 5 sections of the
report, and then actually execute the plan for v3, once you've
received feedback from your A.I.
- Observational: Passive observation of animals in natural
conditions that may shed light on some aspect of their cognitive
abilities. Actual observations of any nonhuman species are
allowed. For example, watch squirrels in a given location for half
an hour a day for a week and record their social interactions or
their acorn-handling behaviors.
- Experimental: Active manipulation of conditions to test some
hypothesis about animal cognition. Actual experiments should be
limited to invertebrates, or very benign manipulations of family
pets. If your idea is a thought experiment only, then any kind of
animal can be referenced, and you should justify the particular
choice of species.
- Metascience: Accurate understanding of the science of animal
minds involves testing hypotheses about the way science is
actually conducted. For instance, there is a widespread
impression that lab studies dominate field research in terms of
the quantity of studies that are published -- but is it
really the case? -- or that primate studies in animal cognition
are far more common than studies of other species, or that
ape language studies are less comon than they used to be.
A study in this category would investigate patterns and trends
in the scientific literature on animal minds. For example, you
could analyse trends (species studied, topics investigated) from
one or more of the main journals in the field, e.g.: Animal
Cognition, Animal Behavior, or Journal of
Comparative Psychology. Possible methods include
identifying and counting species names in article titles,
looking for keywords in abstracts, such as 'mirror self
recognition' or 'theory of mind', or identifying whether studies
were conducted in field or lab, and graphing trends over some
period such as the past 10 years. More specific instructions at OnCourse site.
- (v3) "Star
Witness" brief (instructions at top of p.36), or an
argumentative paper of your choice (topic must be pre-cleared
with A.I. [5 pages]
- (v3) New or substantially revised versions of these items:
- at least one Themester event report
- at least one media analysis
- "empirical report"
See my Guide to Writing Philosophy Papers for additional help.