Presentation Instructions


All students of PHIL 453/553-01 are required to make at least one presentation over the course of the semester. (Graduate students will make two.) Presentations will be given on Thursdays, and will be aimed at facilitating class discussion of one of the pieces of secondary literature assigned for that week.

Students can sign up for presentations via Blackboard. The deadline for choosing a presentation date and topic is 2 March by 23:59. Students who have not signed up by that time will have a date and topic chosen by me.

Presentation Format and Questions

Each presentation must be accompanied by a slide show, which will be submitted to me on the day of the presentation. Slide shows should dedicate a slide (or a section of the slide show) to answering each of the following questions.

Additionally, presenters will be asked to share discussion questions—which may or may not be identical to the student’s answer to question 5 below—no later than the Tuesday before the Thursday they are scheduled to present

  1. What is the problem or puzzle the paper addresses?

    Since the papers we will be discussing are interpretive, aimed at developing and defending a reading of a passage (or set of passages) of Aristotle’s corpus, the problem/puzzle in question will most likely concern an interpretive difficulty, a challenge for understanding some aspect of Aristotle’s thought.

  2. How have scholars previously proposed to address or solve the problem with which the paper is concerned?

    That is, what other interpretations does the author intend to criticize?

  3. What alternative does the author propose?

    How does the author, in contrast to previous scholars, propose to address or solve the problem in question?

  4. Why does the author think their alternative is superior to previous attempts to solve or address the problem?

    What evidence and/or arguments does the author put forward in favor of their interpretation, and why, according to the author, do these considerations rule out competing proposals?

  5. What questions might be raised about the author’s proposal?

    Do the considerations the author puts forward in favor of their interpretation in fact provide conclusive support for that interpretation? What other substantive questions arise if the author’s interpretation is correct? What response(s) might be given on behalf of the interpretations the author criticizes?


Presentations are worth a maximum of 20 points and will be assessed on the quality of their answers to the above questions.

Quality Points Earned Student Performance
Superlative 20–18 Answers to all questions are clear, concise, and insightful.
Excellent 17–16 Answers to all questions are clear and concise, but perhaps not insightful.
Satisfactory 15–14 Answers to most questions are clear and perhaps insightful.
Needs Work 13–12 Answers to most questions are clear, but none are especially insightful.
Needs Serious Work 11–10 Answers to most questions are unclear.
Unsatisfactory 10–0 Answers to all questions are either unclear or incomplete.