Review Comment

[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology

June 06, 2005

Kitcher, Patricia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology, [PHIL V2201] History of Philosophy II: Aquinas to Kant, and [PHIL V3251] Kant

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I guess I'm in the minority of CULPA reviewers, but I didn't think Kitcher was too great (why did I take 3 courses with her then? I don't have a short answer to that).

The good parts: She's an easy grader. Just turn in average papers of adequate length and you'll get your A minus.

The bad: All texts covered are interpreted through the lens of the philosophy of science. Science is GOD (she'd hate me writing that, since she absolutely despises religion of every form and lets you know it at least a couple of times each lecture. She's ALWAYS making fun of Leibniz, for example. I'm not religious, but I find people who are so vehemently opposed to the religious mindset to be more deluded than even religious fundamentalists - but that's just me). And like most people in awe of science, she has an idea of almost inevitable progress in all things, including philosophical thought. The latest stuff is almost always the best. Well, that may not be a bad aspect of a professor for everybody, but it was for me. What else is bad? She seems to get lots of things wrong - or at least dumbs them down to the point where the author's point is completely obscured. She'll find fault with every position she teaches (don't worry, she's not so critical in grading student papers and will let stupid arguments pass if you write enough pages). I didn't find her very good at answering student questions, either. The really good professors can think on their feet and quickly tell which questions are stupid and which are worthy of consideration. Kitcher can't do this. Often, in response to a question she does not understand, she just restates what she said in lecture a minute ago, hoping the student will politely nod and go away. Other times, she'll concede a huge point that's completely devastating to the text she's teaching, only to come back next class to explain why the crticism did not apply (there were a couple of examples of this from Kant, but I've forgotten them - but someone who really knew her Kant would have been able to right away see the problem the student was pointing to and explain why Kant wasn't making that mistake). I've gotten the impression, after taking all these classes with her, that Kitcher does not have a great a grasp of the texts she teaches. She has her set lectures and she'll guide you through the main points of the text, but she doesn't have the thorough command that a really great professor has. I'd give her a B plus.

January 27, 2004

Kitcher, Patricia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology and [PHIL V3251] Kant

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Patricia Kitcher ia able to convince students that she knows what she's talking about without intimidating the hell out of them. Her lectures are always insightful and bring clarity to even the most obscure of texts (by way of saying, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason isn't exactly a page-turner). She is also extremely approachable, and her patience in answering questions is a great resource. A thoroughly wonderful professor.

Workload:

Kant: 3 short papers (2-3 pg), 1 long paper (10 pg); Phil of Psych: paper (8 pg), midterm, final. Grading is on the generous side of fair.

July 13, 2003

Kitcher, Patricia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Great Course. Hard Work. Kitcher is very organized - with each class lecture titled and well structured (and she does her best to stay on topic despite the material, which lends itself to digression). The material is fascinating, and, at times, difficult if you're not a philosophy major, but she does a great job of clearly explaining key points and concepts. She's a rough grader though, and this is no easy A. But if you're at all interested in either topic, then it's definitely worth it.

Workload:

Midterm, Final, 1 Paper 5-10 pages.Heavy Reading.

November 23, 2002

Kitcher, Patricia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Classes don't come much more straight-forward than this. Enter class... take notes... leave class... read book... It was a completely average experience. Kitcher does indeed know her stuff... and gets her kicks by disagreeing with EVERY philosophical theory that is out there (honestly, she will find something wrong with any theory). The class focused much more on the philosophical and not the psychological -- that is, things were approached philosophically and not psychologically -- which seemed totally appropriate. But psych students beware -- this will not be the behaviorism fluff you learned in Scherm. You'll be expected to think now (horrors!) The readings and the lectures did seem dry... I think it was mainly the fault of the readings. There was too much material to cover in 15 weeks -- we were forever behind -- and we never engaged in conversation (yes, it was a lecture... but only about 15 people). Most of the readings presumed an extensive background in a number of fields (nothing any undergraduate is expected to know -- definite field-of-study issues). This made it difficult to get at the crux of any agruement/theory. All in all, a lot of interesting ideas were presented... just nothing happened after that...

November 14, 2001

Kitcher, Patricia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3654] Philosophy of Psychology

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

A very nice lady, always willing to talk to students. Teaching is acceptable but not good. Lectures are not exciting. She tends to scribble unintelligibly on the board and the stuff she writes is too concise to mean anything alone. So you have to be a very conscious and attentive notetaker (which I think everyone knows it painful) or you may as well not take notes at all (if you can beat that fixation). Fortunately you can very well survive without taking much notes. The course itself isn't that difficult. Concepts are hard but not impossible. Reading the reader beforehand and going to office hours definitely helps a lot for this class.

Workload:

Two papers, one short, one long. Reading is dense but it's philosophy. And you can pick topics to write papers on, so you can skip quite a lot of the reading if you aren't in for knowledge (but in that case why would you take this class?) Overall workload is lighter than average, and very much depending on what you want from the course.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2010 Fall MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Christopher Peacocke 2010 Spring F / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2008 Fall MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2006 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2004 Fall MW / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2002 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL V3654: Philosophy of Psychology Patricia Kitcher 2001 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1