Karen Lewis

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Feb 2021

Please disregard all of those negative old reviews! Like seriously. Prof Lewis is a great professor. Some of those reviews made me a bit wary but Intro to Logic was probably my favorite class this semester. We used this textbook/software package that was complicated and stressful at first, but once you get used to it, it's actually really fun. Yes, I said it: fun. I genuinely enjoyed doing a lot of my logic problems. It's kind of like a puzzle, or a brain game, maybe like sitting down to do some Sudoku. Prof Lewis was always willing to answer questions or go over concepts during class. This was also due to the nature of class I think (flipped classroom) but I'll explain that more in the workload section. Anyway, she truly is a kind and knowledgeable professor. You can tell she truly wants her students to succeed and will go out of her way to make that happen. Logic is unlike any course I've ever taken before. Of course, it's not for everyone, but I don't think it's fair to take out your discomfort with the material on the professor. She was always willing to help! (In summary, I highly recommend this class.)

Jan 2021

I took Intro to Logic with Karen Lewis, and I'd say it was a pretty fair course. She is very lenient if you need more time to do work and will help you if you ask for help. We fell behind a bit and I think the pacing for the class could have been better but overall she's pretty nice and a good professor. I don't think this was a particularly memorable class, neither terrible nor amazing, but I did learn logic from it so I guess it served its purpose. To be fair, I took this class when it was online because of coronavirus so it might be different in person.

Nov 2018

I took professor Lewis' course last fall, but I was just searching her up in the course catalogue, hoping to take another class with her and I vaguely remembered that a lot of her CULPA reviews seemed pretty negative. I am here to clear the air: If you want to understand some basic philosophical concepts, this is the class for you. It is incredible that a year has passed and I'm still thinking about the "material/immaterial mind" or Descartes, because that was... a year ago. I feel like that speaks volumes to the competency of Lewis' lectures. Sure, I recall some classes being a bit dull or way too confusing, but I look pretty fondly at my time with Lewis. She reads from the slides and uploads the slides, but she would also go more in depth, offering good notes to look back on when it was time for the exam. She tried to learn every student's name and set up class time for students to work together in groups, going through the text. As for homework, it varied and you can get away with skimming a reading or skipping one, because she goes through difficult concepts in class. I would say this: for homework assignments and essays, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Yes, the concepts are difficult at times, but I know some people in the class did terribly on papers, because they would try to make arguments that you just can't make in an intro course. Flowery, "philosophical" language will get you nowhere, honestly. Keep. It. Simple. I got an A- in the class, but I think I could have done even better if I put more effort into my second paper. Study for the exams, go to her office hours if you're confused - but all in all, this class was straightforward and extremely informative. I highly suggest Professor Lewis!

May 2018

This course is not one for the faint of heart, but if you care about the subject matter it will be very rewarding in the end. If your interest is in language in general and not analytic philosophy, then a critical theory or linguistics course might be more enjoyable. If you're a philosophy major, this course moves quickly enough that it may well be one of the more difficult ways to satisfy your analytic requirement. That said, if you are interested in learning a variety of analytic frameworks with which to model the workings of human language, then this is the course for you! The first unit is on pragmatics, and is definitely the easiest of the three units to understand. We started with speech act theory, then looked at some of its applications in feminist philosophy, and ended with conversational implicature and context sets. It's best to get a bunch of the reading responses out of the way in this unit since the material gets harder later on. The next unit is on semantics, with a focus on reference and the way names work. This unit has the fewest readings but they are all very dense. We read Frege's model of sense and reference, Russell's theory of descriptions, Kripke's critique of cluster descriptivism, and Graff Fara's defense of predicativism. The final unit is on meaning and truth, and some of the readings here are very difficult to understand without a background in logic. Among the ideas we examine are Ayer's verificationism, Tarski's recursive truth predicate, and Quine's and Kripke's skepticisms about meaning. The course difficulty peaks around the beginning of this unit, when the second paper is due and the readings are at their most difficult, and then relents after Quine. The professors were both wonderful. Dr. Lewis has a talent for making even the most difficult readings seem straightforward, and her lectures are what make taking the course possible. I'd recommend going to every single lecture if you can, and not just because she takes attendance. Philosophy of language is her forte, and it really shows. Billy was a good TA as well, and the both of them gave helpful feedback on every assignment. Be ready for early reading responses to get lower grades than you want, but for it to feel easier with time. If you take the time to put in the required work, this course can teach you a lot about one of the most interesting topics in analytic philosophy and greatly improve your analysis skills.

Jul 2015

If you can't afford a tutor, don't take Intro to Logic with Karen Lewis. Just don't.

May 2015

Read some mixed reviews of Prof. Lewis for her Intro to Philosophy course. Decided to take Intro to Logic with her. Huge mistake. This must have been her first time teaching Intro to Logic and it showed. She wasn't confident in the material at all. There were times when she froze up trying to answer questions in a way that had the whole class cringing. The material is easy at first so you're able to get through her poorly made and confusing lectures without any consequence but after the first test it gets significantly harder. She plodded through an ocean of confused faces and delivered her powerpoint presentations just the same. Don't take this class with her unless you are naturally gifted at understanding math. My gut feeling is that she won't be teaching it again anyway.

May 2015

Not a fan of Prof. Lewis. She seems very uncomfortable teaching and usually resorts to reading word for word from her PowerPoint slides. I have never seen so many confused faces in a class or so many people come to office hours before an exam. She's an unforgiving grader and does not curve. (She did, however, provide a make up exam for the many who scored poorly on the midterm so they could bring their grades up to an 80-- which kind of says something about her teaching ability, IMHO). There are plenty of sharp people who easily pick up this kind of QR material, but if you don't have a mind for it, take this class with another professor (or take another QR course if you're trying to fulfill the requirement).

Nov 2014

This woman knows nothing. She simply reads off the super simplistic powerpoint. Whenever she is asked a question, she just repeats her point. for God's sake don't take her class. If you want an easy A, sure. But if you want to learn anything at all, shy away from her.

Jul 2014

I personally loved this class. Professor Lewis is very approachable and is a great lecturer; some of the readings, albeit light, could be a bit difficult to understand (e.g. Aristotelian virtue ethics, Kant) and Professor Lewis explained them very well in class. She gave a lot of guidance and was a pretty fair grader. She has a very objective points-system, so the grading wasn't arbitrary at all. This is a great class for people who might be interested in philosophy and are willing to take it seriously. You get as much out of it as you put in -- I spent a lot of time on the readings and put a lot of effort into the essays/projects, and went to almost all the office hours of both the professor and her TAs, and did very very well in the class. Students who slept through lecture/went on Facebook (and there were a number of those) did not enjoy the class as much -- which is a shame, because it's really a great class/a great introduction to philosophy.

Apr 2014

I enjoyed the class. It was pretty easy, and the topics were interesting. She's a nice professor but it was hard for me to stay awake during lectures sometimes. The polling system didn't bother me and the papers were fairly easy to write as long as you had done the reading and looked at her slides. The group project was kind of annoying though. I'd recommend the class if looking for an easy way to fulfill the EAV requirement at Barnard. It did spark an interest in philosophy for me.

Jan 2014

Course covered a lot of material like the last post says but was rushed. It would have been better to focus on one reading a class instead of two or three. The papers are manageable and you do not need to go to class or take notes to do well on them. They focus mainly on your opinion and an analysis of the reading. Some of the TAs were very picky graders. For example, my one paper he wrote that the organization did not work well and I received a B-; then on the next, which he also graded he wrote "you did a good job" and I received a B... That does not really make sense if he thought one was terrible and the other good. The teaching was annoying. Prof. Lewis is nice enough but it wasn't particularly interesting and I had a hard time paying attention. I personally hated her voice, she constantly stresses almost every other syllable (you'll see what I mean if you have her). The polling system was really frustrating too because it was finicky and asked very random questions from the reading. Even though I went to every class and mostly read all the readings, I only received half the points. I did end up doing well in the class so that's good but I will not be taking any more philosophy.

Dec 2013

Course seemed to try to shove too much information and topics into one semester. Professor Lewis never seemed to spend enough time on topics to fully divulge the meaning behind the theories. Class tended to be more of people just spitting out their own opinions than an actual entire lecture. Used a polling system for reading comprehension check each class. Manageable class if you learn three topics very well throughout the semester. Teaching wise, not the best. Let's just say I found myself skipping more classes than usual and still being able to write the papers.