Senior Literature Review Fall 2017

Literature Reviews


We talked about what a literature review involves and how the course will work.

Finding literature reviews

Your assignment for the upcoming week is to read a literature review close to what you’re interested in. But where do you find these things?

The most obvious answer is online sources, specifically encyclopedias. Three stand out.

If you are starting with a paper that you read in a class, or one that you find in the course of your work, you can sometimes use that as a means of finding other, related papers.

Good old published books work pretty well too. Textbooks are an excellent starting place. They are guaranteed to represent the scholarly literature because whatever is in the textbook just is the standard for the discipline. Look for titles like “Philosophy of Law,” then look around them on the shelf in the library. It will be obvious where the textbooks are.

Similarly, publishers seem to put out lots of books with “Handbook,” “Companion,” “Dictionary,” or “Guidebook” in the title. Those are generally made up of commissioned literature reviews.

Where we’re starting

Will is thinking of working on epistemic permissivism, the idea that a given body of evidence could justify more than one conclusion.

Octave is divided between pursuing questions about cyborg perception and the sense of self and a project derived from the existentialist tradition about how to live.

Lucas means to continue working on his SURP project on the ethics of video games.

And Peter wants to work on political philosophy and race. In particular, we agreed (after everyone else left) that he would start with Charles Mills’s book The Racial Contract.

So we’re off to the races!