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Dear Fresher, This year, Catz Freshers are receiving an additional Catz JCR Publication – a Subject Guide. We commissioned our year group to create a guide designed to assist in adjustment to life and work at Catz, specific to each subject. Our contemporaries reacted with typical Catz spirit and we are so proud of the results. In each guide should be a brief intro to what your first year will be like, with contact details, relevant links, helpful tips and useful information. By no means will all of it be relevant (or even make sense) before you arrive, but hopefully having a gist of how the year will turn out will prove helpful, and we suggest you read it in the summer. We also recommend that you keep it in mind throughout the year, some of the points may only become relevant later in the year. We ask that you don’t distribute these guides outside the Catz community – it’s by Catz, for Catz. We have tried to verify all the information, but some will inevitably change, such as who will supervise you. Please accept our apologies if that is the case. For this Philosophy guide we would like to credit and thank Rachel. Please remember there is a multitude of people for you to come to with questions – us, the Subject Reps, your college parents, and others in the main Freshers’ Guide. We all want to help. Looking forward to meeting you – enjoy the rest of the summer! Catz Love Beth and Mikey

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A Fresher’s Guide to Catz Philosophy Hello Philosophers I am the 3rd Year (and, until you, the only undergraduate) philosopher at Catz– so I am really, really, really excited to meet you (!!!!!!!!!!!!)! You truly made the best choice of college AND subject. I’ll try to tell you about the why’s and how’s in brief here, but please do get in touch to ask more. Modules There are no options for first year, so you’ll be doing four modules– logic, metaphysics, ethics and set texts. For each module, you’ll have four weeks, four supervisions (plus a revision one in the last term), and usually a different supervisor. There are also logic classes and discussion groups. It all fits nicely into two terms, leaving you the third term all clear for revision. Metaphysics, ethics and set texts modules: you’ll get four essays per module. The basic set-up is that you meet your supervisor, get set an essay title and a few suggested readings (there’s always the Faculty reading lists off the website which are amazing) and a week to write the essay. Logic module: you’ll get two essays and then formal logic questions for your other two supervisions. You’ll also have bi-weekly logic classes. Discussion groups: you’ll get assigned your group and reading for each session. The Faculty organises classes and groups, and our Director of Studies will arrange supervisors for you (they’ll be from a variety of colleges) so don’t worry – you’ll be informed about who, where and when upon your arrival. You sneak a peek at the timetable for lectures a week or so before term starts on the Faculty Website, but you’ll also get it in an information pack at your Faculty induction session. Exams The best thing to do is forget exams exist (of course, keep doing your weekly essays and taking good notes) and enjoy doing philosophy, developing your own arguments and views. But in case you want to know, you’ll have a 3 hour exam for each module, plus an extra 3 hour exam on leftover topics from your other papers. The thing to start doing from day one is taking good, neat notes of your reading and lectures. They’ll be so useful for revision when you try to remember that killer argument you read in the obscure article you picked up !!


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4 months ago. Also, after each supervision take note of what new ideas you have had so that precious hour doesn’t get lost. Reading Don’t worry about huge amounts of reading before you get here, but you might want to read the set texts (particularly, Hume’s Dialogues and Plato’s Meno). The other thing you could do to get ahead is start working through the logic textbook, which is handily free online at: www.nottub.com/forallx.shtml Any here are good: http://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/pros_students/reading_list_prosp_ugrads.pdf perhaps Hacking’s ‘Why Does Language Matter in Philosophy?’ and Russell’s ‘The Problems of Philosophy’. Or, check out the preliminary readings on any of the reading lists. Before you buy books (I only bought the set texts) please contact me – I may have a copy I could give you. The Catz library is very well stocked and if there’s something missing the librarian is happy to order relevant books for our course The Philosophy Faculty library is also very good (don’t be afraid of the UL though) A hidden gem is the Whipple Library in the History and Philosophy of Science Department; it’s close to Catz and well-stocked (watch out for the next-morning-return rule). There are journal articles and some chapters or whole books online via the philosophy library website. Links Everything you need to know about your course (including reading lists and timetables) will appear on the Faculty website: http://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/u_grads/u_grads_intro.html Another handy resource that will give you the layout of almost any topic you’ll study is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/ …but avoid making that your only resource! A similar resource is www.rep.routledge.com. Maps I’ll hopefully meet you and give you the full tour, but there are only a few places to learn: Your lectures will mostly be at the main lecture blocks on the Sidgwick Site, except for the occasional ones on Mill Lane. Tip 1: Mill LANE, not ROAD.

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Supervision locations depend on your supervisor: usually in their office in their college (use Google Maps), or in the Philosophy Faculty in the Sidgwick Raised Faculty Building. The library is also found here, tip 2: watch out for the fake staircase near the library that goes to the ceiling rather than to the next floor. Tips Who can philosophise if they’re worried about the grade at the end of it? You will thank your past self if you work consistently each week. Do as much reading as possible, and take good notes as you read. A wide range of reading is the best thing you can do throughout the year – both for lots of material to talk over (ask about) in your supervisions, and then to show off a bit in the exams. Don’t be afraid to find things challenging, do ask for clarifications as much as you want: philosophers are the least clear people in the world. Conclusion; Please have a lovely, lovely summer holiday and (as I might have mentioned before) I’m looking forward to meeting you in October  Rachel Robertson (rsr35@cam.ac.uk)

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