- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Thesis - The Form of the Argument1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 22/07/2014 22:23:31): Thesis - Method & Form
Form of the Argument
- The thesis will present an abductive argument (as in my BA Dissertation “Poverty of Stimulus Arguments for Innate Grammar”), that is, an inference to the best explanation of the data.
- That’s why I have to consider so many aspects of the subject, so many thought experiments3 and so much clinical4 data5. Into which story does it all best fit?
- I may have to reject some recalcitrant thought experiments as ill-formed, but I do not wish to ignore anything significant.
- For some time, I have considered Animalism as the most likely account of what human beings are, and I propose this thesis to evaluate the arguments for and against it, using the rival “Constitution View” as a foil.
- Over the years I have read a lot of books and papers on the topic of Personal Identity.
- For some, I have made extensive on-line write-ups.
- For others, the write-up is incomplete, or sketchy.
- For yet others, I have (more or less) extensively annotated the margin (in so doing ruining many an expensive volume!).
- Finally, some have simply been read (and probably forgotten).
- I have also written numerous Notes on almost every aspect of the subject, though many of them are place-holders awaiting filling-out. These Notes link to the Books and Papers, either explicitly or thematically, and to one another.
- Follow this Link6 for an explanation of the various Objects in my Research database, though the Note needs updating in the light of changes since 2010.
- All this has resulted in a huge unfocussed cobweb of material, which needs to be subjected to some order and completeness. This has started by outlining the Chapters of the Thesis7, and specifying the limited subset of the problem I intend to address in detail.
- For most Chapters, my approach to producing the first draft of the Chapter will be as follows:-
- Determine which Notes that I have written are relevant to this Chapter.
- Fill out any Note-place-holders with whatever’s in my head!
- Use the reading lists associated with these Notes to establish a limited reading list for the Chapter.
- Review whatever I’ve written, in whatever format, on the items in the derived reading lists, and make necessary cosmetic changes in the process of evaluating the items.
- Segregate8 this reading list into:-
… Higher versus lower priority,
… Read versus unread,
… Annotated (by hand) versus unannotated
… Those with an Abstract or Note Write-up versus those without
- Cull items that are unlikely to be addressed in the next two years and list them as specifically excluded. I may pick up on these at a later stage of the project, but in the short term the culling process will be essential for making across-the-board progress.
- Determine why the residue are important and relevant – if they are – and briefly document the reasons.
- Migrate any Book or Paper Abstracts that I have written (as distinct from copied from elsewhere) to Write-Up Notes.
- If the Book or Paper is important enough, migrate any hand-written annotations to a Write-Up Note, and complete any important incomplete Write-Up Notes.
- Write and maintain a Chapter Summary, motivating and summarising the Chapter. Use this to ensure I don’t get side-tracked.
- Incorporate the key points of Write-Up Notes into the Topic Notes.
- Incorporate the highest level thoughts from the Topic Notes into the Main Text of the Chapter.
- In principle, these actions should be effected in number sequence, though there will be some iteration, particularly with the last point, which presents my research findings in their most accessible form for outside interested parties.
- There are many important papers that are on the reading lists that I have not read. At this stage, I do not intend to read them until I have processed all those papers that I have read. This will require discipline!
- Most of the “detailed working” of the Chapter should be retained in the topic Notes and Write-ups. The Chapter should be fairly high-level at this stage, with hyperlinks to more detailed or supportive work.
- I need to have some method of evidencing how far along this trial I have got for each Chapter, but this can wait until there is some progress to report.
Footnote 4: I am unsure how much of this I have actually attended to – but it is important to keep it in mind.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (22/07/2014 22:23:31).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 8: I need to develop a method for this – one probably variable depending on the length of the list.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018