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Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Philosophy,
Summer 2000

The Nature of Mathematical Reasoning

Dirk Schlimm

Syllabus Update

New guidelines for
portfolio glossary/index


The idea of a glossary was that you have a quick way to find the basic definitions or whatever you are looking for. Originally, my intention was to have a list of terms together with their definitions or explanations. For example,

However, this means that you would have to copy what is in your notes anyway again and definitely would mean more work for those of you who wrote their homeworks by hand. Thus, I thought of a different way to organize your material of the course: instead of a glossary, you should now have an index. You should number the pages of your notes and homework (maybe separate numberings, like H-1, H-2, for the homeworks). The index should only contain a sorted list of terms, or names, and have a reference to the page where the term is defined or explained. Sometimes you may have more than one reference. In case you don't have a definition already, you may look for one.

This is what I expect for the index of the portfolio. If you find a better or more effective way to index your portfolio, that's fine with me, too. However, it should be possible for someone who is not familiar with your way of organizing things to quickly find the definitions of the terms introduced in this course.

Here's a list of terms I expect to find in the index: Archimedes, Aristotle, Euclid, Eudoxos, Hypatia, Thales, Plato, Pythagoras, commensurable, deductively valid, sound, deductive, inductive, formal, irrelevant, fallacious, Babylonians, Egyptians, proof of irrationality of the square root of 2, proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers, Thales' theorem, neolithicum, definition of even, notation, binary numbers, 7-adic system, statement, proposition, premise, conclusion, inference rule, N, Q, R, constructive mathematics, reductio ad absurdum, indirect proof, proof by contradiction, objectivity, form of an argument.
If you feel other terms should be added, include them in your index, too.

The first time you'll have to turn in your portfolio is coming Friday, July 14, 2000.

Here is a reminder of what your portfolio should contain:

Portfolio: Students are expected to keep a portfolio about the contents of the class. This gives you the opportunity to organize the material presented in class in a neat and clear way. It will help you to keep track of where we are in the course. It will also make it easier for you to review the material and thereby help you to find out what you have really understood and what is not yet clear to you.

The portfolio should include:

  1. Table of contents.
  2. For each lecture:
  3. Homeworks assigned in class.
  4. Index of technical terms introduced in the course (for quick reference).
  5. Reading material
The portfolio must be kept in a three-ring binder made for standard size notebook paper (8 1/2 by 11 inches), preferably not more than 1 1/2 inches wide and not less than 1 inch wide at the back. Your name should be clearly written on the outside of the binder.

You may use any type of paper you like, lined or unlined, and of any color it seems good to you to use. However, please use paper that has punched holes correctly placed for insertion in the binder, and please use full-size paper.

All materials for this course should be kept in the portfolio binder at all times. Use dividers to mark off each section. Please arrange them in the order mentioned above.

Remember: your portfolio is the embodiment of your work for this course. A complete and well presented portfolio virtually guarantees you a good grade. The opposite is also true.

The portfolio has to be handed in three times during the semester and will be returned with comments and a grade the next day of class. The grade will be based on completeness of content and clarity of exposition. What I will look for in particular is the following: Are all pages legible? Is the table of contents complete? Is there at least a page for each lecture? Are the main topics of each lecture summarized briefly? Are there personal remarks about interesting or puzzling points? Are all homeworks included (all versions of the ones which were redone)? (The content of the homeworks does not contribute to the portfolio grade, but to the grades for the homeworks.) Is the index complete? Are all terms in the index referenced correctly?

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© Dirk Schlimm, Last modified: August 4, 2000