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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    This is why I never understand why people take slights to their subject so personally. Saying that a subject is better, on balance, than another is not the same as saying that it should be axed, is worthless, or that people taking that subject are not as academically good as those taking other subjects. It is a discussion about the course and nothing more.
    It becomes more if you try to generalise your personal values and preferences, and propose that they ought to be universal by virtue of treating them as assumed. All you are saying is that you find x better for n reason, which means that one course doesn't suit your particular needs or wants or values, but does not mean that it can't or shouldn't satisfy somebody else's values and priorities which may well be ordered differently.

    Assuming that your assumptions of the nature of the course were actually true, they wouldn't make another course 'better' by any other measure than that of the set of qualities that you perceive as most important or worthy. Assuming your assumptions of SPS to be correct, I still wouldn't agree with the conclusions you then went on to draw about what students would get out of the course. It may be that you might get less out of the course, but you can't suggest that other individuals might not get more. There is no way of avoiding the discussion becoming personal because your suggestions attempt to apply your value system universally.
    You might carry more clout if you attempted to evaluate the course on a range of different measures and compare the two courses by broader means.

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    (Original post by JP42)
    Read that back- it is literally just laughable. I, unlike any PPE student, not that I have anything against their choice of university or subject, can dedicate 2 years of study to politics and political thought from its historical perspective, whereas a PPE student has to commit to studying 2 of PPE's disciplines. Why on earth does that mean PPE provides for more depth?

    I'm sorry but I think you'll need a whole lot of breadth and depth if you want to be a successful lawyer.
    I was under the impression that PPE students spent longer per topicthan it was possible to do at Cambridge. If I am mistaken, then it is a mistake of fact and not of logic. I was also under the impression that many people took combinations of modules which were not more specialised, in which case their degree would have much less depth than yours did.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    Perhaps we could go on to discuss whether depth is more valuable than breadth.
    Irrelevant if you can't prove, by any other means than your own opinion, that one of two courses contains any less or more scope for depth.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    I was under the impression that PPE students spent longer per topicthan it was possible to do at Cambridge. If I am mistaken, then it is a mistake of fact and not of logic. I was also under the impression that many people took combinations of modules which were not more specialised, in which case their degree would have much less depth than yours did.
    I don't want to spend any length of time studying Philosophy, or Economics. Depth in these areas can't tempt or satisfy my interests. After this point, it becomes clear that there is no better course for me other than SPS, and any consideration of more depth on another course (if it were the case) fails to make a case for consideration.

    Once again, your argument is ordered around your personal value paradigm.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    If I am mistaken, then it is a mistake of fact and not of logic. .
    Well it seems extremely illogical to ignore the facts.

    (Original post by allymcb2)
    I was also under the impression that many people took combinations of modules which were not more specialised, in which case their degree would have much less depth than yours did.
    Even under this impression, you're argument is irrational as those taking such combinations, would be reaching the same depths over a selection of modules which are less strongly linked. This wouldn't make SPS a 'disgrace' or an inferior degree.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    It becomes more if you try to generalise your personal values and preferences, and propose that they ought to be universal by virtue of treating them as assumed. All you are saying is that you find x better for x reason, which means that one course doesn't suit your particular needs or wants or values, but does not mean that it can't or shouldn't satisfy somebody else's values and priorities which may well be ordered differently.

    Assuming that your assumptions of the nature of the course were actually true, they wouldn't make another course 'better' by any other measure than that of the set of qualities that you perceive as most important or worthy. Assuming your assumptions of SPS to be correct, I still wouldn't agree with the conclusions you then went on to draw about what students would get out of the course. It may be that you might get less out of the course, but you can't suggest that other individuals might not get more. There is no way of avoiding the discussion becoming personal because your suggestions attempt to apply your value system universally.
    You might carry more clout if you attempted to evaluate the course on a range of different measures and compare the two courses by broader means.

    My conclusion was that a deeper course would be more academically rigorous and therefore more valuable as a degree in that you would-or could- never go to that level of depth outside of university or without world leaders in the field.

    I don't think that the SPS course is worse in every way such that it would produce worse results on a "range of different measures" it is a trade-off between breadth and depth, and I think that depth is a better option, within the context of a degree course at a top university. Any argument always assumes a common conception of the good and then tries to persuade the other side that one thing or another achieves that better. Arguing about conceptions of the good isn't something I am particularly interested in doing in this thread. All I wanted to do was to demonstrate that you can't have you cake and eat it, and to perhaps move the debate onto considering the various advantages and disadvantages of breadth v depth which might be more fruitful-and on the latter point my discussion thus far has, I accept, been rather circular as I have not focused any attention on the point. It seems that there is no interest in doing so, however. People just want to defend their own subject in a rather insecure manner. On that note I will give up.
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    [QUOTE=allymcb2] All I wanted to do was to demonstrate that you can't have you cake and eat it, and to perhaps move the debate onto considering the various advantages and disadvantages of breadth v depth QUOTE]

    But on what basis are you arguing that SPS denies students the kind of depth that PPE grants? Upon what factual basis are you basing this argument? Arguably, the fact that SPS students can commit to two years of specialisation in one discipline, means that SPS provides for deeper academic study. I'm not going to make that assumption because I'm yet to have sufficient experience of either- but your line of argument based on 'depth' is really backed by no evidence.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    My conclusion was that a deeper course would be more academically rigorous and therefore more valuable as a degree in that you would-or could- never go to that level of depth outside of university or without world leaders in the field.
    Yes, you've made that clear beforehand. I disagree, and I'm sceptical that there is any significant material advantage or disadvantage, and will remain so unless presented with any clear evidence or sign of any serious investigation into the matter.
    (Original post by allymcb2)
    People just want to defend their own subject in a rather insecure manner.
    On that note I will give up.
    It is hard to believe that you didn't intend to invoke insecurity in people no matter what you say in light of your method of addressing the issue. Instead of talking in terms of your own personal observations and experiences, you make broad generalisations. Its to be expected that people could take offence, and instead of demonstrating awareness of the fact by modifying your approach, you instead communicate that you don't care if you do cause offence.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Irrelevant if you can't prove, by any other means than your own opinion, that one of two courses contains any less or more scope for depth.
    SPS students study 4 different subjects in the first year of study, compared with 3 in PPE. So unless they worked much harder in the first year than Oxford students, they start out in second year knowing less politics than Oxford students. If they then take joint courses in the second and third year, they will end their degree knowing less about politics than a PPE student ie less depth, more breadth. Someone taking Experimental Psychology would similarly know more than someone taking SPS following the Psychology route as they would not have spent 75 per cent of the first year doing something else. The same argument is made by Cambridge Economists about PPE being for people who couldn't make it onto Economics and about PPP students who take philosophy copping out of the more rigorous parts of psychology.

    That moves us on to considering whether or not breadth is worse/better or equivalent.

    I agree that if you aren't interested in philosophy or Economics, choosing a degree which was 2/3rds made up of that would be nonsense, but I was under the impression we were discussing which was more academically rigorous not which one should you personally choose. I accept also that the level of depth in the course is going to depend whether the track chosen is a single or joint course.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Yes, you've made that clear beforehand. I disagree, and I'm sceptical that there is any significant material advantage or disadvantage, and will remain so unless presented with any clear evidence or sign of any serious investigation into the matter.

    It is hard to believe that you didn't intend to invoke insecurity in people no matter what you say in light of your method of addressing the issue. Instead of talking in terms of your own personal observations and experiences, you make broad generalisations. Its to be expected that people could take offence, and instead of demonstrating awareness of the fact by modifying your approach, you instead communicate that you don't care if you do cause offence.
    I was merely inviting discussion on the subject, which we never really got into.

    I kind of expected on a Cambridge forum that people would be able to have a proper discussion about the subject without getting all huffy and defensive about what is generally accepted in Oxford as harmless banter between the subjects. Sadly I was mistaken. I am now being dragged away by my bf to watch Lewis lol, so I won't be responding anymore today.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    SPS students study 4 different subjects in the first year of study, compared with 3 in PPE. So unless they worked much harder in the first year than Oxford students, they start out in second year knowing less politics than Oxford students. If they then take joint courses in the second and third year, they will end their degree knowing less about politics than a PPE student ie less depth, more breadth. Someone taking Experimental Psychology would similarly know more than someone taking SPS following the Psychology route as they would not have spent 75 per cent of the first year doing something else. The same argument is made by Cambridge Economists about PPE being for people who couldn't make it onto Economics and about PPP students who take philosophy copping out of the more rigorous parts of psychology.
    I don't believe that the difference is sufficiently significant to make a big enough impact on the overall quality of education at an undergraduate level. When I was considering courses, SPS stood out to me as hugely preferable to straight Politics courses at other excellent institutions, and I didn't see any loss of 'depth' as considerable.
    I don't know about those approaching other Politics and Social Science courses, but I expect that most who care about the academic depth of their studies will be aiming to take post graduate courses in which they will pursue their areas of interest to optimal levels of depth. Under such a situation, very small differences in course structure at an undergraduate level are unlikely to carry that much weight and I doubt the differences put students entering postgraduate study at any real disadvantage. I could be convinced otherwise if somebody could show me that institutes offering post-graduate courses definitely preferred PPE students to SPS students, but I think aspects such as Cambridge's superior reputation for Politics may balance out the consideration.

    (Original post by allymcb2)
    That moves us on to considering whether or not breadth is worse/better or equivalent.

    I agree that if you aren't interested in philosophy or Economics, choosing a degree which was 2/3rds made up of that would be nonsense, but I was under the impression we were discussing which was more academically rigorous not which one should you personally choose. I accept also that the level of depth in the course is going to depend whether the track chosen is a single or joint course.
    That's fair enough. I wasn't under that impression at all, and didn't see the link between the objectives of the OP and a sudden leap to the dismissal of SPS on an allegedly universal measure of merit. This, at any rate, is how it appeared to me - and I'd guess to a few other thread participants who raised similar objections. Accepting that we are now discussing academic rigour, I think I've already made it clear that the suggestion doesn't hold any water to me without any clear factual basis.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    I was merely inviting discussion on the subject, which we never really got into.
    You might attempt to 'invite' people to a discussion more tactfully in the future, if you do indeed want an open and maximally objective exchange of views.
    (Original post by allymcb2)
    I kind of expected on a Cambridge forum that people would be able to have a proper discussion about the subject without getting all huffy and defensive about what is generally accepted in Oxford as harmless banter between the subjects. Sadly I was mistaken. I am now being dragged away by my bf to watch Lewis lol, so I won't be responding anymore today.

    This is actually pretty typical to my posting style, and to my knowledge other TSRers don't find me huffy or defensive. Its also quite clear that I'm not the only person on this thread who responded to your posts as more than 'harmless banter'.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    The same argument is made ... about PPP students who take philosophy copping out of the more rigorous parts of psychology.
    Hahaha. *facedesk* *sob*
    So speaks somebody who is currently writing an essay on Davidson. Pity me.
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    'Depth'? 'Academic rigour?' What does any of this mean?
    You do law (apparently). So the chances are you have lots of lectures and lots of essays to do. Well done.
    I do philosophy. So I can get by with two days of work a week if I really want. Fortunately, this leaves me with five days to dedicate to in-depth navel gazing or to going to any lectures I want in the university. What depth! What breadth! In reality, I do neither of these things, but I could if I wanted to and isn't that really the point? If we were all as motivated and interested in breadth and depth as you make out, then the best course to do would be the one with the least amount of time-tabled hours (i.e. not law). Cambridge is set up in such a way that if you really are that committed, you can learn as much as you want (I assume the same is true of Oxford). The reason this sort of discussion is generally in the 'harmless banter' category is that no one is in a position to say they are getting the most out of their degree and so no one is in a position to legitimately care which books their faculty head wrote. (The following is a substantive claim; you might like to consider dropping one in once or twice). Every facutly in Oxbridge (and probably most other places) is capable of providing more depth than any of us will ever make use of. Ultimately, lectures are spoon-feeding - if you really cared, you'd spend all day in the library or cornering fellows to discuss your ideas. I don't do this. You don't do this. So really any comparison would be based on how good a faculty is at telling people things they either don't want to know or, if they do, things they could find out for themselves. Welcome to undergraduate education.

    As for academic rigour... well that's just stupid. Each subject and faculty has its own definition of this term. If law was philosophically rigorous, it would never get off the ground. All I can say is: thank god for sloppy thinking!
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    Hurrah. Thank God for sloppy thinking indeed! *inserts some into essay*
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    I'll have some of that!

    *slops all over essay*

    Brilliant. Done much quicker.
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    (Original post by johnrambo)
    'Depth'? 'Academic rigour?' What does any of this mean?
    You do law (apparently). So the chances are you have lots of lectures and lots of essays to do. Well done.
    I do philosophy. So I can get by with two days of work a week if I really want. Fortunately, this leaves me with five days to dedicate to in-depth navel gazing or to going to any lectures I want in the university. What depth! What breadth! In reality, I do neither of these things, but I could if I wanted to and isn't that really the point? If we were all as motivated and interested in breadth and depth as you make out, then the best course to do would be the one with the least amount of time-tabled hours (i.e. not law). Cambridge is set up in such a way that if you really are that committed, you can learn as much as you want (I assume the same is true of Oxford). The reason this sort of discussion is generally in the 'harmless banter' category is that no one is in a position to say they are getting the most out of their degree and so no one is in a position to legitimately care which books their faculty head wrote. (The following is a substantive claim; you might like to consider dropping one in once or twice). Every facutly in Oxbridge (and probably most other places) is capable of providing more depth than any of us will ever make use of. Ultimately, lectures are spoon-feeding - if you really cared, you'd spend all day in the library or cornering fellows to discuss your ideas. I don't do this. You don't do this. So really any comparison would be based on how good a faculty is at telling people things they either don't want to know or, if they do, things they could find out for themselves. Welcome to undergraduate education.

    As for academic rigour... well that's just stupid. Each subject and faculty has its own definition of this term. If law was philosophically rigorous, it would never get off the ground. All I can say is: thank god for sloppy thinking!
    Oh well then. We may aswell all go to Brookes or Anglia Ruskin.

    Lectures give you an opportunity, unlike articles and books, to challenge and question aspects of their argument, or ask them to clarify parts of it and I would personally say more can be gleaned from this than from a book if you have the right lecturers. Particularly if, as we did, you have to learn law reforms reports and get lectured by the people who wrote them, so that you can ask questions, and be given answers as to why decisions were taken that aren't yet available on paper. That was an opportunity enjoyed and taken up by even those who got poor results in the paper and were genuinely disinterested students. Lectures are also a time-efficient way of getting an overview of the subject, which you could get from reading but would take longer. I don't see what anything we have been discussing.

    Going back to your point about never being able to take up every opportunity. That is true to an extent, which is why I think the value of a degree lies in what the degree requires you to demonstrate to get a First. That after all is how you demonstrate that you made as good a use of the resources as you could have been expected to so it is those graduates that we should be interesting. I don't fall into that category, so I am best left out of the discussion.

    You could naval gaze for the whole of the rest of your life, it doesn't have much value as part of a degree, unless it is gainfully contributing to your studies and you could probably go to most lectures as a normal member of the public if you got permission-which if you had studied there you would be quite likely to get.

    Academic rigour might be a term in need of definition, I dispute that it has no meaning across subject borders. Anyone can see that degree level English is more rigorous than A-level Maths, it doesn't require them to be of the same subject. The difficulty is only in comparing subjects of a similar level.
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    (Original post by allymcb2)
    Oh well then. We may aswell all go to Brookes or Anglia Ruskin.
    The only disadvantage to this would be foregoing the reputation and prestige points that are attached to Oxbridge degrees by default, and probably less easy access to large resources, and not as much support and quality teaching. A motivated and committed student could still very plausibly come out of a course in such an institution having learnt more and engaged more deeply with an academic field than his or her counterpart at Oxbridge - and find themselves at an intellectual advantage after graduation.

    More un-qualitative elitism. Fun ;dry;
    (..the latter bearing in mind that we are purely focusing on 'academic rigour')
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    The only disadvantage to this would be foregoing the reputation and prestige points that are attached to Oxbridge degrees by default, and probably less easy access to large resources, and not as much support and quality teaching. A motivated and committed student could still very plausibly come out of a course in such an institution having learnt more and engaged more deeply with an academic field than his or her counterpart at Oxbridge - and find themselves at an intellectual advantage after graduation.

    More un-qualitative elitism. Fun ;dry;
    (..the latter bearing in mind that we are purely focusing on 'academic rigour')
    If that is all you think your degree gives you, I am bloody glad I didn't go to Cambridge.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    You might attempt to 'invite' people to a discussion more tactfully in the future, if you do indeed want an open and maximally objective exchange of views.


    This is actually pretty typical to my posting style, and to my knowledge other TSRers don't find me huffy or defensive. Its also quite clear that I'm not the only person on this thread who responded to your posts as more than 'harmless banter'.
    If you had read any of my posts, you would no doubt realise that I am in no way interested in arguing in those who respond only to tact. Given the extent of your own ad hominems towards me in this thread pot kettle black comes to mind.
 
 
 
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