Student Malapropisms

 Posted by on 2 May 2005 at 8:21 am  Uncategorized
May 022005

I’m busy grading papers these days, so I might have found this list of student malapropisms just a bit too funny. Some students obviously relied too much on oral material from lecture:

12. Regarding Hobbes’ view: “in the state of nature man is nasty, British and short.”

46. “Descartes states that we have doubts because of the Evil Genius in us.”

58. A student wrote about Descartes’ “cogito ergo seem” argument.

290. For Hobbes a limited government would be no good because it could never have more power than the subgroups that composed it, which means that it could fall victim to revelry.

Other students were just pretty darn confused:

14. “I believe Plato has the right idea but I don’t exactly buy the notion of the forms.”

16. “Berkeley’s philosophy of immaterialism was the theory I have read which I can relate to due to the ideas I have in my mind.”

25. “Ultimately, this objection against this utilitarian way of thinking is well grounded because it is ridiculous under this circumstance to consider only the consequence and not what is actually going to be accomplished.”

27. “Although Hobbes’ view is contradictory, therefore problematic, it is generally correct in concept and thus can be accepted as valid.”

63. “In the Apology, Socrates is wrongly accused of philosophizing.”

90. “According to Kant, man “treats himself as an end to all things. He does everything for himself.”

104. Writing a test answer to a question about problems with Anselm’s ontological argument a student writes: “this doesn’t make any sense to me how existence not being a predicate denies a perfectly good argument on the existence of God by Anselm but that is the problem they raise.”

119. In writing a paper on whether Socrates contradicts himself regarding one’s obligation to obey the law in the Apology and the Crito, a student maintained that he approached “…each issue independently…[deciding] which route of action would represent the greatest good for the greatest number of persons.”

134. “Psychological egoism has both good and bad points. It’s good in that one’s only concern is for one’s self-interest. Yet it’s bad because seeking one’s self-interest means being selfish.”

However, I liked this one:

277. The first sentence of a paper on Kant’s ethics read: “Kant and his ethical theory is one that begins and ends in much a confusing manner.”

But wait a minute: The middle is confusing too!

I did find a few of funny malapropisms in my student essays. Perhaps the best was a reference to a “cereal killer” in a (generally good) paper on punishment. I can see it now: “Detective, he’s struck again. Yes, the cereal killer. It was the Corn Flakes this time. I’m sorry, sir; I know they were friends of yours.”

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