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My teacher gives what he calls "binary exams" where student either gets 100 or get 0. He said that this is consistent with his belief in absolute truth (like some sort of "platonic ideal") in that a student either knows the truth or he does not. Usually the class ends up with around 30% students getting 0 on an exam (there are 3 such exams) so that the course average at the end is on par with university grading guideline. Intuitively, I think that he is being sophist about his cruelty and hatred against students (the only way to get A is to nail all 3 exams, one miss B+, and fail otherwise). Am I right? Does his justification have any legitimacy philosophically? Are there any holes in his argument?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Conifold, virmaior, Frank Hubeny, Jishin Noben, Geoffrey Thomas Apr 2 at 7:21

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  • Philosophy does not adjudicate whether or not the absolute truth exists, and we can not diagnose "cruelty and hatred" remotely. "Either you know it or you don't" grading is not unheard of, and partial credit is not without its own flaws. Which system is chosen, is in the end, a judgment call, not the conclusion of an argument. And if the course average on a par doesn't it mean that students get, on average, what they would get with a different grading system? – Conifold Apr 2 at 0:15
  • @Conifold "Philosophy does not adjudicate whether or not the absolute truth exists." Why not? I think philosophy is about truth. And primary investigation of anything should be whether it exists. Just my opinion. – Daniel Li Apr 2 at 0:34
  • @Conifold To your last question, mean does not characterize distribution. – Daniel Li Apr 2 at 0:35
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    There are many holes in this argument. The most obvious one is that there exists "absolute truth" which goes against reality (like scientific research). Then there's the obvious mistake in thinking that a bimodal distribution equals a normal one just because the means are equal. Then there's reductio ad absurdum: Either your prof knows english or not. If your prof is caught making a single grammatical error then it's latter therefore the prof is not proficient in english and shouldn't be qualified to lecture in english. All or nothing. But this isn't a philosophcal answer so its a comment. – Cell Apr 2 at 3:18
  • Your comment answers your question. Even the idea of what philosophy should be about is "just your opinion". And other people bring theirs to philosophy. – Conifold Apr 2 at 19:01

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