You will come up with your own topic question. You must choose a topic question that is:
Addressed in Module 1, Module 2, or Module 3, and
Answered with philosophical arguments in assigned course materials.
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For example, the question “Does a Divine Being exist?” would work because, in assigned materials, William Paley and David Hume both answered this question with philosophical arguments. As another, example, the question “Should we attempt to prove whether a Divine Being exists?” would work, because the Buddhist reading and the lecture by Dr. Tony Edwards answered this question with arguments. “Does the problem of induction mean that no scientific findings count as genuine knowledge?” would work because Russell, Hume, and the Carvakans all addressed this issue with arguments in assigned readings. There are several other questions that would work. Choose a topic that will give you an opportunity to show your best work!
Here is what your essay needs to contain.
In the intro paragraph of your paper, describe your topic question. Your intro paragraph must also describe what the paper will cover—keep this very brief. State your topic question, name the two philosophers you’ll be discussing and let the reader know you will be making your own argument. This paragraph should be no more than 150 words long.
Explain how one of the philosophers we studied would answers the topic question; include their view and argument and one of their arguments for the view. Present the argument in full—in your own words—and discuss it thoughtfully so your reader understands how it works. You must draw from assigned reading only. Do not use other sources. TIP: If possible, you may use content from one of your Argument Reconstruction Assignments as the basis of this section! Do not include an argument reconstruction in your Essay, but you can base this paragraph of the Essay on argument reconstructions you submitted previously. Try to improve your description of the argument by adding details and discussion.
Explain how a second philosopher we studied answers the topic question; include their view and one of their arguments for the view. Present the argument in full—in your own words— and discuss it thoughtfully so your reader understands how it works. You must draw from assigned reading only. Do not use other sources. TIP: IF possible, you may use content from one of your Argument Reconstruction Assignments as the basis of this section! Do not include an argument reconstruction in your Essay, but you can base this paragraph of the Essay on argument reconstructions you submitted previously. Try to improve your description of the argument by adding details and discussion.
Identify objections to the two arguments presented so far. You must use strategies Dr. Stansell taught in the Identifying Objections lecture. TIP: If possible, use content from your Identifying Objections Assignments as the basis of this section! Be sure to read the feedback the instructor provided on your Identifying Objections Assignments so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Give your answer to the topic question. Provide an original argument to support your answer. If you agree with one of the philosophers you already presented, you must still provide a new argument for the view. You can use ideas from other philosophers’ arguments, but your must mention those philosophers by name and credit the idea to them, and your argument must include new, original elements. Your score for this section will be based on how strong and how original your argument is. TIP: Use content from one of your Write Your Own Philosophical Argument Assignment as the basis of this section! But, do not include an argument reconstruction. Use your previous work as the basis of a paragraph that can be included in your Essay. Be sure to read the feedback the instructor provided on your assignment submission so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Detailed criteria for this section of the Essay:
The argument shows an understanding of the philosophical topic.This means you address the topic question of your paper as a philosophical question and not an everyday question, and in your answer you show you understand the philosophical issues covered in the course that are involved in the topic.
The argument has at least 4 distinct (non-repetitive), effective, original premises that make use of relevant philosophical vocabulary concepts we learned in the course.
When premises are borrowed from other philosophers, those philosophers are credited. Borrowed premises can play an important role in your argument but will not count as orginal premises (see previous bullet point).
The argument is explained so that an average college-level reader unfamiliar with the topic would understand it.
The conclusion is stated clearly.
The argument is effective in supporting the conclusion.
Provide a very brief concluding paragraph that recaps the main points of the paper; mention the two philosophers you discussed and briefly restate your ultimate reason for accepting or rejecting their arguments. Briefly recap your own argument. This paragraph should be no more than 150 words long.
Formatting, mechanics, and other instructions
DO write an essay in a standard essay format. Write in complete sentences.
DO NOT include bullet points or argument reconstructions.
DO use a standard font such at Times 11 pt. or 12 pt., 1.5 or 2.0 spaced, with standard margins.
DO NOT include a Works Cited page, in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes.
DO write 2-4 pages.
DO NOT write more than 6 pages. Points may be deducted for unnecessary content.
DO use a written voice you are comfortable with, but which is academic. You may write in the first person singular (i.e. “In his essay, I will describe . . . “), first person plural (i.e. “ We will see that Descartes’ argument fails because . . . “), or third person (i.e. “Both Hume and Descartes take a position on this question, and ultimately Hume succeeds.”)
DO NOT include any quotes. The entire essay must be in your own words.
DO spell-check and proofread your paper.
DO NOT turn in a paper with more than three typos or mechanics errors per page. Points may be deducted for writing errors (such as in spelling, grammar, usage, and so on) if there are more than just a few.
DO submit your work as a file. Use one of these formats: .doc, .docx, .docm, .ppt, .pptx, .odt, .txt, .rtf, .pdf, or .html. I cannot allow submission in any other format because I will not be able to read the file. It is your responsibility to use an allowable file type and check in the online system to make sure your work was submitted successfully.