Writing and Class Essay Assignment

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Philosophy 320
Spring 2013

Class Essay Assignment

It is time to start working on the long essay you will write for the class.

This major essay will be different in character from the three-page turn-ins. In those, you’ve been summarizing and to some extent, analyzing texts. Your own beliefs, feelings, attitudes have been secondary, if at all present.

In this longer essay, that changes. I want you to write this with your ideas prominent. I want to know what YOU think. That said, one necessary part of this paper involves addressing at least one of the arguments you encounter in the readings.

Here, then, are guidelines for the paper:

) It should address a clear and well-focused question or puzzle. This question should have two characteristics: It should be based on some interest of yours; and there should be something that you DON’T know about it, some puzzle you want to explore.

) Ultimately, you must provide a clear statement of your best answer to that question or resolution of that puzzle.

) Be sure to discuss not only what you take the best answer to be, but WHY you think so. Why should a reasonable person agree with the position you have come to?

) Make sure you consider in your paper, at least one objection that a reasonable person might give to the position you have come to. Provide a reply to that person’s objection.

) Although ultimately, your essay should focus on your ideas about the topic, it must lay out some of the arguments of at least one of the philosophers whose work we have looked at. Remember to use references to the text and your interpretation of them.

) Last, what to use: The essay should focus on developing ideas found in the textbook we are using in class. And I strongly encourage you to make that the only source you use. However, if you do decide to use other sources, make sure you have clear citations to them, including quotation marks and page numbers for direct quotes. Also, please provide a bibliography at the end.

) The form of the essay: It should have a clear summative introduction, a well laid out body of the paper, and a conclusion that both summarizes and points ahead to unsolved problems or future research. We have discussed that in class and will review it.

) Style: Philosophy is done best