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Question Description

Final Paper

You will have to write one formal paper for this course. The paper should be approximately 1200 words in length (roughly four pages of 12 point Times New Roman font double spaced). The paper will require you to do two main things: 1) Clearly summarize and explain the argument of one of the philosophers that we have or will study. 2) Evaluate that argument. As mentioned above, it should be 12 point Times New Roman font and double spaced. You may use the MLA, APA, or Chicago citation styles. Be sure to include a works cited. For a good, in depth guideline on how a philosophy paper should be written, you should visit http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/guidelines/writing.html#Minor (particularly the “What Does One Do in a Philosopher Paper?” section). Essentially, I am looking for critical engagement with at least one of the readings that we have covered in this course. As the site suggests, your paper could take any of the following shapes:

  • Criticize a philosopher’s argument; or show that certain arguments for their thesis are no good
  • Defend their argument or thesis against someone else’s criticism (for instance, you could defend a paper we read against a response paper that we also read)
  • Offer reasons to believe their thesis
  • Offer counter-examples to their thesis
  • Contrast the strengths and weaknesses of two opposing views about some thesis
  • Give examples which help explain their thesis, or which help to make the thesis more plausible
  • Argue that certain philosophers are committed to some thesis by their other views, though they do not come out and explicitly endorse the thesis
  • Discuss what consequences the thesis would have, if it were true
  • Revise the thesis, in the light of some objection