This assignment, worth 10% of the final grade, asks you to develop your own phil
This assignment, worth 10% of the final grade, asks you to develop your own philosophical viewpoint on a topic of your choice rooted in our course. The goal of this assignment will be to make a philosophical argument about some problem rooted in our class in conversation with one or more philosophical figures from our reading list (papers in conversation with Hitz must still choose one other figure from our course), and only from our reading list (i.e. don’t make use of any texts not assigned in our course syllabus—I’m interested in your reactions to the class materials, not anyone else’s, thus use of outside research is not permitted). The argument that you make should be one that you defend because you are genuinely convinced that it is true. This could take the form of an argument against one or more of our authors, an argument in support of one or more of our authors, or it could creatively borrow from these figures in order to make an independent claim of our own. As such, the paper assignment is somewhat open-ended in at least a few respects. First and foremost, the choice of topic is entirely your own. The only restriction is that it should be a topic rooted in our course in some way. Concretely, this means two things. 1) The paper topic needs, obviously, to focus on some particular area within philosophy. 2) It should, moreover, be course-relevant to the extent that it maintains contact with an author or authors whom we have or will have studied this semester. To repeat, then, the goal of the assignment will be for you to take a philosophical position in regard to the particular topic that your paper raises. That means that you want to be arguing for, against, or about something definite which you intend toprove through the course of your argument, e.g. is Plato right to think that the soul is immortal? is the Platonic effort to understand the soul through analogy to the city reasonable? is Voegelin’s effort to reinvigorate classical political science convincing? does it provide us with good tools for understanding our own politics and, if so, how specifically? As argumentative, moreover, this paper seeks to do more than merely to clarify some interpretive point (as was the limited goal of our interpretive essays) about a philosophical thinker or text. That is, your goal is not merely to tell me what thinker A or B thought, but your job is to make an argument that indicates what you think and also why your reader should consider your viewpoint rationally plausible. To do this, remember that you need to have a strong focus on providing reasoned arguments for the positions that you take. The goal, as in all philosophical writing, is to convince your reader of the correctness of your position by providing them with plausible reasons for holding to what you claim to be true. That is to say, appeal through reason rather than rhetoric, through argument rather than pathos(feeling), and always be conscious of the fact that that you happen to think a certain way is no proof that you ought to think in that way. Always, then, ask yourself the following questions: Would my reader have sufficient reason to be convinced by my argument? What does my argument presuppose? Are my presuppositions intuitively available to my reader in such a way that the reader will understand why I have argued in the way that I have and in such a way that the reader will be convinced that it is plausible to argue in the way that I have? Have I preemptively responded to potential objections that might arise from proponents of other, competing moral traditions in such a way, at minimum, that my argument is still plausible despite their objections? Moreover, remember that clarity of expression is important. Your reader cannot be convinced by your argument if they are struggling to follow your reasoning because your language is not clear or because they are otherwise distracted by grammatical or compositional errors. Characteristics of paper: 1. Paper is to be in an essay form, i.e. a smooth, flowing, logically constructed discussion that includes an introduction with an argumentative thesis, a body, and a conclusion. No bullets. 2. Length: about 1,200-2,000 words (approximately 5-7 pages). 3. There should be NO COVER SHEET. Your name, the dateyou hand it in, and a word count should be in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. 4. Type should not be so small that it is difficult for me to read; the ideal is 12 point Garamond or Times New Roman: ALWAYS double-space and include page numbers. 5. Remember ALWAYS to cite every reference to the text, including direct quotations as well as paraphrases of the text. Citations should always be of the text itself, not of lecture notes. Note: Citations should correctly the Chicago citation style, using footnotes and bibliography rather than in-text parenthetical citations. 6. Please also give the paper an interesting/expressive title – this helps to provide your paper with further unity and direction as well as serves to stimulate your readers’ interest. 7. Succinctness – i.e. few words but more meaning – is a virtue in philosophy papers. Try to say more with less. 8. Keep in mind that tone is important – you should imagine that you are writing this for a broad philosophical audience. Thus, you are not just writing this for me but for many people who may not be familiar with our class and class discussions.Recognition of the nature of your audience is important for setting the proper tone in the paper (i.e. you want to ensure that it does not read as a homework assignment but as a piece of professional writing by eliminating any reference to the ‘semester’, the ‘class’, or to ‘what we have been studying’). Also, it should serve as a guide in thinking about the need to define terms or concepts and to provide citations or explanation of context for references that you make to concepts, arguments, or historical moments with which you cannot expect your reader to be familiar. 9. Any paper composed at the college level should be free of spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors. Read your papers OUT LOUD to yourself a MINIMUM of FOUR times, making changes where necessary, before submitting in order to eliminate errors. Failure to conform to the above style will result in a reduction ofyour grade.

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