UCOR 2500—SIKES Final Paper Guidelines and Topics
You should write your paper with an audience in mind. Imagine you are writing this for a reader completely unfamiliar with this class and most likely unfamiliar with the works we read. The reader would be an educated one, so you can assume some basic knowledge about the major philosophers of the Western tradition, just not that any of the details of their works would necessarily be known. Do not refer to the class and you do not need to footnote class discussion. You also need to write in an “objective” tone; don’t refer to subjective feelings and opinions about the topic as the basis for your argument. Your thesis and conclusions should be ones that are, for the most part, universally true, and the arguments you make in the paper should demonstrate why. You can use personal anecdotes to illustrate what happens for the most part to us all (universally).
You may also use the philosophies studied and their arguments to interpret some question you have about life, politics, the environment, or a work of art, literature, film, etc. If you do this, you would need to make sure that you weave enough philosophical interpretation and argumentation from the texts into your analysis of your question.
Question and Thesis. For details on this, see “Creating a Strong Thesis” under Lessons in Angel.
• Begin by thinking of a philosophical question you have from our discussions or readings that you want to answer or explore in the paper. You need not always “answer” your question in the paper; sometimes a thorough exploration of why the question arises to begin with is already a good philosophical meditation.
• The question should center on a problem that is relevant to at least three of the philosophers we studied, one of which must be from the second half of the course (Abram, Sartre, Beauvoir).The question should be of vital philosophical importance to you and others.
• The thesis is a statement that frames the question you will deal with in a way that shows the reader why they should care about the topic you will be discussing. It is a concise statement of the argument, interpretation, or point of the paper. Do some free-writing beforehand on your question in order to discover what your thesis will be. Start writing the first draft of your paper once you have a clear and distinct idea of what your thesis is. I am happy to help you develop your thesis during office hours or by email. Please get in touch!! Or, you can use the writing center as a resource.
• The paper needs to bring in analysis with textual citations of THREE texts studied so far, one of which must be from Abram, Sartre, or Beauvoir. If at least three of the philosophers are not adequately analyzed, this will negatively affect the grade of the paper. Conversely, if you are able to discuss more than three in some detail, this will positively affect your grade!
• Papers must be between 5-7 pages, double-spaced. Less than 5 pages will negatively affect the grade for the paper. More than 7 pages, however, will not positively affect your grade. Stay within the stated parameters for the paper length.
• Turn in your paper on canvas.
• LATE PAPERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Be prepared to turn your paper in on time.
• A bibliography must be included. You can find the bibliographical references for all of the texts used in this class on the first page of the syllabus. Points will be taken off for not having a bibliography.
• Your paper should have a title.
Grading Criteria. For a complete description of the grading criteria, see the “Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers” under Lessons in Angel.
Papers are graded on three criteria:
• Strength of thesis. Does the paper pass the “So what?” test?
• Strength of argument. Does the paper give enough evidence, textual or otherwise, to argue the thesis convincingly?
• Writing. Is the paper proofread? Are there grammatical, spelling, or stylistic problems? Is the paper well organized? Is it written using clear and precise language?
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