Students should demonstrate that they can distinguish the relevant points that form a logically coherent argument. They should also be able to construct criticisms which effectively undermine, through the use of appropriate counter-examples, some premise of that argument.
Your assignment is to read any ONE of the following four articles:
Then, FOR THE ARTICLE YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE ON, you will type a 1000-1500 word response in which you address EACH of the following points IN YOUR OWN WORDS: 1) What is the author’s main argument? 2) How does he support his main argument (evidence, ancillary arguments, etc.)? 3) Do you agree or disagree with him? 4) Why or why not? 5) Apply the insights of at least two of the readings we have studied in this course (in chapters 1-9) to your analysis. Make sure to give a substantive explanation of how the philosophers’ insights are relevant to the topic you are discussing.
A WORD OF WARNING: These articles are rather long and complex. The author likes to make extensive use of his rather copious vocabulary, so I strongly urge you to have dictionary.com handy as you work your way through your chosen article. The purpose of this essay assignment is for you to demonstrate your ability to discuss, analyze, and evaluate complex philosophic arguments. I am confident that the reading assignments, tests, and discussion boards will have prepared you for this final, and no doubt challenging, essay assignment.
Note: I only allow one attempt on this assignment. Students who do not fully address all of the components of the assignment as stated in the instructions as well as the grading rubric below will have to be content with the grade they earned.
Please use MLA format.
Your paper will be graded according to the following rubric:
The following standards are numbered in order of importance for grading.
1.Essay demonstrates an understanding of the material: The student has correctly grasped a philosophical problem or question, has explained it accurately, and on the basis of a substantially correct interpretation of any texts involved. Key terms are used correctly. The essay shows evidence of the student’s independent thought, and is written in his or her distinctive voice. Short (one sentence) quotations are used (comprising no more than 10% of the body of the paper), when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis, and an explanation is offered for each quotation. The use of block quotations will result in a severe point deduction.
2.Essay has clear and coherent argument: There is a clearly stated thesis, and support for this thesis in the body of the paper. Each paragraph contributes to this argument, and follows logically from the paragraph before it. The argument presented is persuasive. The insights of two other philosophers are incorporated into the analysis.
3.Essay fulfills assigned task: The essay addresses the entire assigned question or topic, elaborating on important ideas in satisfactory depth, but without bringing in anything extraneous or irrelevant. The introduction of the essay focuses and provides clarity for the paper. Important terms are clearly and accurately defined. Each paragraph conveys a coherent, organized thought. Short (one sentence) quotations are occasionally used, when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis, and an explanation is offered for each quotation. No more than 10% of paper is made up of direct quotes. No block quotations.
4.Essay obeys standards for good persuasive writing: the writer shows that he or she is comfortable using philosophical language, and the prose is clear, not awkward. The structure of the sentences reflects the relationships between/among the ideas discussed.
5.Essay is technically correct: The essay has been carefully and thoughtfully proofread. The argument is written in complete sentences, with punctuation that does not mislead the reader. There are no mistakes in spelling, grammar, word choice, and punctuation.