Philosophy UNIT 7

This is your essay topic:
What is a good society?

During this, you will devise a clear response to this topic, based on your personal philosophical perspective (your thesis statement). You will then develop and write three body paragraphs supporting your position, as well as an introductory and a concluding paragraph.

Step 1: Develop your thesis statement
This course includes four main branches or fields of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and socio-political. A good way to start thinking about the topic question is to try to answer the question from the point of view of each of these branches.Note that the information you jot down is what you think and is based solely on your viewpoint in response to the topic.
Your answers here can be very brief; you’ll get a chance to expand on them later. Think of this as just basic note-taking.

What criteria are required to call a society “good,” from a metaphysical perspective?

What criteria are required to call a society “good,” from an epistemological perspective?

What criteria are required to call a society “good,” from an ethical perspective?

What criteria are required to call a society “good,” from a socio-political perspective?

Examine the points you’ve made. What do they all have in common? Is there an underlying moral or political position to them? After thinking about your notes some more and moving ideas around, you will be able to define and write your thesis statement.

Step 2: Write your thesis statement
Here are five possible thesis statements in response to the question “What is a good society?”
1. Society is good when people do the right thing.
2. A good society is not one where people have no human rights.
3. A perfect society is one where criminals are punished so that they will not reoffend.
4. Before it can become good, our society needs to crack down on organized crime.
5. A good society is one where people receive according to their needs and provide to others according to their abilities.
Which response do you think would set the scene for a thesis statement (your main argument or position) on the topic?

Step 3: Plan and do your research
At this point, you’ve established your position on what you think a good society is. Your next step is to collect evidence to support your position. You should keep a concise record of your search sites and sources as you will need to quote them using APA format when you submit your essay. You can do research and use quotations from the resources and information presented in the course and you can also include research that you’ve found online and at your local library.
Once you have a fairly large list of evidence, take a look at the philosophers and the philosophical concepts discussed in this course. Locate the philosophers whose positions would agree with yours, and see what they had to say. Next, look online or at your local library to continue your research to find information and quotations that will support your thesis statement.
When doing your research, keep an eye out for the following:
• Key and concise quotes: if the philosopher can summarize his or her argument in a few sentences, use those.
• Explanatory paragraphs: you won’t use these directly, but you can summarize them in your essay through paraphrasing (there are notes for you on paraphrasing in the third section of this lesson).

Write the body paragraphs
When making your choices of branches or fields of philosophy and philosophers to quote in your three paragraphs, consider the following:
•strength of the argument – this is related to and supported by the branch of philosophy
•variety of arguments – some branches might have more arguments, and more diverse arguments, than others
•variety of supporting philosophers – some branches have more philosophers who agree with your position
•impact of supporting philosophers – you generally get more strength in your position by quoting from the more famous and influential philosophers than the less well-known ones
•relevance of supporting philosophers – some philosophers directly address the points you make, while others just “sort of, kind of, maybe” support your position

Remember that it is important to apply logic to all your position arguments.Also, keep in mind that the quotations and arguments from other philosophers are there to support your original case, not replace it. Be sure that most of the writing in your paragraphs is your own, and only seasoned by the researched philosophers.
Repeat this process for all three of your body paragraphs.

Write the introductory paragraph
The introductory paragraph is often one of the last paragraphs written in an essay because it is a one-paragraph summary.
When a reader has read your introductory paragraph, they should know precisely what you’re going to be talking about and your exact position on the topic. They should be able to determine what the main topic is, as well as the number of subtopics you will be addressing and the order in which they will appear.

What is the topic of this essay?

What is the topic of the first body paragraph?

What is the topic of the second body paragraph?

What is the topic of the third body paragraph?

What is the writer’s opinion (the thesis statement) on the topic of the paragraph?

Write the concluding paragraph
Your concluding paragraph is exactly that – a conclusion. It is not simply a restatement of either your thesis or your introductory paragraph. The reader has just absorbed all your information, but now needs a summary of everything you have told them. So you synthesize your thesis statement and your three body paragraphs, and restate them concisely for the reader in your concluding paragraph.

Now you’re ready to do a first read and edit on your writing so far.

Task 1: Complete your essay
In this lesson, you have prepared and written five paragraphs on the topic “What is a good society?” You have written an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
You conducted extensive research to find philosophers who support your definition of a good society. Now you should insert the collected research into those paragraphs.
First, reread your paragraphs. Each paragraph should meet the following criteria:
•It supports the thesis statement you developed, explaining what you think a good society is
•It has a logical, step-by-step explanation of your position, from the point of view of a specified philosophy branch
•It has a general statement, at least three points, and a concluding sentence
When inserting your research, for each point select the quote or idea that best matches and supports it. As evidence (in this case, your quote or theory from a philosopher), it should immediately follow the point it is supporting. You may, if you wish, have multiple ideas or quotes linked to one point.

Check your introductory and concluding paragraphs
Reread your introductory paragraph. It should include the following:
•A general statement that introduces the overall topic of the essay
•A summative sentence in sequence for every body paragraph that appears in your essay
•A thesis statement that puts forth, in a simple manner, your position on the overall topic
Reread your concluding paragraph. It should synthesize your thesis statement and your three body paragraphs, and restate them concisely for the reader.

Self-edit and peer-edit
Reread your entire essay, correcting spelling and grammar mistakes and improving vocabulary. When you wrote the paragraphs, they may have been rushed and quickly assembled. This time around, take the time to add emphasis and style to your words. Once you have made your own improvements, give your essay to a trusted friend or colleague to review. If they feel there needs to be clarification or tightening up, sit down with them and determine where further improvements are needed.

Task 2: Reflection
You will now write a final, course-encompassing reflection on your development throughout this course.
First, consider the following questions.
1. What criteria do you use to determine truth or validity?
2. What do you think is the best way to acquire knowledge?
3. What is the driving force in your life?
4. What is the best way to interact with someone?
For each question, answer twice: first, as the person you were before you started the course; second, as the person you are now, having completed the course.

Here is an example for you to consider:
“What criteria do you use to determine truth or validity?
I used to believe that something was true simply if I could perceive it – see, hear, touch, taste, or smell it. After learning about the principle of sufficient reason, however, I now extend that to include an understanding of its cause, and not simply what I perceive on the surface. My understanding of truth has grown to include a need to understand why I perceive what I perceive.”

Do not rush through the questions. Think about each one for a few minutes. Critique your ideas. Once you have decided how to respond, write your answers below.

What criteria do you use to determine truth or validity?

What do you think is the best way to acquire knowledge?

What is the driving force in your life?

What is the best way to interact with someone?

After you have had a chance to examine your writing and found some common ideas, answer the following questions.

What was your underlying philosophy at the start of this course?

What is your underlying philosophy now?

How are the two different?

Now you will convert the information you have developed into a paragraph to answer the following topic question:

How have your ideas of the world developed throughout this course