Philosophy 210

Your final essay should be between 1400 and 1500 words long. double-spaced, in a font comparable to the one used on this page. Any quotations and paraphrases from the text must be cited (in whatever format you prefer), and your paper must be edited and proofread. The final essay must be submitted to Canvas by 5PM on Tuesday, December 8. Special Instructions: On Wednesday 12/9 I will email any student who has not turned in a paper. Please check your university email account on that day. If you do not get an email from me, I have your paper. If I email you because I don’t have your paper, it is your responsibility to respond immediately. If I do not receive your paper by the time I submit my final grades, you will fail the course. Throughout this course, we have focused on identifying arguments and formulating objections to the main claims in those arguments. Each week, we’ve read a lead article and have followed it by reading 2 to 3 criticisms of the argument presented in the article. For your final essay, I want you to present a focused, well-organized criticism of one of the following authors: Reiman (capital punishment), President’s Council (cloning), Pateman (Prostitution), or Wonderly (video games). The goal of the essay is to evaluate the argument of the author. Thus, you should not select an author based on whether you agree with his or her conclusion. Instead, select an argument that you understand and will be able to criticize. Prompt: In light of the criticisms you present, does the author present a good argument? In the course of your essay you must (this is a checklist not an outline): 1. Explain the argument that you will criticize. You should focus on those facets of the argument that will be particularly important to your criticisms and not simply summarize the
paper from beginning to end. 2. Present one or more criticisms of the argument. You may not use criticisms that are presented in the readings. You must fully explain your criticism, giving examples if needed to help demonstrate your points. It is better to spend a lot of time developing one criticism than to give a long list of criticisms. 3. Consider how the author might respond to your criticism. Are there any ways in which the author could defend his or her argument? 4. Express whether or not the original argument is a good argument. You must take a side.
Your essay will be judged on its overall organization, the clarity of your presentation, your
attention to and use of the text (through frequent citation), and the thoughtfulness of your argument. You must structure your paper as an essay. It should have a clear statement of purpose (an answer to the prompt) in the introduction. You must edit and proofread your paper several times. Papers with basic grammatical errors will be significantly penalized. Finally, all quotations and paraphrases: Quotations: All quotations must be cited with a page number. You can place this citation in parentheses at the end of the quotation or in a footnote. • A quotation is material that is copied directly from a source and placed in quotation marks. For example, Fullinwider constructs an example in which, “Jones is walking down a street. Smith steps from behind the corner of a nearby building and begins to fire a gun at Jones, with the appearance of deliberate intent to kill Jones. Surrounded by buildings, Jones is afforded no means of escape. Jones, who is carrying a gun himself, shoots at Smith and kills him (37).” • If the quotation is taken from a work used in class, you do not need to provide a full citation on a works cited page. Full citations are required for all other works.
Paraphrases: All paraphrases must be cited with a page number. You can place this citation in parenthesis at the end of the paraphrase or in a footnote. • You paraphrase material when you take a specific passage and put it in your own words. It is not sufficient to change a word or two. The paraphrase should be your own sentence, not a modified version of the original sentence. If you are looking directly at the reading when you
write your new sentence, you are not paraphrasing. You’re plagiarizing. • Here is an example of a paraphrase of the passage I quoted above. Fullinwider uses an example in which Jones and Smith meet in an alley. Smith fires at Jones and tries to kill him. Jones cannot escape and draws his own weapon, killing Smith (37). • If the paraphrase is taken from a work used in class, you do not need to provide a full citation on a works cited page. Full citations are required for all other works. Works “Consulted”: When you utilize material in a general way, making reference to a major claim but not a specific passage, you should provide a full citation. Put this citation on a works cited page. • There is room for judgment here. Specific claims should be cited by page number, while general claims often cannot be. Your goal in providing these citations is to give the reader: (1) a full sense of all material used to formulate the main claims of your essay and (2) the ability to track down the information you are using. If you are closely following a source, for example the
introductory material in our textbook, then you should absolutely cite that source.
General notes: 1. Quotations disrupt the voice of your essay and often do more harm than good. Only quote passages that cannot be paraphrased or passages in which the specific wording is very
important. Fewer quotations are usually better. 2. It is never good practice to quote lecture material. If necessary, you should paraphrase that material. Better, you should go to the text and find the passage that was discussed in lecture. 3. When explaining source material (i.e. explaining Fullinwider’s argument) paraphrases are essential. Paragraphs that are primarily explanatory might have several citations. 4. If you are looking at material when you are writing your essay, you need a citation. This includes web-pages, introductory material, or course notes. 5. The essays for this course all require a significant amount of explanation. Nearly one-half to two-thirds of each essay will be the summary and explanation of course reading. Thus, in those parts of the essay more citations is better than fewer. Every specific claim, every quotation and paraphrase, should have a citation.

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