You will submit a final paper constructing an ethical argument using only the material covered in class i.e. you will not be asked to do outside research. Your final paper (5-7 pages) will be due by Thursday, December 9th at 11:59 pm ET.
12 font, Times New Roman, and double-spaced.
Also, the 5-7 page count is only the philosophical content. The title page, the citations, etc. do not go towards the final page count. A title page is not necessary, but citations are. The citations style is flexible (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.). Just make sure to give credit where it is due.
In the final paper I’ll expect you to find some topic in our course readings that interests you. If you send me some possible topics that interest you, then I can help you narrow them down.
The purpose of a philosophy paper is to make an argument. This argument can go a few different ways…
Scenario #1: Writers have disagreed about my topic, and my paper explains why one side in the debate has been more convincing than the other(s).
Scenario #2: Writers have disagreed about my topic, and my paper demonstrates why the entire debate is wrong and needs to be recast in a more meaningful direction.
Scenario #3: Writers have agreed about my topic, and my paper argues for a different, better, or more nuanced interpretation that others have missed.
(‘writers’ here could be other scholars or simply your classmates)
First, your paper must start with a summary of what you’re dealing with (what is the argument, what are its key assumptions and terms, etc.). Clarity is highly valued in philosophical writing. Writers should get right to the point rather than writing an elaborate introduction. A dry sentence like, "In this paper, I will…" is absolutely fine. Make sure your reader (me) understands your plan for your paper. Don’t take anything for granted.
Then you have options…
You might find a weak point in someone’s argument. You can object to it, and then either provide a solution or an alternative argument.
Or maybe you build upon the original argument with your own steps to come to a different conclusion (without disrupting the original argument).
In any approach, it is good to consider possible objections to your own points. Why would anyone disagree with you? What possible counterarguments could someone make to your position? Try to refute them in some way by showing that they are irrelevant, misguided, or otherwise fail to discredit your argument.
A conclusion in your paper is not necessary unless you want to draw my attention to the main points again. If you made your argument well, then I won’t need a conclusion to remember it.
There are thousands of resources on Google to help write philosophy papers, but I am more than happy to answer questions you have during the writing process.
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