PaperGuidelines - Rainbolt's Paper Guidelines One of the...

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Rainbolt's Paper Guidelines One of the best ways to test a student's ability to think clearly is to assign a paper. Moreover, the writing process itself encourages one to think clearly. For these reasons a student's grade in this course will rest heavily on papers. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing papers for this course. Your Topic : See the course syllabus. Make sure that your paper meets the course's paper topic requirements. Failure to have a topic that meets the topic requirements will really hurt your grade. A mistake that students often make is to choose a topic that is too broad. You should pick a narrow, focused topic. For example, here is a perfectly good paper topic: The third of Smith’s three arguments against the existence of God is not a good argument. Here is an example of a topic that is too broad: God exists. You want to home in on one small point in the many arguments we have discussed in this class. Your Argument: At the heart of your paper will be an argument. If you look below under “Grading” you will see that the quality of the argument you make is the biggest factor in determining your grade. You paper should defend your view on one of the subjects covered in class. You must disagree with at least one thing said by at least one author discussed in this class. You need to provide good reasons for your view and good reasons for thinking that at least one thing said by at least one author covered in this course is false. Here is an outline of one of the most common ways to set up a paper whose hear is an argument. 1. Begin with and introductory paragraph that states a) the general argument made by the author with whom you disagree and b) your thesis, that is, your view about this general argument. 2. Present the author’s argument in considerable detail. (See “Your Resume” and “Your Audience” below.) 3. Present your argument against the author’s point of view. This is the heart of your paper and should be about half of the paper. 4. Present possible objections to your view. 5. Explain why you think these objections are weak. 6. Sum up with a conclusory paragraph that summaries steps 2-6 above. Your Resume: Before you can argue that someone’s view is incorrect, you must clearly and carefully present her view. You must provide a resume of your opponent’s position. Approximately half of your paper should be devoted to this resume. Be sure to describe your opponent’s view accurately. 1
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Your Audience : Do not write the paper as if I am its only reader. Write the paper as if your audience were students who have not taken the class. This means that you should not simply refer to the readings. You need to explain them as if you were explaining them to a friend who is not in the class. Also, remember that the whole point of a philosophy paper is to convince someone who disagrees with the view you are defending. Think of and respond to possible objections that such a person would make. Length
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PaperGuidelines - Rainbolt's Paper Guidelines One of the...

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