Unformatted text preview: se your own words in description of the views of others. This will show that you understand their views! If a paper is little more than a string of quotes, it is not a successful essay. Suppose you determine that parts of the following paragraph from p. 153 of J.L. Mackie’s, The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) are important for your discussion of the problem of evil: If omnipotence means anything at all, it means power over causal laws. If there is an omnipotent creator, then if there are any causal laws he must have made them, and if he is still omnipotent he must be able to override them. If there is a god, then, he does not need to use means to attain his ends. So it is idle to refer, in a theodicy, to any ordinary, factual, means‐end, or in general causal, relationships. One would think that so elementary and obvious a point hardly needs to be made; but it does need to be made, and stressed, because it is constantly ignored or slurred over not only in popular but even in philosophical treatments of the problem of evil. Do not dump the entire paragraph into your essay unless you absolutely require every thought and expression in it. Here are ways of handling this passage in your essay: First, consider putting into your own words the material that you need and then incorporating it into your own paragraph. The paraphrases are underlined so you can see them. Here, it may be argued that an omnipotent being must be able to override causal laws; so such a being does not need causal means to attain its ends; so causal relationships between good and evil can play no role in theodicy (Mackie, p. 153). Notice that paraphrase of another’s words does not exempt you from the need to document your source. Second, sometimes you will decide to quote part of another writer’s passage in your sentences. Such quotation must preserve the meaning of the original and fit into the grammar of your overall sentence. As J.L. Mackie says, an omnipotent being “does not need to use [causal] means to attain his ends” (p. 153). Notice...
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- Fall '13
- Philosophy, Clarendon Press, Mackie, J.L. Mackie, causal laws, general causal