WRITING PAPERS FOR CONTEMPORARY MORAL PROBLEMS
PHIL 2320: SPRING (II) 2001
Bob Corbett, instructor
THE ASSIGNMENT FOR PAPERS TWO, THREE AND FOUR: PREPARATION HINTS;
- ASSIGNMENT: Each paper is actually one 2-page paper and 2 one
page papers. That is a total of four pages.
First you must select THREE articles on the day's topic.
The first page must answer the following three questions.
- What is the title of the article and who is the author of your first article?
All of this is on one line -- ALONG WITH YOUR NAME, at the top of the page.
- What is the thesis. That is, in ONE sentence, no more than
20 words, what is the central most important belief which
the author has; the belief around which the entire paper
- Number and develop each of the main reasons which the author has for believing the thesis.
CAUTION: A paper may only have one argument. However, whatever you number and name as
an argument must stand along as a defense of the thesis. If the author presents more than
one argument, each must be analyzed.
The second page is where you take your stand.
- What is YOUR thesis? The one single belief about the author's
positions which you will defend? This belief must be important,
controversial, central to the position of the author. You must
state it in ONE single sentence of no more than 20 words.
- If you disagree with the author (strongest sort of paper), then the
thesis must state that disagreement, but not the arguments for it.
- Were you to agree with the author, then you must state the strongest
statement against your author you can imagine. Just the thesis, but not
the argument for the belief against your author.
- What reasons do you have for believing your thesis? Number
and develop each reason.
This is, in sum, a two-page paper (single spaced, small margins on all four sides) report on the assigned material. But it must be treated as two totally separate
one page papers.
The remaining two pages are just the analysis (first page assignment) for two other
essays, but not your second page, the critical page.
- PRE-PREPARATION TASKS:
- Read the essays with care.
- Be sure to pick essays with varying points of view. That will be part of the
- Figure out the central claim of each essay. Reduce it to one claim of about 20 words.
- Figure out the primary reasons the author offers for this thesis.
- Think it through. Are you convinced by the argument? What are its major strengths and weaknesses. Build arguments to support your beliefs.
- THE PAPER ITSELF:
- First present the author's position following the instructions in the assignment above. Do this in enough detail to cover EXACTLY one page. This part should not contain a single quote from the author -- tell it all in your own words -- and must not contain a single word of evaluation.
This is for pages 1, 3 and 4.
- Page is your evaluation and assessment of the essay analyzed on page 1. Here you tell us whether or not the author is correct about his or her argument, and what reasons you have to support that claim.
- The paper must be carefully edited. It must be two pages, exactly so, no more no less. Absolutely not ONE word of the analytic section may carry over to the second page.
- The paper must be single spaced and with no more than 12 point type and with small margins on all four sides, no more than an inch at the top and bottom and less on the two sides.
- THINGS I WILL ESPECIALLY NOTE AND LOOK FOR IN GRADING THE PAPER:
- Is the thesis of each essay analyzed stated early in the paper in a single short sentence?
- Are the arguments of the author for the central thesis accurately reported?
- Is the argument presented in clear and articulate language in the student's own words without a single quote from the author in question and none of the language too close to the author's original. In a word -- is this all in the
- Is the first section exactly one page?
- Does the evaluation section (only page 2) accurately and persuasively evaluate the author's thesis with strong reasons?
- Is the student's evaluative position on the author laid out in clear and articulate language well defended by reason?
- Is the paper EXACTLY FOUR pages, singled spaced with small margins and normal sized type?
- Is the paper carefully proof-read, in standard English and with a minimum of errors of grammar, spelling or missed typos?
- THE GRADES THEMSELVES:
- A grade of A will mean:
The analyses (3)are completely accurate of the papers and done in detail of exactly one page. The three papers represent a wide variet
of opinion on the subject under consideration. The evaluative and relevance section is completely accurate and the paper exactly four pages long. The whole of the paper was in standard English with a minimum of errors and a splash of style and taste.
- A grade of B will mean:
Both the analytic and evaluative sections are quite accurate and the papers meets ALL the basic requirements of size and form. However, the paper is not quite as exceptional as an A paper would be expected to be; or conversely, the content is quite brilliant, but there are excessive lapses in the form, or the three
papers chosen do not represent a wide variety of opinion on the topic.
- A grade of C will mean:
A genuinely good paper that is primarily accurate and the form and style are strong. However, the paper lacks any glimpses of something beyond the expected, the reasonable expectation of college work. It is just that. Normal, good, solid work with neither noticeable weaknesses nor special moments of
- A grade of D will mean:
Some more serious deviations from the criteria expressed above. These might be in inaccuracies of the analysis, noticeable lapses in form or special weaknesses in the use of the English language.
- A grade of F may mean anyone of three things:
- The paper was not turned in on time.
- Significant failures to meet the assignment at the level of reasonable
university level expectations of thought, attention to detail, attention to the time guidelines or presentation expectations. (Specifics will be pointed out).
- Some of the particular aspects of the assignment were ignored (length,
form, separate of sections, etc.) or presented in quite unacceptable forms.
Please note that any evidence of plagiarism, that is work that is not the student's own, will result not only is a grade of F for the paper, but for the entire course.