Solved: How does one benefit from philosophical thinking

  1. Introduction
The Final Paper will be on a topic of your choice, but it must generally show that you understand the significance of philosophy as an academic discipline and a way of living, and/or the significance of a specific topic we’ve studied. Thus, your papers should address such questions as, but not limited to: “What is the practical significance of philosophical thinking?”, “How does any of the material we’ve studied this semester enter into our lives?”, “How have I thought about my chosen topic before and after studying philosophy?” Final Papers must be about 3-4 pages (~750-1000 words, 2.0 space, 12-point font). They must have an introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement, a body defending your thesis, and a conclusion summarizing your discussion. In your essay, you must use a minimum of two direct quotations from Philosophy and the Human Condition by Clack and Hower that are relevant to your chosen topic to get full credit.
  1. Writing Advice
In choosing a topic, try to find a topic that we’ve touched on in class that really gets your thoughts going, that you find interesting and compelling. In preparing to write your paper, try to formulate the topic in a few different ways to bring out the nuances of the different ways of expressing what is at issue. Recall a reading that navigated the issue, a reading that really caught your eye, one that really made you think, that got you excited to think, excited to learn more about the topic. Read and re-read it a few times and try to do background research (e.g. check out relevant articles on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or, better, look into articles in peer-reviewed journals). In the body of your paper, you should be ready to draw out arguments from the source materials that engage with your chosen issue. The arguments you’ve drawn out from the source material should utilize ideas and either ask or be responding to questions relevant to the topic you’ve chosen. You should be able to critically evaluate these arguments and their contribution to the discussion of your chosen topic. This means, minimally, utilizing WRAITEC methodology and, beyond this, engaging with/responding to possible objections to, alternative views from, or problems with your thesis. Above all, take your time – both in choosing a topic, appropriate readings, what you want to say, and in finally writing it all down. Write with a dictionary and a thesaurus available so as to choose appropriate words that ensure that your writing clearly represents what you want to say and doesn’t become confusing, boring, repetitive, and stagnant. Assume that your reader is constantly asking questions like “Why should I accept that idea?” and “What does that mean exactly?” Write, read, re-write, re-read (aloud and/or to a peer), re-write, and re-read again, etc. Good writing consists largely in constant revision and adjustment, the clarification of ideas and lines of thought, and cutting out verbosity. This helps reduce the work needed for the reader to understand what is being said.
  • Citation and Formatting Instructions
  • Essays must be written in 12-point Times New Roman font (or a similarly reasonable font)
  • Essays must have 2.0 spacing
  • Essays must have the text alignment Justified (note the text alignment on this rubric)
  • All quotations or sourced ideas must be accompanied with an abbreviated in-text citation and a corresponding elaborated bibliographic citation in a Reference List. We will generally adopt Chicago Style citation.
  • For in-text citations, we will adopt the “Author-Date” formatting of Chicago Style citation.
    • Author-Dateuses parenthetical citations in the text to reference the source's author's last name and the year of publication. Each parenthetical citation corresponds to an entry on a References page that concludes the document.”
  • Note that “Author-Date” formatting will include page numbers. So a citation should generally read as follows: (Clack and Hower 2018, 177)
  • Reference List basic formatting will generally take the following shape:
    • Last Name, First Name. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.
    • See how our text is referenced on our Syllabus for an example
  • Use italic for non-English technical terms (e.g. ceteris paribus)
  • Use italic for titles of books, plays, film, and television shows
  • Use italic for emphasis, sparingly
  • Do not use italic for author names
  • Do not use bold type for any purpose
  1. Grading Rubric
The following indicates how final papers will be assessed. To get full credit, you must submit your paper with a self-assessment of your own writing. Final papers submitted without a self-assessment will lose 3 points. A self-assessment means that you have filled out this grading rubric with the score you think you deserve. Wherever you think you should lose points, give a brief explanation as to why. If you think you’ve done something exceptionally well, give a brief explanation as to why. Attach the self-assessment to the bottom of your essay, after your Reference List. The point of this is for students to get a sense of what the instructor does in assessing your papers, and to show that you have read and understood the rubric. Each of the following assessment measurements is worth 0-3 points, for a total of 30 points for this assignment. The measures assess students’ knowledge of the subject, critical thinking, language skills, organization, and attention to formatting detail. The instructor will provide a point value from 0-3 and an explanation for the point value next to each assessment measure and will email the feedback to students promptly.
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of the material
  • Clearly and professionally frames the paper in terms of a definitive thesis – a stance or position that will be defended in the paper – in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and guides them about what to expect in the discussion that follows
  • Engages in critical reflection by using WRAITEC methodology and responds to at least one objection to, alternative view from, or possible problems with your thesis
  • Utilizes at least two quotations from at least one of our readings
  • Displays good word choice that makes it clear what you are trying to say
  • Little to no grammatical or spelling errors
  • Has a clear and appropriate structure including an introduction with a clear thesis, a body (several paragraphs defending your thesis), and a concluding paragraph summarizing your argument.
  • Has a coherent line of thought with an orderly development of ideas
  • Appropriate length (about 750-1000 words)
  • Citation and formatting instructions followed generally well