How to write a philosophy paper (for Amy Payne’s class):
I expect the length to be somewhere between 4-6 pages. If it is much longer or shorter, check with me if you can. For borders, fonts and all that, use whatever was suitable for your composition
class. Just be clear. Do your best with spelling and grammar. Save it in .doc format if possible, .txt if not.
Paragraph 1) Introduction-Issue broadly described. Arguments about free will? Existence of God? Evil and God? The nature of piety? Etc….
I want to see a sentence in this section:
“In this paper, I will describe X’s argument for (or against Y) and defend (or oppose) X’s argument.” –Thesis statement
Paragraph 2) Describe the particular issue and philosopher. Include historical
context if relevant.
Paragraph 3) Write the philosopher’s argument, premises and conclusion (can be part of paragraph 2)
Paragraph 4) Write your response to the philosopher’s argument–this is your place to give your ideas about whether the philosopher succeeds or fails in her or his argument and why. Use your own examples to illustrate the argument, or describe any missing premises that would have an
impact on the argument. An example might be a sentence that starts: “The philosopher X failed to take into account Y…” OR test a philosophical idea with a new example
Paragraph 5) Would the philosopher have been able to account for your observations? What might the philosopher have said if you had been able to speak to her or him directly?
Paragraph 6) Conclusion. This is an opportunity for you to restate the core component of your argument and remind the reader why you are right.
Use two sources for your paper, one primary and one secondary to help
confirm your understanding of the primary source. Use APA or MLA
Your topic must be connected to what we have covered in class.
Please put your name in the name of the electronic file.
Philosophy papers are written in present tense. Ideas have a life of their own, beyond their creators.
Some suggested topics, please note these are JUST SUGGESTIONS:
Take a closer look at Mackie and argue if he
was justified in claiming that believers in an omnibenevolent God are
irrational; or take a look at Plantinga and his slant on the
The problem of the connection between the mind and the body has been addressed by almost every major philosopher. Spinoza has an interesting model called “dual aspect
theory,” Leibniz has a “pre-established harmony” model to explain how
can exist. See if you can explain what one of these two ideas is and what problems they raise and what problems they solve. Attempts to resolve Cartesian Impasse.
If mathematics is your thing, take a look at the
cosmological argument of Kalaam, which posits the idea that infinity
does not and cannot exist, thus there cannot be an infinite regress in time either forward or backward. The universe therefore has to have a beginning (and presumably an ending). Only God could create the universe, so God must exist as the universe exists. There are contemporary evaluations of the
Kalaam argument as well.
You can also evaluate the Euthyphro by taking a closer look at voluntarism
and moral realism. Mackie has the “Argument from queerness” for
addressing moral realism, which could be a cool thing to look at in this context.
Arguments about the neuroscientific basis of free will and the mind could be interesting as well. Libet’s experiments would be interesting to look at.
Voltaire’s interpretation of Leibniz’s argument that “this is the best of all possible worlds,” may be flawed if we understand Leibniz’s claim to be a logical one and Voltaire’s is a qualitative one. Though, can we ignore the qualitative issues?
Pick your favorite theodicy and evaluate its success or failure. Evaluate Stephen Law’s “Problem of Good” or Evil God Challenge. Just because the arguments are similar, does that necessarily invalidate explanations for the problem of evil? Or is Law right at all?
Is there a coherent libertarian position on freedom of the will?
These are just suggestions, please feel free to think about what interests you and appeals to you. Or what philosophical idea really irritates you, that can be interesting to write about too.
THEY’RE THERE THEIR; IT’S “IT IS” CONTRACTED VS. ITS AS POSSESSIVE. USE CONSISTENT TENSE. How to write a philosophy paper How to write a philosophy paper
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