Follow the instructions given below carefully.
Write an essay that focuses on one of the arguments found in any of the assigned readings for
modules 2 or 3.
The primary goal is to offer your own argument in response to one of the arguments assigned for the
1. Submit your essay as an attachment. Use a word document file extension of some sort (rtf, doc, docx,
odt, etc.) do not submit a pdf file.
2. Do not quote or cite (or plagiarize) the PowerPoints from the course—they should only be used to help
you understand the material. All citations and quotations should come directly from the readings.
3. The essay should be 3 pages.
4. Do not use outside sources—only use the readings that were assigned for the course—do not go out
on the internet and look up sources.
Your essay must follow this format:
1. Begin with an introductory paragraph that a) presents your thesis, b) identifies which text and
author you will discuss, and c) prepares the reader for the organization of your paper. Your
THESIS is a clear and exact statement of the claim you will support in your essay.
a. Thesis Statement: You must tell the reader specifically what position you will
Example of a thesis statement:
“Carl Cohen’s claim that reason is required to justify the extension of moral
consideration is flawed. One’s capacity to suffer, should be the only requirement
necessary to justify the extension of moral consideration.”
2. The body of the paper should consist in a focused discussion on the author’s argument from your
chosen reading. Your paper should provide a clear exposition of one of the arguments offered by
the specific author from the text you focus on. Following the exposition, give one or two
objections to the author’s claims. Discuss your objection(s) carefully. Provide the strongest
possible counter-argument or counterexample. Be sure that your objection(s) are specifically
linked to the arguments given by the author whose work you have exposited. Next, offer possible
responses to your objections. In other words, examine and discuss possible
responses/issues/problems with your objections/argument.
3. The conclusion should not simply repeat what you have already said in the body of the paper. The
concluding remarks may reiterate briefly the structure of your foregoing argument and the
conclusion(s) you have reached. But, crucially, concluding remarks should say something more
than this. Are there still further, related questions that you have not addressed? Does your
discussion have an important implication for the topic, for philosophical theory, for life in
general? In other words, try to show how your work in this particular essay reaches out to other
topics of interest or paves the way for further argument or analysis. Remember that philosophy
papers rarely solve problems once and for all time, so resist the temptation to overstate or
exaggerate your conclusions. It is reasonable, even admirable, to acknowledge the limitations of
your discussion in your concluding remarks.
4. Quote and cite the text to support your discussion (Footnotes or parenthetical citations are
preferred). All verbatim quotation must use quotation marks. Citations are also required for
paraphrases of the text. The goal is to point the reader to the appropriate passages of text where the
claims are made. Use quotations selectively; most of the paper should be written in your own
words. Use a works cited page.
In a nutshell:
1. Tell the reader what text you will discuss, identify the specific author you will address, offer a
thesis statement (the position you will defend), and give a brief overview of how the essay
2. Explicate the specific author’s argument from the text you have chosen—explain the
argument in detail, walk the reader through the argument step by step.
3. Offer objections to the argument—point out problems with the author’s argument, and offer
your own argument in an effort to justify your claim that the author’s argument contains these
problems. Do not ignore the author’s counter arguments—for example, if the author addresses
a particular objection in their piece, and offers (a response) a reason to think these objections
are not problematic for their position, then be sure that you do not simply offer that very same
objection without addressing why their response does not work.
4. Examine possible responses to your objections—discuss possible weaknesses/problems with
the argument you present in section three. What sorts of issues might one raise against your
argument? Note the weaknesses and/or limitations with your original argument.
5. Conclusion (see above)
* Be sure to read “How to Write a Philosophy Paper” in Blackboard.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
You need not do additional research. Focus on the essays we have read, or any of the
others in Blackboard (provided they were assigned and we have discussed them).
Your work must be your own, original writing. There are severe penalties for plagiarism
and cheating. See the syllabus for details.
Your paper should be double-spaced in 10 or 12-point font. Use standard margins. Do not
use a cover page.
Spell-check your paper. Proofread and edit your work to check for mistakes that
computer programs cannot catch.
At the top of the first page provide the following information single spaced:
PHI 1010: Introduction to Philosophy
Give your paper a title. DO NOT USE A COVER PAGE!
Quote and cite the text to support your discussion. (footnotes or parenthetical citations)
All verbatim quotation must use quotation marks. Citations are also required for
paraphrases of the text. The goal is to point the reader to the appropriate passages of text
where the claims are made. Use quotations selectively; most of the paper should be
written in your own words.
The exposition should provide a clear, accurate, precise, and selective account of the
CLEAR: Write in complete, grammatical sentences. Organize your thoughts.
ACCURATE: Give a fair and reasonable representation of the author’s position.
PRECISE: Avoid offering vague claims and mere generalities. Make your discussion
detailed, specific, and focused on the exact claims the author gives in support of the
particular arguments you will examine.
SELECTIVE: In a short paper you cannot cover all of the arguments or claims the
author gives. Select only those ideas, reasons, arguments that are directly relevant to your
As a guideline, your first, introductory paragraph should not be more than ½ a page.
The exposition should take about 1 page and the presentation of your objection(s)
and response(s) should take about 1 page.
NOTE: This paper assignment focuses on exposition AND on critical thinking. The first
goal is to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the text, that you can explain
specific arguments from the text, and that you can appropriately cite and quote the text in
support of your discussion. The second goal is to critically evaluate the text. In formulating
your objection(s) to the text, you are attempting to provide reasons why we might reject the
author’s argument or claims. These reasons should identify specific problems with the
author’s claims, not merely a general difference of opinion or view. The reasons you offer in
formulating your objection should be reasonable, clear, intelligent, and as convincing as
Your essays will be run through a plagiarism checker. If you plagiarize an essay you
will receive a 0% for the essay, and may be failed for the course. There are no
second chances. If you are unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, then please
contact your professor prior to submitting your assignment.
ANSELM OF CANTERBURY
Follow the instructions given below carefully.