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Writing Philosophy

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Michele Merritt

on 1 September 2011

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Transcript of Writing Philosophy

Tips For Writing in A Philosophy Class Analysis Sample Prompt: Exegesis (And What Not to Do) Do This! Be Coherent! (All ideas should flow from one to the next in a nice sequence that makes sense) Spend 2 minutes outlining an essay Clearly present the relevant arguments Build your own argument:
1. which positions that you've examined so far are weakest, and why?
2. which are strongest and why?
3. All the evidence thus leads to... Rubric For Scoring Papers
Characteristics of the Essay
Score
Addresses the topic entirely and relevantly, assesses arguments with clarity, superior command of the concepts and logical structures, explores all possibilities with regards to interpreting and evaluating the argument, and has a unique and insightful approach. Paper is exceptionally well-organized, coherent, cohesive, and entirely free from grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors. Proper citation is used, length requirement is met, and the writing style reflects a superb appreciation and understanding of syntactic variation, vocabulary, and paragraph structure.
100
Addresses the topic entirely and relevantly, assesses arguments with clarity, strong command of the concepts and logical structures, explores most possibilities with regards to interpreting and evaluating the argument, and may or may not have a unique and insightful approach. Paper is well-organized, coherent, cohesive, and mostly free from grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors. Proper citation is used, length requirement is met, and the writing style reflects an appreciation and understanding of syntactic variation, vocabulary, and paragraph structure.
90
Addresses the topic entirely, generally assesses arguments with clarity, strong command of the concepts and logical structures, explores at least some of the possibilities with regards to interpreting and evaluating the argument, and may or may not have a unique and insightful approach. Paper is well-organized, coherent, cohesive, and may contain several grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, but not enough to obstruct meaning. Proper citation is used, although it might be inconsistent or awkward (such as incorrect or too lengthy in-text citations), length requirement is met, and the writing style may or may not reflect an appreciation and understanding of syntactic variation, vocabulary, and paragraph structure.
80
Addresses most if not the entire topic, assessment of arguments is apparent, but may be unclear at times or might not demonstrate a strong command of the concepts and logical structures. Paper is fairly well-organized, but might exhibit incoherent structure at times, and contains several grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, sometimes such that meaning is obstructed. Proper citation is used, although it might be inconsistent or awkward (such as incorrect or too lengthy in-text citations), paper might fall slightly short of length requirement, and the writing style is generally simplistic and unvaried.
70
Addresses at least part of the topic, assessment of arguments is apparent, but is unclear and does not demonstrate a strong command of the concepts and logical structures. Paper might be unorganized and have incoherent structure at times, and contains grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, such that meaning is often obstructed. Citation is either entirely inconsistent or ignored altogether, paper is either too short or response is chiefly irrelevant, and the writing style is generally simplistic and unvaried.
60
Does not address the topic, or addresses it irrelevantly, there is either no real assessment of arguments, or the assessment suggests a gross misunderstanding of the concepts and logical structures. Paper is unorganized and has incoherent structure often, and contains copious grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, such that meaning is often obstructed. Citation is either entirely inconsistent or ignored altogether, paper is either too short or response is chiefly irrelevant, and the writing style is generally simplistic and unvaried.
50
Does not address the topic or addresses it irrelevantly, no real assessment of arguments is apparent but instead, a gross misunderstanding of the concepts and logical structures is used to assert claims wildly and without any evidence of critical thinking. Paper is unorganized and has incoherent structure, and contains copious grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, such that meaning is often obstructed. Citation is either entirely inconsistent or ignored altogether, paper is either too short or response is chiefly irrelevant, and the writing style is generally simplistic and unvaried.
40
Papers receiving a score of 1-3 had one or more of the following problems:
Topic was entirely ignored or answered irrelevantly, there was no evidence whatsoever of utilization of the critical thinking skills, concepts, and logic acquired in class, absolutely no reference made to original sources, length requirement grossly unmet, or the paper is nearly unreadable due to incoherence, grammatical difficulties, or otherwise.
10-30
No paper was received or paper was plagiarized.
0 Consider all the metaphysical positions we've encountered regarding 'Substance' (ie - dualism, monism, pluralism, etc) Briefly explain each of these positions as they are defended by their respective philosophers. Which theory of substance is most plausible and why? If you think none of them is, then explain an alternative view. Defend your position. Note: This does NOT mean simply copy from the book! What is the author's conclusion?
How does he/she argue for it? E.g. 'Descartes' uses a deductive argument
to prove that the mind and body are two
separate substances. For example, in
Mediations VI, he states...(then quote Mr. D here) Note: Your job in the exegesis section
is not simply to regurgitate!
You should be building a case for YOUR own argument. Note: Your analysis can be interspersed throughout the exegesis E.g. In the argument I just quoted from Descartes' Mediations, it is easy to construct a counter-example. For instance, I can clearly and distinctly conceive of Superman apart from Clark Kent, but this does not imply that they are distinct substances. And then (perhaps later):
As we can see, after examining the positions of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Hobbes, every single one of their theories has its own set of worries. However, because Hobbes' Materialism is constantly being supported today by modern science, it is the strongest position among the four. By amending his argument slightly, I think it can stand as a valid and defensible argument. Be Cohesive! (All the ideas should be related in some meaningful way - so, don't add a bunch of 'Fluff'! Outline!
(Coherence and Cohesion
are best mastered by
proper prior planning) 1. Tell me what you're going to tell me
2. Tell me
3. Tell me what you told me Proofread! Don't Do This! Don't just launch into an explication
of the text or a specific argument - First introduce what the overall aim of the essay is (ie- tell me what you're going to tell me) Don't use outside sources unless approved by me ahead of time (and no, you may not use wikipedia) Don't just write a history paper
or an explication of someone
else's view - This is YOUR
chance to speak your mind
(as long as you do so appropriately
and with solid reasoning) Don't Cheat! Let's eat grandma!
or
Let's eat, grandma! ??
(punctuation, grammar,
and spelling will save lives!)
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