Paper Topic: Whose epistemology do you prefer? Plato’s, or Aristotle’s? Whose metaphysics do you prefer? Why? Or, do you prefer the ancient Greek poets, or one of the Pre-Socratic philosophers, or the Sophists? What is it that makes you prefer one over all the others? What do you dislike about the others that pushes you towards any one of them?
How to go about writing this paper:
1) First, consider your initial intuitive reaction to the Poets, Pre-Socratic philosophers, Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle. Who did you prefer? Why?
2) Next, if you haven’t already, do the reading. Make sure you reread CoP, pgs 245-6 and Melchert, pgs 182-4. These pages offer up a good summary of the differences between the two that will help refine your initial intuitive response. If one is still uncertain, it might help to do more reading or review the lectures outlines posted on Moodle.
3) Write a rough draft.
4) Then research the topic by consulting secondary sources beyond Melchert and Pojman. Go to the library and do a word search in the library catalogue. Go to the stacks and browse through the books you find there, looking at the titles or table of contents to see if any are related to your subject. Or go to the reference librarian and ask for help in locating articles or books on the topic. Try to find scholarly articles in JSTOR, or do a Google search and see what you can find.
5) Then incorporate your research into your paper. Include reference citations.
6) Reread the final draft and polish it before you turn it in.
Rubric– how your paper will be graded:
1) Content (strength of argument): Is it a convincing argument? Is the thesis stated clearly in the first paragraph? Does the paper adhere to the thesis or paper topic? Are the examples supporting the thesis relevant? Are any counterarguments examined and/or refuted?
2) Structure (argument design): Does it follow a staircase structure in which the argument builds upon itself? Does the paper end with a strong conclusion? Does the paper have good paragraph (one idea or example per paragraph) and sentence structure (no run-on sentences or sentence fragments)?
3) Research: does the paper correctly state the philosopher’s position and cite passages from the text to confirm this position? Did the author research the topic and include references to secondary sources which help define and expand the substance of the paper?
4) Footnotes and citations: if you do not cite either primary text in the body of the paper (at least several times), your overall grade will automatically be reduced a full letter grade. A bibliography is not enough, as it is too general.
5) Grammar: correct spelling and punctuation. Reread the rough draft to eliminate any grammar mistakes. Make sure each sentence flows and is continuous with what precedes it and comes after it.
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