PHIL 1200 -- Philosophy and Society
Summer 2010
Prof. Chris Heathwood


For each paper assignment, write a 2-4 page (600-1200 word) paper related to one of the topics that we studied so far.

Regarding format, your paper must be typewritten and double-spaced, with normal fonts and margins, and be submitted on the website by the due date and time.  Put your name and page numbers in the top right corner of each page (use a "header" to do this).  Compose your paper in Microsoft Word.  Save it as a .doc file rather than a .docx file.  Then attach it to the relevant Assignment on the website (either "Paper #1" or "Paper #2"). 

Regarding content, your paper must
Of course, there are a zillion other possibilities.

As these examples illustrate, your thesis can be directly about the views of someone we've read this semester, or it can just be your own view on one of the topics we've studied. If it's the latter, your paper should still be sensitive to ideas discussed in readings or lectures whenever they are relevant to your paper.  For example, if some philosopher has an argument against your thesis, it would be a good idea to show how you can answer that argument.
If you are having a hard time coming up with a thesis, you might begin by reflecting on what seems to you to be the correct view on one of our topics. Then try to think of what you would say if you wanted to persuade a friend that this view is correct. When you do this, you will be laying out an argument for your view, an argument that could form the centerpiece of your paper.

You may find that when you subject your own thesis and the reasons you hold it to scrutiny, you actually convince yourself that your thesis is mistaken. If that happens to you, you might be able to turn all of this into a paper arguing against your original thesis.  (But not always: if your original thesis was counterintuitive, then a paper arguing that such a thesis is false will not be very interesting.)

Regarding style, you should
General Guidance. Here are two helpful guides on writing a philosophy paper. Please look them over.
Cheating. You are encouraged to discuss your paper with others in the class; however, the paper you turn in must be your own work. Students turning in duplicate or near-duplicate papers will receive an F for the entire course and may be subject to expulsion from the university. I take cheating very seriously.

Do not quote much or at all in your papers. I want to hear the ideas in your own words. But if you must use the words of others, put them in quotation marks and cite the source. Otherwise, you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism will earn you an F for the whole course and possible expulsion from the university.

Late Paper Policy. Your score will go down five points (out of 50 total points) for every day your paper is late.  >0 - 24 hours late is one day late, 24 - 48 hours late is two days late, etc.

Extra Assistance. I am more than happy to provide assistance to you as you work on your paper. Feel free to run your thesis by me, or an outline of your paper, or just talk through your ideas with me.