PHL112: Introduction to Modern Philosophy
Term Paper Writing Guidelines/Suggestions

Some suggestions I hope will be helpful.

OC2: consultation with & citation of secondary sources optional (some recommended).  Note: All outside sources must be documented with in text references to bibliographic entries.  Primary source materials from our text must be documented with in text page references.

Plan A: Supercommentary: Examination of a thesis from the reading:
Part I: In which the thesis is stated/quoted & explained by you (OC2).
Part II: Defense of the Thesis: (1) author's argument(s) for the thesis stated/quoted & explained by you (OC2); (2) further elaboration (optional).
Part III: Evaluation of the Thesis: (1) evaluation/criticism of the author's arguments for (OC2); (2) independent objections to the thesis itself (OC2); (3) possible (or actual) rejoinders to the criticisms and objections (OC2).
Part IV: Conclusion: (1) bottom line of the evaluation: thumbs up or down the thesis & why in your estimation (OC2); (2) So what? (morals, further implications, alternatives, etc.)

PLAN B: Examination of a Controversy or Topic (e.g., whether there are innate ideas).
PART I: Stating the Issue: (1) State/quote & explain (OC2) the (opposed) theses of 2 or more authors thereon (e.g. Leibniz & Locke); (2) preview your conclusion (e.g., I will argue that Leibniz is right & Locke's attack on innate ideas fails because blah blah blah. If you don't know what conclusion you'll come to, come back & write this preview last.)
PART II: Arguing the Issue: (1) State/quote & explain (OC2) the arguments of each author, their defenses of their own theses & criticisms of other's; (2) further elaboration (optional).
PART III: Evaluation of the Issue: (1) evaluation/criticism of the authors' arguments (OC2); (2) independent objections to the theses themselves (OC2); (3) possible (or actual) rejoinders to the criticisms and objections (OC2).
Part IV: Part IV: Conclusion: (1) bottom line of the evaluation: thumbs up or down on the various theses & why in your estimation (OC2); (2) So what? Moral of the story: further implications, alternatives, compromise theses, etc. (OC2).

PLAN C: Other plans may be acceptable. No biographies or book reports. Run something by me if you're in doubt.