PHL112: Introduction to Modern Philosophy:
Some suggestions …
- Consultation with & citation of primary and other secondary sources is optional, but highly recommended.
- Note: All sources, including Jones (our texts), must be documented. I prefer in text references to bibliographic entries but footnote style is also acceptable.
- Various online resources are linked from the syllabus and on Moodle.
- The online forums are also good places to seek (and give ) inspiration and feedback
- I am actually available for consultation during my office hours, before and after class, and by appointment.
- 2500 words (approx. 10 double-spaced computer printed pages with 1" margins).
- Suggested topics ... or any thesis from primary or secondary sources.
- Plan A: Supercommentary: Examination of a thesis from the reading.
- Part I: In which the thesis is stated/quoted & explained by you.
- Part II: Defense of the Thesis: (1) author's argument(s) for the thesis stated/quoted & explained by you; (2) further elaboration and additional arguments for the thesis (optional).
- Part III: Evaluation of the Thesis: (1) evaluation/criticism of the arguments for; (2) independent objections against the thesis itself; (3) possible (or actual) rejoinders to the criticisms and objections.
- Part IV: Conclusion: (1) bottom line of the evaluation: thumbs up or down the thesis & why in your estimation; (2) and 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 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 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; (2) independent objections to the theses themselves; (3) possible (or actual) rejoinders to the criticisms and objections.
- Part IV: Conclusion: (1) bottom line of the evaluation: thumbs up or down on the various theses & why in your estimation; (2) So what? Moral of the story: further implications, alternatives, compromise theses, etc.
- PLAN C: Other plans may be acceptable. No biographies or book reports. Run it by me if you're in doubt.