Instructions for Short Papers
Please read these instructions carefully.
Students are asked to write three short ‘comparative reflection essays’ for the course.
Each essay should focus on content from any single unit.
Note: you may write multiple essays using content from the same unit; however, if you do so, each essay must use different texts than any other essay written from that unit.
The essay should be approximately 3-5 pages.
Note: ‘3-5 pages’ is a suggestion, not a requirement. Essays will not be graded on length. See grading criteria below.
The essay should answer the following three questions:
(i) What is an argument that resonated with you from a Unit’s philosophy readings? Be sure to explain both the premise(s) and the conclusion of the argument, and describe how the truth of the premise(s) provide support for the truth of the conclusion.
Note: If you are unfamiliar with philosophical argumentation, please read the 4-page ‘What is an Argument?’ handout provided in Unit Zero.
(ii) How is something from the philosophical argument described in (i) related to or illustrated by some piece of sci-fi? That is, how does some piece of sci-fi express, through fiction, something relevant to the argument described in (i)?
(iii) What is the relevance of (i) and (ii) to your own lived experience? In other words, why does the idea expressed in the philosophical argument in (i) and further elaborated in the related piece of sci-fi in (ii) matter to you? In short, use this part of the essay to work towards meeting the demand of the ancient Delphic maxim, “Know thyself!”
Important Note: Be careful in (iii) not to focus on how (i) and (ii) are relevant to ‘us’, or to ‘society’, or to ‘one’, etc.: make sure that the description of relevance is a description of personal relevance, that is, a description of how (i) and (ii) matter to you, individually. There should, for example, be plenty of instances of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, etc., in the answer for (iii). This may, of course, include your experience as a member of a social group (e.g., women, men, transgender, Black, Asian, student, employee, etc.). Such an approach is encouraged. However, this approach should focus on your experience in particular as an individual member of that social group.
Essays will be graded based on the following criteria:
Adherence to instructions
Quality of argumentation
Accuracy of research
Clarity of expression
Quality of organization
Appropriate level of detail
Essays will not be evaluated based on the position taken.
No works cited page is required, but appropriate credit must be given to the ideas of others in the body of the essay or in footnotes. If credit is not given, that counts as plagiarism.
Quotes are not allowed in the body of the essay. They may be included (sparingly) with appropriate references (including the author’s name, the title of the work, and page number[s]) in footnotes.
Important: Be sure to still cite the author(s) who’s idea(s) you are paraphrasing in the body of the essay!
Be sure to include your name, the course number (i.e., PHI 315-211) and the date that the essay was submitted.
Essays will be submitted on Canvas through the ‘Turnitin’ automatic plagiarism detector.
The submission must be either a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file.