Is Stephen Law’s “The evil-god challenge” argument a good one?
Contrary to previous incarnations of the course, there is now one and only one essay topic: write an argumentative/evaluative essay addressing Stephen Law’s “The evil-god challenge” (see forthcoming attachment). Is Law’s argument a good one? If so, why; if not, why not? You must explain the argument before evaluating it (i.e., don’t take for granted that your reader is familiar with the argument). You must also compare/contrast Law’s argument with at least one of either Rowe’s argument from evil or Drange’s argument from nonbelief. For this latter requirement you MUST refer to (at least) our course materials: extra sources on either the argument from evil or the argument from nonbelief are only permitted in addition to, not in place of, references to the specific sources of our Course Package. Drawing in other material from the course is also welcome but not required.
The essay is (now) worth 45% of your total course grade.
Mandatory Quotations: Each essay must contain at least three quotations: at least two from Law’s essay, at least one from either Rowe’s argument from evil or Drange’s argument from nonbelief (see above). Your page references for these quotations will be double-checked. Any of failing to provide the minimum number of quotations, or failing to provide page numbers for all of your quotations, or failing to provide the correct page numbers for all of your quotations, will be grounds for a grade penalty up to and including a mark of zero on the essay.
write in full sentences with proper use of paragraphs, punctuation, etc. Although the style should be formal, you may refer to yourself (e.g., “My thesis is … “, “I disagree with …”, etc.; as with anything, too many instances of “me” “myself” and “I” are to be avoided, but that doesn’t mean you can never use them). While I don’t do anything as rigid as take off a mark for each typo and grammatical error, the quality of the writing is an important factor in the assigning of your grade: as a rule of thumb, only overall well-written essays will have much chance of getting an A- or higher; essays that are poorly written will typically fall into the C range or lower.
Text Format: Regarding spacing, font, font size, etc., I’m really not too picky about these things anymore: now that essays are submitted electronically, their length (word count) can be checked rather easily, and this removes the primary motivation for standardized formatting. My personal preference is for 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins, left justification of main body. But if you prefer different formatting settings (e.g., 11 point font, 1.5 spacing, full justification), that’s probably not going to be a problem (I say “probably” because there are certain things you could do that would significantly detract from the readability of your essay: for example, a ridiculously large font, using block caps, underlining everything, making your text red or some other unpleasant-to-read colour, etc.).
Quotes and paraphrases: If your only sources are the Law essay and our Course Package then you only need to provide accurate page references for your quotations (minimum of three: see above), and there is no need for a bibliography/list of references. If, however, you use any sources in addition to these, then you must follow one of the approved citation methods (e.g., MLA, Turabian, APA, etc.), and provide a list of references at the end of your paper including all your additional sources (you needn’t include either the Course Package or Law’s essay; these shall be taken to be included automatically). See the following link at our library http://library.wlu.ca/help/tutorials/how-cite for helpful information on how to cite (scroll down to see options for Youtube, .pdf, or audio presentation of the material). See the following document from Memorial University for how to make a bibliography in MLA style: http://www.library.mun.ca/guides/howto/mla.php. Similar documents can surely be found via Google on how to use any of the citation methods.
Finally, make sure not to overdo the quotations: I am much more interested in seeing your words and ideas than a pastiche of other people’s words. At the threshold of 30% quoted material I will begin taking substantial marks off, with the penalty being even more substantial for even greater proportions of quoted material. At the bottom end of things, a 1500 word essay should have less than 450 words of quoted material; at the other extreme, a 2000 word essay should have less than 600 words of quoted material.
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