The Core Philosophy paper is meant to demonstrate understanding of argumentation through critical evaluation of an ethical issue. For this paper, outline and argumentation is of primary importance. Its two parts are graded separately:
1. First Tutorial: proposal; bibliography; outline. (These will be figured into the rubric below)
2. The final draft submission: there are no revisions available after this so be sure to work
hard on your rough draft.
In this paper you will be constructing a philosophical argument regarding a contemporary issue of your choosing. Papers in the past have dealt with the typical “hot button” issues, but also fairness of athletic scholarships, movie stars and civic duty, the copyright of iTunes songs, and many more. In essence, this paper is examining and defending a value judgment, a judgment as to the Good, the True, or the Beautiful in relation to a current event.
The paper must contain three distinct aspects.
1) Contemporary Issue: Aspect one is an elucidation of the contemporary issue of your choosing. What is the issue you are writing about and why is it important? This aspect must identify your issue within the philosophical conversation of the Good, True, or Beautiful.
2) Philosophical Premise: Aspect two is an examination of the classical philosophical
conversation surrounding your issue. Having identified the broader philosophical conversation of which your issue is but an example, you need to compare and contrast the arguments of two different (professional and likely long-dead) philosophers. In this section, you will also be establishing your philosophical premise concerning the Good, the True, or the Beautiful.
3) Philosophical Argument: Aspect three is where you connect the dots between your thesis
statement, the contemporary issue, and the philosophical premise. It is your argument. You must clearly state how your thesis statement is valid and sound by drawing connections between the previous two aspects of the paper.
Note: It may be easier to think of it as three mini-papers. Each aspect could be a small independent paper that you then sandwich between an introduction and a conclusion to make a larger paper.
Basic requirements (ask yourself whether you covered these before submitting your rough draft)
• Did I use MLA style and consult the writing handbook on all documentation formats?
• Did I properly cite sources and avoid any semblance of plagiarism?
• Did I refer to a significant philosopher at least once in a meaningful way (this may include
reference(s) to fallacies or reference(s) to a philosopher who establishes a normative ethic, such as
J. S. Mill & utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant & deontological ethics, or Aristotle & virtue ethics)?
• Do I have a thesis to which the reader can respond “Yes” or “No?”
• Do my supporting paragraphs contribute evidence for my main point?
• Did I use at least two scholarly sources (e.g., a peer-reviewed journal article, an ethicist’s
book/essay, or a scholarly book in the library)?
• Is the body of my paper at least 5 full pages long (double spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font,
1 inch margins, not including bibliography)?
When is everything due?
The proposal is due when you show up to your tutorial.
The final draft is due the last day of the semester, at 11:59 pm (on the Friday before finals week).
Paper Grading Rubric
Total Points: 100
I. Content & Organization (80pts)
A. Introduction _____ / 10
2. Paper Map
1. Aspect One: Contemporary Issue _____ / 20
2. Aspect Two: Philosophical Premise _____ / 20
3. Aspect Three: Philosophical Argument _____ / 20
C. Conclusion _____ / 10
1. Recapitulation of Argument
2. Recapitulation of Thesis
II. Style and Grammar (20pts)
A. Style (MLA) _____ / 10
B. Grammar _____ / 10
III. Final Grade (100pts) _____ / 100
What additional things should you be sure to double-check?
Mechanics: grammar and academic style. These components are 20% of the grade and are
easily in your control. If you have problems, visit the Writing Center (Theta Lounge, ext.
3444) on campus for help!
Outline: Provide the reader a clear road map. Demonstrate your actual argument. Ask
yourself if your conclusion follows from your premise(s).
Sources. Did you use good/acceptable sources and incorporate them appropriately? Avoid long and multiple quotes. Do NOT plagiarize or you will fail!
Topic. Did you provide appropriate depth and did you demonstrate knowledge of your subject matter? Is your reader caught up to speed about the issue, and is there a reason he/she should care?
Engagement. Did you demonstrate your own critical thought related to this subject? Did you avoid simply recounting the ideas of others and step up with some demonstration that you have thought deeply about the subject?
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