Second Major Paper Assignment
and a Related Preparatory Assignment (Draft)
PHIL 303

Unchanged from March 17, 2008

Instructor: Jan Garrett

Outline or Study Questions Due: Monday, April 7, class time. Ten (10) points toward semester total.

Please provide me with an outline of the paper, consisting of approximately 250 words, that will give me a pretty good idea of what you are going to try to achieve in the paper; or turn in answers to key study questions related to the main text you will be discussing (about 500 words). The more effort you put into this phase, the better you are likely to do on the paper itself.

(Probably) Due: Monday, April 21, 2008 class time. 40 points toward semester total.

Length: At least 1350 words (approximately 4.5 pp. at 300 words per page).

The total word count on the two major papers should be at least 2700 words. If you fall short of the total, you will have to expand the second paper to make up the shortfall or receive an incomplete in the course.

Word count does not include footnotes, endnotes, bibliography.

Please give me a correct word count.

Format: double-spaced (except for longer quotes and individual steps of formally reconstructed arguments), 10-12 point easily read font; paragraphs normally consisting of 7-10 lines; indent first lines of paragraphs.

References and Bibliography: use standard scholarly techniques for endnotes or embedded author-date references and, if needed, bibliography. I should be able to find without difficulty any text or passage you use as evidence for your claims about what is in your written sources, the views of thinkers discussed, etc.

Subject: You may explicate a philosopher's position and the reasoning behind it, on a debated philosophical issue (or a couple linked issues). You may also compare two philosophers' positions on the same issue and evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses. Strong papers will do some close analysis of particular passages in primary sources and reasoned evaluation of the positions. Some attention to the philosopher's primary method may be helpful. If your philosopher's method is of the "problematic" type, see Organizing Our Thoughts.

You are not limited to the topics listed below and those topics may require further focusing. Especially if the topics are not on the list below, please consult with me about your topic choice. A prudent choice of topic can increase chances of success on this paper.

I am willing to suggest additional primary sources and, if you wish, secondary sources that may assist your comprehension. Please remember that this resource is available!

Suggested Topics

1. Hume's general approach to the problem of knowledge and how he uses it to address the issue of what we can know regarding causation. (MP 491-521) Work through the Hume study questions if you have not already done so.

2. Kant's attempt to account for freedom and determinism in a single philosophical system (MP 713-715; 726-734). There are study questions on Kant to help you with this.

3. Hegel, on Reason in History

4. Marx and Engels. Work through the Marx study questions before tackling this paper.

(i) Marx's debt to Hegel
(ii) theory of history
(iii) dialectical account of capitalism
(iv) philosophical responses to justifications of capitalism
(v) the implicit ethical stand of Marx

5. William James: Pragmatism's Conception of Truth

6. John Dewey: explicate Dewey's pragmatist position as it is expressed in one of the following chapters of Reconstruction in Philosophy; use the study questions provided to work through the chapter before writing your essay.

Chap. 3 (Science);
Chap. 4 (Reason and Experience; Critique of Kant);
Chap. 6 (Pragmatist Reconstruction of Logic);
Chap. 7 (Dewey on Ethics);
book as a whole: Dewey's critique of previous

7. Martin Heidegger,

Inauthenticity and Authenticity in Being and Time
   (see me for page references);
Letter on Humanism (a response to Sartre).

8. J.-P. Sartre on the human condition. Work through Sartre study questions before tackling the paper.

Special Expectations. Papers are expected to do some argument analysis, at least informally (a real attempt to distinguish conclusions and premises, and where appropriate, intermediate steps) and evaluation of the arguments.

If you have any questions or need elaboration, please ask.