To address some questions you might have about the final paper (which is not due until the end of the semester):
Q: What is the topic?
A: You can write about anything that we’ve talked about that you find interesting (hopefully there was at least one interesting topic!). Just find a topic that we discussed that you don’t find completely boring and write about it.
Q: When is it due?
The paper is due with the (take home) final; at the same time as the final. Not the last day of class.
Q: How long should the paper be?
A: 7 pages. Double spaced!
Q: Will you look at a draft?
A: Yes, though you are not required to turn a draft in.
Q: What about formatting etc.?
A: I don’t have a lot of rules here. I don’t care which font you use, for example. I think Garamond is classy looking, but you don’t have to use it. Sometimes people use 16 point font (instead of 12 point) to stretch the length of their paper out. I’ll probably take some points off if you do this.
Q: What should one of these papers look like?
A: Let’s say that you are going to write about political philosophy, for example (we’ll cover political philosophy in a couple of weeks from now). I’d start by setting up the issue. Just explain the various possible views. So explain what Rawls and Nozick said (note, if you are in the 101 class, we’ll cover them in a couple of weeks). This will probably take 2-4 pages. Then, for the rest of the paper, take a stand on the issue. Maybe you think Rawls is right? Maybe you think Nozick is right? Maybe you think everyone was wrong. I don’t care. Just give arguments for why you say what you do. If you think Rawls is wrong, just say why. You might draw on Nozick’s critique of Rawls, you might have an original objection or two, or maybe both.
Q: Do you have a minimum number of sources we have to cite?
A: No. Though you can certainly cite outside sources if you want (just use the citation format popular in your particular subject). Two nice online sources are the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. They have articles on pretty much everything we have discussed.