philosophy short paper

each of the texts we read are of a different literary genre (dialogue, poem, letter). The prompt simply asks you to compare the literary devices that the author used to convey the philosophical ideas that were presented. A literary device might be the use of simile (x is like y) that Lao Tzu used in Living as Water. For Plato the device is his dialogue style. King used several devices like metaphor and allusions. For a list of literary devices see this website:

Next discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of the literary styles (dialogue, poem, letter) for expressing philosophical views. Are some better than others at conveying philosophical ideas? Are there interpretive challenges? Interpretive challenges means any difficulty one might have with interpreting the text simply because of the particular style that’s been used. (Remember how difficult it was to understand Lao Tzu because of how it was written? It was a very different level of effort from reading King’s Letter.)

Short Paper #

1500 words minimum/maximum

(approximately 4 ½ pages)

Due 10/31/14 by 11:55pm


[Note: I’ve changed the due date from 10/29 to 10/31 to give you some extra time]

Return to your first short paper and now write a paper comparing the devices used for presenting

philosophical views employed in the different genre through which the views are presented. You may

refine your initial interpretations of the texts. Be sure to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each

of these literary forms for presenting philosophical ideas, and the interpretive challenges presented by

each different genre. Be sure that you examine at least two different genres. If you used more than two

texts for your first short paper you may reduce the texts down to two for this paper as long as the two

texts represent two different genres.

Formatting instructions and deductions

• Name, student ID, class hour single spaced in the header

• 1 inch margins on all sides

• Page numbers in the header

• Text of the essay double spaced

• 12 point, standard font

10 point deduction for each violation of the above

Grammar deductions

1 point for each grammatical error

Word count

10 point deduction for word count violation


10 point deduction per quote exceeding ten words. I prefer that you not quote at all but put the

text into your own words. If you do quote be sure to cite the quote in the manner appropriate to your

discipline. If you don’t have a discipline yet, select a citation style of your choice (APA, MLA,

Turabian, Chicago). Footnotes, endnotes, or a works cited page (if you include one) do not apply to

your word count. The word count only applies to the essay itself. 



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