Philosophy 100 Writing Contest
Submissions will be accepted on any topic assigned in Phil 100 classes offered in Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. The deadline is March 15, 2010.
Philosophy 100 paper
The primary goal of a philosophy paper at the introductory level is to state a philosopher’s position on a given issue clearly and to present the argument that supports it. For instance, What is the nature of the just person for Plato? How does he argue for his conception of justice in the soul? This task involves the capacity to analyze the text(s) in such a way as to spell out the premises and assumptions that support the argument’s thesis, and to show how they lead to the conclusion. The paper should emphasize the logical relations that bind the various parts of the argument together so as to enable the reader to understand why the philosopher defends a certain view. It is often desirable to take into account objections to the philosopher’s position and to respond to them.
You may also be asked to evaluate the soundness of the argument(s) that you present. The most important factor in the evaluation is your ability to justify your own assessment of the philosopher’s argument, using textual evidence as well as reasons and examples of your own.
The content of your essay should be organized logically and the ideas should be stated clearly and succinctly. It may be useful to imagine that your reader is someone who is interested in philosophy but is not an expert on the topic you are writing about. This will help you to select the essential points of the argument and to make them explicit.