Philosophy minimum 4-5 pages
PHIL 101 Final Project | Spring 2022
Due: submit to iLearn by 11:55pm on Friday, May 13th
Points: 20 points
Assessment: the instructor will use a credit/no credit grading rubric when evaluating your final
project. A credit grade will be given for due effort shown. A detailed grading rubric will be
available on iLearn.
Analyze and articulate the philosophers thesis/conclusioni.e., the position they
defend in their argument.
Understand and explain the logical steps of the argument and present a
Advocate for the viewthat is, make a case for why it is plausible and should be
Present a critique of the argumenti.e., an objection against the original argument.
Claim: a truth-functional sentence (i.e., a sentence that is either true or false)
Argument: a set of claims that establish an inference
Inference: a logical step from supporting claims to the supported claim
Premises: claims in argument that do the supportingthe evidence or reasons to accept
another claim in the argument
Conclusion: the claim that is supported by the premises in an argumentthe claim that the
whole argument is built to defend
A note on I
In the context of a philosophy paper, it is perfectly reasonable to use the first-person pronoun
I. Unlike other disciplines that treat authors as third-person spectators in exposition, analysis,
and criticism, philosophy asks that the author insert themselves into their writing. Afterall, it is
your exposition, analysis, and critique of the argument, so it is permissible (and perhaps
beneficial) to include yourself in the discussion. So, phrases like I argue or to my mind are
acceptable and a way to claim ownership of the views you express in your paper.
Pick a format
Essay (3-5 pages, double-spaced)
Pick a topic
Pick a topic we covered during one of the weeks of the semester
o e.g., What Can We Know?
Pick one of the required readings for the weekly topic you pick
You must include all and only the following four components in the order they appear below.
1. Introductory Background/Context of the Debate
2.1 Philosophers Thesis Statement/Conclusion of the Argument
2.2 Argument Reconstruction: reconstruct the argument and outline the logic of the
argument (i.e., the connection between the premises and conclusion)
2.3 Advocate the View
1. Introductory Background/Context of the Debate
Summarize the topic you are writing/presenting on. In so doing, tell us what the central
question(s) is that motivates the issue (e.g., Is morality dependent on the existence of
God?) and why this makes for a philosophical problem. Utilize historical context if you
feel that this would be both appropriate and helpful to the reader. It is not necessary to
include any biographical information about the author.
2. The Exposition
2.1. Thesis Statement/Conclusion of the Argument
Outline the philosophers thesis, that is, the conclusion they argue for in their argument.
State explicitly what the conclusion of the argument is in the reading (e.g., Jones
argues that morality is dependent on the existence of God) and provide any relevant
background information to help understand the conclusion (to whom the philosopher is
perhaps responding to or the state of the debate up to this point).
2.2. Argument Reconstruction
Summarize and outline the philosophers argument (and, if helpful, standard form [i.e.,
showing how the conclusion follows from a set of premises in numerical order]). Present
their supporting claims (i.e., the premises) and articulate how they support the
conclusion in sufficient detail. Be sure to also explain how the conclusion follows
according to the logic of the premises and why this gives the arguments its plausibility.
Be as charitable as possible in your argument reconstructionthis will help your critique
in section 3.
2.3. Advocate the View
Advocate for the view you have just presented. That is, tell us why it is plausible and
why it should be accepted on the grounds provided in the premises. It can be difficult
to cast arguments in their best light; however, if you are charitable in your argument
reconstruction, advocating the strengths of the argument should be easy.
3. The Critique
Present an objection to a premise or premises in the argument. If you cannot think of an
objection on your own, feel free to research an objection made by another philosopher.
Researching an objection can be performed via the SFSU library website or using
various internet resources (e.g., Google, SEP, IEP, YouTube, etc.). Please thoroughly
summarize the objection and, if using the objection of someone else, give
quotes/citations when necessary.
Note: it is not enough to find an objection to the conclusion of the original argument.
Rather, the objection must critique the supporting claims in the original argumenti.e.,
the premises. Be sure to state how or why the objection represents a fault/shortcoming
of the original argument (that is, why we shouldnt accept the view being argued for)
and how severe the objection is.
Summarize each section and provide any concluding thoughts/ideas/takeaways that you
think are helpful and insightful.
Section 2 only requires the assigned reading you are writing on. Section 1 will largely rely on
internet resources to provide the reader with sufficient background/context of the debate.
Please feel free to use your own summary of the background/context of the issue; however, be
sure to cite any materials you draw from elsewhere.
Useful resources for this project can be found online in places like the Internet Encyclopedia of
Philosophy (www.iep.utm.edu) and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(www.plato.stanford.edu). A simple Google search will perhaps be the best place to start,
When citing source materials in the body of your essay, please use the following format:
According to Dreier, Moral judgments express beliefs. So, there are some beliefs which are
necessarily (all three propositions are supposed to obtain with necessity) connected with
motivation. And motivation is a matter of having a desire. (Dreier, p. 363)
A bibliography or works cited is required in your paper. APA, MLA, or Chicago Style are
acceptable formats for your bibliography/works cited.