Draft Proposal for the Critical Essay

This week you will work on your Draft Proposal for the Critical Essay (due in Week 7). For full detailed instructions on the entire Critical Essay, refer to the Critical Essay Guidelines in General Course Content.

You are free to select any one of our weekly topics: (1) Why Philosophy? (2) What is Real? (3) Do We Have A Self? (4) Does God Exist? (5) How Do We Know? (6) What is Truth? (7) What is Justice? (8) What is the Good Life? You are also welcome to entertain the question of Aesthetics, specifically, the role of art in society.

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You are required to stick to primary references that are scholarly. Primary references are references where the author presents their own view in their own voice. That means if you wish to analyze Plato’s theory of justice then you must read Plato. If you wish to analyze John Locke’s epistemology then you must read John Locke. In short, no encyclopedias, wikipedias, or secondary sources including our text. Your job is to present and defend your own position on an issue, not re-present the views of someone else. It should go without saying, this also means you should not go into a topic with your mind already made up. That’s not philosophy. That’s confirmation-bias.

Your draft proposal can be brief. It mainly needs to contain a description of the topic you have selected for your final Critical Essay along with a list of references. [Please no outlines with partial phrases and terms. This proposal needs to be couched in terms of complete sentences.] At this point, you may not know precisely what you will argue but try to be as specific as you can about the direction you are headed.

  • My advice is to select two philosophers whose views on a topic of your choice are opposed.
  • Then work your way in-between the different positions and make an original contribution to the topic by synthesizing the better parts of the two.
  • If you wish to provide a critique of the stance of just one philosopher, this is also an acceptable project.
  • In that case only one primary reference is perfectly acceptable.

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