Philosophy 160
Professor Stemwedel

Spring 2014

Short essay guidelines

1.      Each short essay should be a short essay of approximately 500 words, about 2 typewritten double-spaced pages in length.  You must write in full sentences and use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. 

2.      Your essay should answer the assigned question, drawing on the relevant reading assignment.  It is very important to deal with what the author says about the question, not simply with what you think.  (However, you may contrast your own opinion with the author's, offer a critique of her argument, etc.  But this requires that you start by setting out the author's position.)

3.      Even though you are dealing with the author's view about the question, you need to express it in your own words.  Extended quotations of the text are inappropriate in an assignment of this length, and even short quotations require your analysis (e.g., you will need to explain what the sentence you have quoted means, how it bears on the question, etc.).

4.      Misrepresenting the words or ideas of others as your own is plagiarism.  You will not receive credit for any essays that contain plagiarism,. Moreover, it is course policy that plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the course and the possibility of further administrative sanctions.

5.      If you are completely unsure of what the author is claiming or how it bears on the question you have been asked to answer, you should write a brief essay on what the author seems to be claiming, why it does not make sense to you, and what two questions you might ask the author to help you understand his view.

6.      Short essays are due at the beginning of lecture.  No late reading responses will be accepted.  Of the 4 reading responses assigned, your lowest grade will be dropped from the average.  (If you skip one, that will be the one that gets dropped.)

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