The topic of your essay must integrate at least two sciences (biology, psychology, medicine) and at least two areas of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics). Topics must be approved in advance: see deadlines.
The essay should be around 20 pages (5000) words. Use multiple sources, and indicate them, using whatever bibliographic format you like.
The penalty for plagiarism (passing another person's work off as your own) is a course grade of F. See: How to avoid plagiarism.
1. Relevance: pose and try to answer an important question in the philosophy of science.
2. Research: use multiple resources.
3. Writing: write intelligibly.
4. Argument: make a compelling case for the answer you prefer, and consider alternative answers. Essays will be graded on the quality of the argument, not on the particular conclusion you reach.
The format does not matter, but make sure that you indicate all your sources, including Web sites. This is a research essay so you should use numerous sources. The Philosopher's Index is the best way to find relevant philosophy articles.
1. The issue. State the question you are trying to answer.
2. Alternatives. State possible answers to your question.
3. Evidence. Describe whatever scientific and philosophical evidence is relevant to the different potential answers.
4. Conclusion. On the basis of the evidence for the different alernatives, argue for what you see as the best answer to the question.
Oct. 26: Hand in 1-page description of essay topic, including a description of the question you are asking and how it involves at least 2 areas of science and at least 2 areas of philosophy. List a few relevant sources.
Nov. 23 or 30. Present an outline of your issues and conclusion to the class.
Dec. 7. Hand in final version of essay. Extensions will be granted only for medical or family emergencies.
No sentence fragments. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read. A writer must not shift your point of view. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed. Write all adverbial forms correct. In their writing, everyone should make sure that their pronouns agree with its antecedent. Use the semicolon properly, use it between complete but related thoughts; and not between an independent clause and a mere phrase. Don't use no double negatives. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: Resist hyperbole. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Avoid commas, that are not necessary. Verbs has to agree with their subjects. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. The passive voice should never be used. Writing carefully, dangling participles should be avoided. Unless you are quoting other people's exclamations, kill a ll exclamation points!!! Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. Use parallel structure when you write and in speaking. You should just avoid confusing readers with misplaced modifiers. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences-such as those of ten or more words-to their antecedents. Eschew dialect, irregardless. Remember to never split an infinitive. Take the bull by the hand and don't mix metaphors. Don't verb nouns. Always pick on the correct idiom. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'" Never use prepositions to end a sentence with. Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.
Life, Mind, and Disease
Computational Epistemology Laboratory.
This page updated Oct. 5, 2004