Science in Cultural Context - Paper 1 Instructions
Grade: Part of your overall grade is to complete two papers, each worth 10 percent. You are to
turn Paper 1 in through the plagiarism detector on Canvas before March 15 at 11:59 PM. Only
include a title, and begin on the second line. The paper should be 12 point font, times new
roman, and double spaced with standard 1 inch margins. It must be approximately 2-3 pages, and
you can go over the page limit if you need to, but focus on concision. See syllabus for further
Purpose and Topic: Basically, you are to choose one of our required readings. The choice is up
to you—pick something you enjoyed, hated, were skeptical about, or had trouble understanding.
I leave this up to you so pick what suits you. You will write about this reading, fleshing it out in
its historical, philosophical, religious, and cultural context. Readings you may choose include
primary sources on early science (e.g., Aristotle and any of the early modern thinkers we covered
such as Descartes or Newton); Thomas Kuhn; or any of the case studies we consider such as
evolution vs intelligent design.
Topics might include the connection between aesthetics/religion/God and scientific explanation,
the influence of metaphysical frameworks and cultural values on scientific methodology, or the
social dimensions of scientific paradigms and knowledge.
This assignment will help you to think critically and analytically about philosophical problems in
the history of science, and it will also let you practice your writing and revision skills. Writing is
a skill, and you have to practice it. I will provide you with extensive feedback. A part of your
grade for Paper 2 will depend on whether you took this feedback seriously for the next paper.
Directions: On the first page, you are to summarize the reading. Note that if the reading is long,
you may focus on one particular aspect of it. Questions that should be answered: What is the
reading about? What is the topic? What is the argument? What are the reasons given in support
of the argument? What is the author trying to do? What are the cultural assumptions that the
author takes for granted? The purpose of the first page is to show me that you understand the
reading and its context AND that you can restate it in your own words. Do not quote the text, but
put it in words in a way you would when describing it to a friend or family member. Note that
even paraphrasing requires in-text citations. Show me where you found the information,
including the page number. That way, I can double check it if need be. This is how you cite
properly. It goes without saying that plagiarism will constitute academic integrity and merit
failure of the assignment at best, and failure of the course at worst.
The second and third+ pages are the critical or philosophical component. I want you to "react" to
the paper. Not just an emotional reaction, but I want you to give me reasons or connect the dots.
Possible ways to respond: Is there something wrong with the argument? Should it be criticized?
Should we believe what the author is saying? If not, why not? Is this reading relevant to your
understanding of yourself or your place in the world? How does this writer’s idea relate to his or
her cultural background? What is the connection to the humanities? These are all possible ways
Make sure this paragraph is a claim, not just a mere opinion. Imagine you are trying to convince
me or someone else that your claim is worthy of belief. For instance, if you find Descartes’
religious grounding of laws of nature to be problematic, make an argument where you show
exactly what is problematic about it after you have explained his argument. Or, if you think
Kuhn’s account of paradigms is valuable because it has application outside science, make an
argument where you explain and defend just how it is. The main point is that the first page shows
me you understand the analyzed material, and the rest of the paper presents a critical thesis or
claim that you can support with reasons that goes beyond the text.
However you choose to go about these, make sure to be clear and proofread your assignment. I
will correct for grammar and typos, but I rather spend time helping you with the substance and
ideas. I recommend reading your paper aloud before submitting it. This can help you catch little
mistakes and run-on sentences. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Purchase answer to see full