General Guidelines and Requirements for Papers:
1. Writing must be clear and says what you mean it to say fully and directly.
2. Make sure to address all parts of the question or prompt.
3. You should write for an audience who are generally acquainted with the texts you are
discussing, with the aim of clarifying and deepening their understanding of those texts and their
main ideas and/or of taking and defending your own position about the issues under discussion.
a. your goal will be to try to offer your own account of the ideas covered in these
texts, explaining what those ideas are, their meaning, how they can be justified,
what is important or significant about them and/or what you object to and think
should be viewed otherwise. In all cases, you should provide reasons and evidence
in support of your account or your assessment.
b. DO NOT write ‘book report’ style papers, where you spend a bunch of time giving
basic background about the author or the texts in question. Make sure any
background you do supply is directly relevant to the matters you are discussing and
is necessary to make them clear.
c. DO NOT write in a tone that ‘hypes’ the author or text under discussion. Your goal
should be to provide a sober, critical assessment, not make things sound great.
4. On textual support. In the course of your paper, it is important that you establish that the views
you are attributing to the authors you are discussing are what they hold.
a. There are two ways of doing this.
In cases where the view can be adequately represented in a summary or paraphrase
form, you can provide a citation to the place where the author expresses the view
you are attributing to them.
In cases where the view needs to be exhibited in the author’s own words, you
should quote and provide a citation. Quoting can be necessary for a number for
reasons, such as precision (which is a good reason to use someone’s exact language
in many cases), or because the interpretation of an author’s position on a certain
point is controversial and you want to establish exactly what they say in order to
support a specific characterization of their view, or because the view needs some
explanation, which should start with a careful discussion of their own language.
b. Some further points:
i. When quoting, be sure to provide enough context and explanation of the text you
are quoting to ensure that its meaning is clear, and the reader can understand how
it supports or illustrates what you are saying. (Sometimes just quoting will be
enough, but often it will not be).
ii. Remember, even when you are simply summarizing key ideas found in the text in
your own words, you must provide citation references to aid the reader in locating
discussion of those ideas in the original.
iii. Finally, make sure that you have something of your own to say about the texts you
quote or refer to beyond simply stringing together quotations or paraphrases of
their content. Tell the reader why and how these texts are important, interesting, or
how they illustrate a point you want to make.
5. Some other notes about philosophical writing:
a. It is common in philosophy to use first person constructions like ‘I will argue that...’
or ‘I believe that...’. You should feel free to do so, especially since it will almost
surely make your writing clearer.
b. Philosophical writing relies to a great extent on consistency of terminological usage.
Rather than seeking synonyms to avoid using ‘common’ words, or trying to rephrase
another author’s formulation in ‘your own’ terms, it is better to use the words that
first come to mind when trying to say something and to stick with (or close to) other
people’s precise formulations when discussing their claims, especially if you have
reason to believe that the language in question contains technical vocabulary – i.e.,
terms around which the author is developing their concepts.
Obviously, when using other people’s language, you should enclose
what you are using in quotation marks and provide clear references for
where they first made that formulation. And references should also be
supplied for paraphrases, even when you are not directly quoting.
6. Papers should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style ‘notes and bibliography’
guidelines, with no title page or abstract.
a. For examples, see http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html.
b. All papers must include complete and correct bibliographic information for all sources cited or
consulted. This will always be listed in the footnotes and may also need to be listed in a separate
bibliography at the end of the paper.
If all sources you consulted in preparation of the paper are directly referenced
in the footnotes (either as a result of quotation or paraphrase and citation),
then you do not need to include a separate bibliography.
If, on the other hand, you consulted sources you did not reference in the
footnotes, you must include a separate bibliography.
c. Footnotes should be created using the ‘insert footnote’ function on your word processing
software, not as running footers or manually.
Every modern word processing program can do this and knowing how to use this
function is an important part of university level writing competency. The ‘help’ menu on
your word processing software is a good place to start if you’re unsure what to do.
Paper will be evaluated for content, including quality and precision of thought, as well as organization
and clarity of presentation. Generally, minor grammatical and stylistic issues will be overlooked in
favor of these matters of content and presentation, but this will only be true insofar as those issues
do not affect the substance of your discussion or its comprehensibility.
Explain Aristotle’s claim in Book II that human beings are not naturally virtuous, but that we become
virtuous by habituation. Situate this claim in relation to his general account of virtue in Book I, Chapter
7. Then discuss the relation between this account of learning to be good and Aristotle’s claim that the
virtues of character are states. What is the role of virtuous actions in this account? And finally, explain
how the emphasis on the formation of states through habituation connects to the account of the human
function, the claim that the virtuous life should be pleasant, and the claim that virtuous action should
reflect correct reason.
Guidelines Must be Followed!!
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