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Topic: Free will vs. determination

PHI 121: Introduction to Philosophy

Research Paper

Page Length: at least 5 full pages (not counting the works cited page)

Percentage of Final Course Grade: 50%

For the research paper, you will choose a debatable philosophical problem or question we have covered during the semester (rationalist vs. empiricist epistemology, the existence of God, free will vs. determinism, universal vs. relative morality, etc.). Your essay will take a stand on that specific philosophical question and support this stance with persuasive logical arguments and references to reliable, relevant outside sources.  Here are the paper’s requirements:

  • Your essay must be in either MLA or APA format (in-text citations, works cited page, headers, etc.).
  • The paper should be at least 5full pages long (works cited page/references list or APA title page do not count towards this number).
  • Your essay should reference at least two academic philosophical sources, not including the textbook or class handouts.
  • Your paper must reference an assigned text we have discussed this semester as well.
  • The research paper should address at least one counterargument. This counterargument should be presented fairly and accurately. After presenting this counterargument, you should either refute or qualify this argument.
  • The target audience for your paper is someone either undecided about the issue or leaning towards the opposing point of view. Make sure not to simply “preach to the choir.”
  • Use formal, grammatically correct language throughout your paper.

Basic Outline For Paper:

Below is a sample outline for a research paper. Please do not feel the need to follow this exactly for your own paper. Choose an organizational pattern which will work best for your topic and your preferred approach:

  1. Introduction
  2. Anecdote, statistic, or some other unique and interesting way to capture reader’s attention
  3. Mention the philosophical debate you will be focusing on, its importance, why it is controversial, and those affected by it
  4. State your position within the debateclearly and directly
  5. A brief history of the philosophical debate
  6. From where did this controversy originate?
  7. What are a few of the landmark thinkers/ideas in the philosophical debate on this topic?
  8. How has the debate changed/evolved since it has began?
  9. Reason #1 in support of your thesis
  10. A strong topic sentence stating what the paragraph will be about (make sure to use smooth, varied transitions from one paragraph to the next)
  11. Explain the reason
  12. Provide support for reason (an example, statistic, quotation, etc.)
  13. Explain how this support relates to your reason
  14. Reason #2 in support of your thesis
  15. Strong topic sentence
  16. Explain reason
  17. Provide support
  18. Relate this support to your reason
  19. Address Counterargument
  20. Present an argument against your thesis
  21. Present an example, quotation, or study which your opponents have used to support this opposing argument
  22. Refute (argue against) or qualify (“Yes, but…”) this counterargument
  23. Conclusion
  24. Restate your thesis and reasons
  25. Discuss the future of this philosophical debate
  26. Explain the relevance of this debate to the real world
  27. Works Cited page

Although this sample outline only lists two reasons and one counterargument, your essay will probably contain more.

You are not required to provide the instructor with a rough draft in advance, but you will receive an extra three points on the assignment if you either (a) have the instructor look it over, or (b) bring the rough draft to the Academic Success Center.

Type of service-Academic paper writing
Type of assignment-Essay
Subject-Philosophy
Pages / words-6 / 1650
Number of sources-5
Academic level-Senior (College 4th year)
Paper format-MLA
Line spacing-Double
Language style-US English

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