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Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to expand on a subject of interest you encountered in the course.
This will give you an opportunity to practice formulating and explaining your own views.
Topic: You may write on any one of the following topics:
1) The rationalists believed knowledge was grounded in the mind. The empiricists believed
knowledge was grounded in experience. What are some ways in which you use each to acquire
2) Bentham came up with the hedonic calculus to determine which activities will bring about the
greatest amount of happiness. What is a situation that you have applied this calculus to?
3) James distinguished between tough-minded and tender-minded personalities and worldviews.
To what extent does each type apply to you?
Make sure your topic is clearly stated and described in the first paragraph. Explain the viewpoint fully.
Think of an example from your own experience that relates to the chosen topic. The goal is to
demonstrate your understanding of the topic and its relation to your own life.
Content and Length: The paper should be 3-5pp (double-spaced) long. The introductory part (first
paragraph, or 1⁄2 page) of the paper should consist of summarizing and explaining the topic you have
chosen. In the next 1 1⁄2 pages you should develop three logical points, each following from the previous.
Next, spend about 1⁄2 page addressing a viewpoint that is opposed to your own. Finally, conclude with
your own counterargument responding to the opponent’s position. You can use examples from your
personal experience if they back up your point.
Make sure it would be apparent to any reader that you clearly understand the subject you are writing
about; for this reason try to avoid using any terminology without clear explanation. In addition, always
give clear reasons for anything you claim—i.e. reasons that could be understood by anyone, even if they
come from a different background (e.g., religious or cultural). You can discuss these views, as long as
you do not assume that others will share them without independent reasons.
Citation and Bibliography: All direct quotes and paraphrase must be cited. For this course, the simplest
way is to give author and page number in parentheses after the quote—i.e. “The unexamined life is not
worth living.” (Plato 30). The paper should include at least one citation from a course text. Any passages
not cited, and presented as one’s own, may be construed as academic dishonesty, and removal from the