Essay instructions (including drafts)

Here are the instructions for the essay you need to write for this course, including what you need to do for each of the two drafts. The following are the same document, in two different formats.

Note: Clarification on what happens if your draft is late to your peers or to us–the syllabus says:

  • Failure to turn in the drafts at all means 10 marks off your final paper mark (10%), for each draft not turned in.
  • Turning in the drafts late means 5 marks off your final paper mark, for each draft that is late. Except that if you turn in the draft two or fewer weekdays before the next draft is due (for the first draft), or the final paper due date (for the second draft), then this counts as not turning it in at all and you’ll get 10 marks off the final paper mark for each draft turned in that late.
  • If you turn in the draft but do not engage in peer review of peers’ essays as assigned, you will lose 5 marks from your final paper mark, for each peer review session not completed. This involves both filling out a peer review worksheet and attending class on the day we discuss the drafts in groups, face to face.

The late penalty on the instructions as they were written earlier said that you would lose 5 marks per day for late drafts. But it makes no sense to have 5 marks taken off the drafts, because the drafts aren’t worth anything by themselves. They count in that if you don’t do them, or submit them late, this hurts your final essay mark.

The documents below have been updated to clarify this. I will speak individually with those who had late first drafts to discuss the impact of turning in the first draft late (or not at all), or not doing the peer feedback.

Essay Instructions, including drafts (MS Word) (revised Nov 7, 2014)

Essay Instructions, including drafts (PDF) (revised Nov 7, 2014)

 

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Here is a video showing how to upload your essays to the Connect site, both for Serban and I and for your group (you have to do it in two different places for those two audiences).

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Term paper assignment, including drafts

PHIL 230, Hendricks, Fall 2014

 DUE DATES

First draft: Friday, Oct. 17, by 5pm at the latest (note new due date due to instructor illness); post to your group’s discussion board on the Connect website

  • Peer feedback on first draft due: Tuesday Oct. 21 by 3:30pm: post feedback form to your group’s discussion board on Connect, AND be in class on Oct. 21 with the feedback form (can be on a computer) to give your comments to the author orally.

Second draft: Thursday, Nov. 6, by class time at the latest (3:30pm); or post to your group’s discussion board on the Connect website

  • Peer feedback on second draft due: Thursday, Nov. 13 by 3:30pm: post feedback form to your group’s discussion board on Connect, AND be in class on Nov. 13 with the feedback form (can be on a computer) to give your comments to the author orally.

Final essay: Friday, Nov. 21, by 5pm at the latest; submit to Christina and Serban on the Connect website

 

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

This essay will be an extension of what you’re doing in your moral issue journal, so you will have the chance to take what you’ve started there and craft a clear, cogent, argumentative essay by the end of the term. In the first draft, you’ll outline what a utilitarian (either Mill or Brandt) would say about the moral issue you’ve chosen, then in the second draft you’ll add an outline of what a Kantian would say. Both of these will receive peer comments. Then you’ll revise what you’ve done and write the final essay (which will only include utilitarianism and Kantianism, not virtue ethics—because there won’t be much time to add that in before the due date!).

Note: you can create your own essay topic. You would need to TALK ABOUT IT WITH ME FIRST, though, before doing a different essay topic. We’d have to agree on what it will be, and how it can still fit into the series of drafts and peer feedback.
You can write up a first draft for Oct. 17 and decide after that that you want to do something different, if you wish. You’ll have to make a final decision on whether you’re going to write about the option I’ve provided, or something else we have agreed upon, by Oct. 31, at the latest (the second draft is due Nov. 6).

So, if you want to write about something other than the essay assignment I’ve given:

1. You must talk to me about what you’d like to do, and get it approved (and we’ll talk about how you will be doing drafts for that)

2. You must decide whether you’re going to do the main essay assignment or one that you and I discuss, by Oct. 31 at the latest. If I don’t hear from you by Oct. 31, you will have to do the original assignment.

Late or missing drafts:

From the syllabus:

  • Failure to turn in the drafts at all means 10 marks off your final paper mark (10%), for each draft not turned in.
  • Turning in the drafts late means 5 marks off your final paper mark, for each draft that is late. Except that if you turn in the draft two or fewer weekdays before the next draft is due (for the first draft), or the final paper due date (for the second draft), then this counts as not turning it in at all and you’ll get 10 marks off the final paper mark for each draft turned in that late.
  • If you turn in the draft but do not engage in peer review of peers’ essays as assigned, you will lose 5 marks from your final paper mark, for each peer review session not completed. This involves both filling out a peer review worksheet and attending class on the day we discuss the drafts in groups, face to face.

 

FIRST DRAFT

For the first draft, you’ll just be considering what a utilitarian (either Mill or Brandt) might say about the moral issue you’ve chosen. Choose either Mill or Brandt to discuss, or, if you want, you could talk about both (not required).

The first draft, due Friday, Oct. 17, must have the following elements:

  • A brief description of the moral issue you’re focusing the essay on (you can copy and paste from your first journal entry, if you want)
  • A thesis statement written as if this essay were only about what Mill or Brandt would say about this moral issue (later you’ll revise it to include what a Kantian would say).
  • An outline of paragraphs you’re thinking of having in the essay to support the thesis. This outline should have a 1-3 sentence summary of the main point of each paragraph.
    • Be sure this summary makes it clear how the paragraph will support the thesis statement.
    • Also, be sure that you give enough detail in your summary of each paragraph to make it clear to the student(s) reading your outline what each paragraph will be about (i.e., don’t just give short phrases that may be hard for someone else to understand).

How to submit this essay: You will need to submit it to a discussion board for your small group, and also to Christina and Serban—both before the due date and time of Friday, Oct. 17, 5pm.

1. To give the draft to your small group, go to the Connect site for this course (http://connect.ubc.ca) and find “my groups” on the left menu. There will be a discussion board with your group’s number on it. Post your outline there, either as an attachment or copied and pasted into a message on the board.

2. To give your draft to Christina and Serban, you’ll need to do one more thing on Connect. Go to “Assignments” on the left menu, and submit your draft there.

Peer feedback on this draft

Everyone will be assigned 1 or 2 outlines to read and comment on (there will be a comment form for you to fill out, for each essay). Who is reading whose essay will be posted to your group’s discussion board, so check the messages there to find out!

You will need to:

1. Fill out a feedback form that will be posted on the course website under “assignment instructions,” and post this feedback form with your comments to your group’s discussion board (give a “reply” to the message the author made posting his/her essay) before class on Tuesday, Oct. 21 (by 3:30pm).

2. Be in class on Tuesday, Oct. 21, with the feedback form that has your comments (can be on a computer if you wish), to talk to the author about the outline in person.

 

SECOND DRAFT

In the second draft of the essay you’ll be writing out the first part of the essay, on Mill or Brandt, and outlining the part on Kant.

The second draft, due Thursday Nov. 6 (by 3:30pm at the latest—see above), must have the following elements:

 

  • An introductory paragraph that introduces the whole essay and has a statement of your thesis for the essay. This time the thesis should include what a Kantian would say about the issue, as well as Mill or Brandt.
  • Fully written paragraphs for the following:
    • A brief description of the moral issue you’re focusing on for the essay
    • What Mill or Brandt would say about this issue, and why. Be sure to give textual evidence supporting what you claim they’d say. This can be direct quotes or paraphrases of their arguments (even for paraphrases you should usually give a page number—see information on citations, below).
  • An outline of paragraphs you’re thinking of having in the essay to explain what a Kantian would say. This outline should have a 1-3 sentence summary of the main point of each of the paragraphs on Kant.
    • Be sure this summary makes it clear how the paragraph will support the thesis statement.
    • Also, be sure that you give enough detail in your summary of each paragraph to make it clear to the student(s) reading your outline what each paragraph will be about (i.e., don’t just give short phrases that may be hard for someone else to understand).

 

Word count, margins, etc., for second draft: This should be at least 1000 words and no more than 2000 (this is about half your finished essay), or 2-4 pages typed, double-spaced. Font size should be between 11 and 12 points, and margins between 0.75 and 1 inch.

See general instructions below the final version on citations, avoiding plagiarism, etc.; those apply for the second draft as well!

 

How to submit the second draft: You will need to submit it to a discussion board for your small group, and also to Christina and Serban—both before the due date and time of Thursday, Nov. 6, 3:30pm.

1. To give the draft to your small group, go to the Connect site for this course (http://connect.ubc.ca) and find “my groups” on the left menu. There will be a discussion board with your group’s number on it. Post your outline there, either as an attachment or copied and pasted into a message on the board.

2. To give your draft to Christina and Serban, you’ll need to do one more thing on Connect. Go to “Assignments” on the left menu, and submit your draft there.

 

Peer feedback on this draft

Everyone will be assigned 1 or 2 drafts to read and comment on (there will be a comment form for you to fill out, for each essay). You will be reading the same essay(s) as for the first draft, unless something needs to be changed (for example, if someone is ill and can’t get the essay in on time). If there are any changes to who is reading whose essay, these will be posted to the group’s discussion board on Connect.

You will need to:

1. Post the feedback form with your comments to your group’s discussion board (give a “reply” to the message the author made posting his/her essay) before class on Thursday Nov. 13 (by 3:30pm).

2. Be in class on Thursday Nov. 13, with the feedback form that has your comments (can be on a computer if you wish), to talk to the author about the draft in person.

 

FINAL VERSION

In the final version of the essay you’ll revise whatever needs revising from the second version, and write out the paragraphs on what a Kantian would say, making a complete essay.

The final version should also answer at least one of these two questions:

  1. Do you find any problems with taking a utilitarian or Kantian approach to this issue?
  2. Do you find both equally valuable ways to approach the issue (just different), or do you find one to be stronger than the other for some reason?

 Your final version must have:

  • An introductory paragraph that introduces the whole essay and has a statement of your thesis for the essay. The thesis give your answer to at least one of the above two questions—whether you find any problems with either approach, and/or whether one is stronger than another for this particular issue.
  • Body paragraphs that:
    • Explain the moral issue you’re talking about in the essay
    • Explain what Mill or Brandt would say about the issue, and why (give textual evidence)
    • Explain what Kant would say about the issue, and why (give textual evidence)
    • State and argue for your answer to one of the above two questions
  • A concluding paragraph that rounds out the essay in some way, whether by summarizing the main points of what you’ve said, or suggesting some implications of what you’ve said, or providing the reader with something else to think about, or in some other way.

 

Word count, margins, etc., for final version: 2000 (minimum) to 3500 (maximum) words (approx. 5-7 pages typed, double-spaced). Font size should be between 11 and 12 points, and margins between 0.75 and 1 inch.

 

Instructions for both the second and final versions:

Citations for quotes and paraphrases: Any time you use a quote, and for most paraphrases, (whether from readings assigned for class, or from another source), you must cite the source. Usually if you’re talking about something very general from a text, such as that Mill puts forward the Greatest Happiness Principle as the foundation of morality, you don’t have to cite it; but if you’re giving more specific ideas or arguments, you should. You can cite quotes and paraphrases just by giving the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses, like this: (Mill 20). If you use only texts assigned for the course (including those assigned as optional), you do not need to provide a bibliography or “works cited” page at the end of the paper, just the author and page number after the quote or paraphrase (or, if we read more than one work by the same author, give the author, title of the work, and page number in parentheses). But if you use anything beyond what is assigned for the course, you must provide a bibliography or “works cited” page. You may use any of the standard citation methods: e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian. If you are unsure how to use any of these, please see this page on the course website, which has links for how to cite sources: http://blogs.ubc.ca/phil230/links/writingciting/ (see: “Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism”)

Avoid plagiarism: It is the policy of the Instructor to prosecute plagiarism to the fullest extent allowed by UBC. Any use of another’s words, including just a sentence or part of a sentence, without citation, constitutes plagiarism. Even if you take a sentence from another source and change a few words in it, this still counts as plagiarism if you don’t cite the source. So does taking arguments or ideas directly from another source without citing that source. To avoid plagiarism, always give a citation whenever you have taken ideas or direct words from another source. Please see this page on the course website for information on how to avoid plagiarism, especially when you’re paraphrasing ideas or quoting from another source—quite a lot of plagiarism is not on purpose, just because students don’t understand the rules! http://blogs.ubc.ca/phil230/links/writingciting/

Depth of explanation and narrowness vs. breadth and superficiality: It’s usually best to focus your paper on a small number of claims and argue for them in some depth rather than trying to range widely over a very large number of claims that you then only have space to justify very quickly. This is especially the case in a short essay like this. You may not be able to talk about everything you think the philosopher would say in answer to one or both of these questions in such a short space. So pick one or two main things the philosopher would say and focus on those.

Audience you should write for: Write both of these essays as if you were writing for someone who is not in the class, has not read the texts, and has not attended the lectures. Explain your view, and the arguments of the philosophers you discuss, in as much depth as would be needed to make them clear to such an audience.

Criteria for marking essays: See the “Guidelines for Writing Papers for this Course,” posted on the course website (under “Assignments). I will also post a marking rubric that we will use when marking your essays, which adheres to the “Guidelines” document.

Late penalty: Late essays (for the final version) must be accompanied by a “late paper form,” accessible on the course website “Assignments.” Late essays will receive a 5 mark per weekday penalty, beginning after the day/time the essay is due, and another 5 marks for a whole weekend, unless you have an acceptable excuse for turning in your essay late.  You should contact Christina before turning in a late essay, if possible.

 

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