Phil 100 S20 TTH: Essay Prompt

Your assignment is to write a 3-5 page essay in which you use the tools developed in class to examine and evaluate a pseudoscience or a conspiracy theory, or some other type of problematic belief or practice. 

You should begin by picking a pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or problematic belief to examine. A Google search or a search on Wikipedia will yield numerous results. Then, you should describe and evaluate that pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or problematic belief. Finally, you will conclude the essay by describing what sorts of evidence could be used to determine the legitimacy or falsity of that pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or problematic belief and try to come up with an experiment that could uncover that evidence. Also, this experiment does not need to be one that you personally could conduct. This is a hypothetical experiment where money and ethical considerations are no problem, so don't be afraid to imagine big ideas for this part of the paper. 

A successful essay will contain the following:
  1. An introductory paragraph in which you describe what you will be doing in the essay and take a stand on the plausibility of the pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief you will be writing about. 
  2. A paragraph describing the history or origins of the pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief.
  3. paragraph that states the claims made by proponents of the pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief.
  4. A paragraph explaining the evidence that a proponent of that pseudoscience would cite in support of the claims of that pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief. 
  5. A paragraph that evaluates that evidence using the tools we have covered in class. 
  6. A paragraph describing the evidence that would prove or disprove that pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief or practice and an experiment that would uncover that evidence.
  7. A conclusion paragraph in which you summarize the essay and draw some conclusions about the validity of your pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, or other problematic belief.
  8. Properly cite all sources, and contain a "Works Cited" page. You may use MLA or CMS style for citations.
The essay should be typed, double-spaced in a 10-12 point legible font. In addition to the final draft of the paper which is due on Thursday, May 14, you will also need to complete the following pre-writing assignments:
  • You will need to select a topic which you will bring to class on Thursday, April 16
  • You will need to have an electronic copy of a draft of your paper available for distribution to the class on Thursday, May 7 for in-class peer editing.
Comments