Phil 205 S13: Essay 4 Prompt

General Instructions: Your assignment is to write a 3-5 page paper on the following topic. The paper should be typed, double-spaced in a 12 point legible font. It is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, April 25.

Prompt: This paper will lead directly into your final research paper, and will serve as part of the pre-writing for that paper. Consequently, you should exercise great care in selecting a topic, as you will be working with this topic for the remainder of the semester. For this paper you will first pick a pseudoscience. To find a list of pseudosciences, start with this link. YOU MAY NOT WRITE ABOUT A PSEUDOSCIENCE THAT IS DISCUSSED IN THE BODY OF OUR TEXTBOOK (topics discussed in sidebars are fair game). You will then write a paper in which you perform the first two steps in the SEARCH method. These steps are:
  1. State the Claim
  2. Examine the Evidence
For the purposes of this essay you should take the side of a supporter of that pseudoscience. Even if you think the pseudoscience is nonsense, you should still write this paper as if you believe in the truth of this pseudoscience. In addition, for this paper you will need to include at least two non-Wikipedia sources, one of which must be a non-internet source.

A successful paper will do the following:
  1. Clearly articulate the major claims made by that pseudoscience.
  2. Clearly articulate the evidence and justifications that are made on behalf of the pseudoscience.
Your paper will be graded on content as well as on clarity/style and mechanics.

Clarity/Style: Your paper should be written such that a person who is entirely unfamiliar with the subject could understand it and follow it with relative ease. This means that you avoid excessively long sentences and you keep it simple. Once again, imagine that you are writing your paper to a reasonably intelligent friend who is interested in what you have to say but is unfamiliar with the subject. Also, your paper should not digress from your thesis. This means that your paper constantly keeps its objective in sight and does not change the subject or veer off course.

Mechanics: “Mechanics” here refers to the presentation of your paper as well as grammar, spelling, punctuation, and proper citation. Paper should be double-spaced, 12-point font, one-inch margins. Paper should be AT LEAST 3-4 pages, but more appropriately, you should accomplish your objective. Further, all of your citations should be done properly according to the Chicago Manual of Style or MLA. If you are unfamiliar with these methods of citation, please consult Writing Philosophy, Appendix B.