Skepticism, philosophy assignment help

Suppose someone argues for skepticism like this: People have different beliefs. People disagree about how old the world is; whether there is life on other planets; and even whether Bigfoot exists. So there’s really no truth about how old the world is; whether there’s life on other planets; or even whether Bigfoot exists. 

Use the relevant course readings to evaluate the force of this argument. (You should be able to determine which are relevant.) Is this argument for skepticism a good one? What does your judgment with respect to that last question mean for belief in skepticism based on arguments like the one I just presented? Should we form beliefs based on arguments like this? 

This is a 4 to 5 page paper, though you may certainly write more than that. Cite the text to support your claims. Write the paper is if it were a college paper. See the rubric in learning web for guidance

How Not to Write a Term Paper

  Barring the obvious bad strategies for ‘writing’ a term paper, viz. plagiarizing, writing on a topic that is not assigned, etc., how should a student not write a term paper? My term paper process begins this way: I ask a tough question and require students to answer it using course tools. A bad approach is to look and see what smart people have said about that question and then to write me a report on what those smart people have said. The papers look like this: “So-and-so said such-and-such and I think that person is right. After all, (insert an explanation of what So-and-so has said in different words from those So-and-so used.)”Why is this a bad approach?

  Think of the skill levels involved in learning any new concepts. The most primitive level is that of imitation. Children hold up two fingers after their parents do so. Marginally more sophisticated is when  children hold up the right fingers when asked to show us how many fingers make two. Then there is identification. Children learn to point to representations of the number ‘2’ and deem them twos. This might be two fingers held up, the standard English character for the number, Roman numerals and so on. This level is primitive because it requires little knowledge of how to use the number two. When the child can count to two or by twos, the child has acquired a slightly more sophisticated grasp of the concept ‘two’. When the child learns to explain the role of the number two in ordering, pairing, and so on, the child has an even more sophisticated level of understanding. If and when the child has acquired the ability to do these things on his/her own, s/he has mastered the concept in question.

  Now think back to a term paper that finds answers someone else has given and tells me about what that person has said. At what analogous level of sophistication is this paper? Well, it does identify uses of philosophical concepts. However, it does not show that the student can use the concepts on his/her own. It does not show that the students can use the concepts to answer tough questions. It does not show that the student is able to use and explain the concepts s/he was to learn to use and explain.

A philosophy paper is not an attempt to show that you can translate one English sentence into another. If your paper is simply a presentation of what someone else said ‘in your own words’, as so many students love to say, what you have not demonstrated is that you can actually use the concepts to answer questions. You have only demonstrated two things. First, and at best, you have demonstrated that you can identify when other people have used the concept correctly. Second, you have demonstrated that you can translate what the other person said into sentences that preserve the same meaning. This ability is irrelevant to this class. Philosophy is not a course on translations. I do not give points for converting English propositions into English propositions.

When I grade papers, I regard the demonstration of primitive levels of comprehension as nothing better than a C. You are actually better off trying to use the concepts to answer the questions on your own, even if you do not do as well as the paper on which you would love to do a book report. The strategy I am being critical of here limits you; you cannot do better than C-level work if you employ it. If you at least try to employ course concepts at sophisticated levels, you are able to show that you have a more complex understanding of the ideas than if you only try to engage in primitive uses of course concepts.

Try to answer the questions on your own. Use our course tools as a tool to do so. Do not write a book report that shows you can do things I am not particularly interested in teaching you to do. Do not limit yourself with a bad approach.

Grading Rubric 1. Does this paper identify have a clear thesis? (5%) 2. Does this paper contain only relevant information? Are the citations completed properly? (5%) 3. Does the paper attribute the correct view to the philosophers in question? (10%) 4. Is/are the philosopher’s view presented with the appropriate level of detail? (For example, does the author explain concepts and arguments in a tight manner, or are the arguments and concepts merely sketched?) (25%) 5. Does the author present a clear argument in his/her discussion? (15%) 6. Does the paper cohere? Or, is the paper a hodgepodge of disparate ideas? (10%) 7. Does the conclusion tie together the different phases of the paper? Or, is the conclusion a non-sequitur? (5%) 8. Are the spelling, grammar and syntax on the college level? (5%) 9. Does the author make appropriate and accurate use of course concepts in constructing his or her discussion? (20%) Intangibles: Is the paper on the assigned topic? 


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