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  • Argument Paper
  • First Essay
  • Final Essay

    PLEASE NOTE: Sample papers are provided for reference only. As indicated in the course syllabus, no plagiarism of any kind will be tolerated.



    • Individual paper assignments describe the criteria by which they will be graded, and the weights assigned to each criterion. This rubric explains how the criteria themselves are evaluated.


    Many students find that philosophical writing is different from other types of writing, even if the nature of the difference is difficult to articulate. While I try to address some of the distinctive features of philosophical writing during class meetings, I encourage students (especially those who are new to philosophy) to consider a few extra resources to help you along:


    Finally, please note that I'm happy to offer assistance to students who are working on drafts of papers, provided that this takes place in the form of an in-person discussionI will not review emailed submissions, or provide 'mock-grades' of advance papers. If you would like to meet with me to discuss a paper, stop by my office during office hours or contact me for an appointment. I encourage you to consider the following for in-person draft discussions:

    • If you're finding difficulty in beginning your paper, simply start writing. Showing up to a meeting with something written will typically enable you to get the most out of our meeting.Rough drafts are fine. You don't need to have a fully worked out paper before meeting with me. Even if you only have an outline sketched out, we can work together to get you to the next step in the process.
    • Come with some specific questions about your paper. Simply showing up with and asking "What I think of it" tends to yield less-than-ideal results. Spend a bit of time gathering your thoughts on the paper first. Our meeting will be more efficient (and ultimately more helpful) if I know what you're concerned about.
    • Be aware of campus resources. Our time will be best spent working on the substance of your paper, including your arguments and the philosophical concepts you include in your discussion. I'm happy to also discuss stylistic concerns (such as grammar, spelling, awkward prose, etc.), but I believe that these are better addressed by resources such as De Anza's Writing and Reading Center.
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