Optional Paper Assignment

Instructions: This is an optional assignment. You may, if you choose, complete a short paper instead of taking the comprehensive final examination. (You still must take the unit four examination that is given during the same time period.)

This assignment is intended to give you a chance to develop a good piece of philosophical writing that may be useful in your future endeavors. (Or maybe you just like to write -- that's okay too!) If you choose to do this assignment, you must adhere to the following requirements:

  1. You must get your paper thesis approved ahead of time. The latest time that such approval will be granted is 3pm on Friday, April 13. I do not guarantee that I will approve every thesis. If you do not have an approved thesis by this deadline, then you will not be allowed to replace the comprehensive final exam with a paper.
  2. The paper should be approximately 1200 words, not counting citations and any extensive quotations. Short quotations may be counted toward the word total as long as I do not feel that you are using them in place of putting your thoughts into your own words. Anything less than 1000 words will likely be inadequate. More than 1500 words might be okay, but if you could have said the same thing in fewer words, your grade will likely suffer.
  3. I am not persnickety about format. However, the paper must be submitted in printed form at the time of the final exam. Alternatively, you may e-mail it to me no later than the end of the day prior to the final exam. I will confirm that I received it at the time of the exam. I will accept either Microsoft Word or PDF files only.
  4. Spelling, grammar, and other matters of style will be taken into account in determining the grade on the paper. An occasional mistake will not cost you, but if you have more than one per page your grade will be lowered. Good proofreading skills are a must!
  5. The grade you receive on the paper will replace the grade you would have been given for the final exam.
  6. Perhaps most important is this: You may decide that you do not feel comfortable with a paper after all. You are always welcome to change your mind and take the final exam instead. You need only tell me that on the day of the final.

If you have questions, ask early. I will do my best to help you write a good paper. Last-minute attempts to obtain my assistance, however, are often unsuccessful. This is merely a practical matter. I too am busy during the final days of the semester, and I cannot guarantee that I can set aside enough time to help unless I have sufficient notice in advance.