Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some philosophers of religion stopped by yesterday to discuss their papers. Here are some quick suggestions:

Always put your email address on your written work. That way I can more easily contact you with feedback. 

You were asked to find three *main claims* that Harris makes and supports in his book. Many students did not really do that: either they mentioned various *issues or topics* that Harris discusses -- but did not mention the claims he makes about those issues or topics (e.g., e.g., "About this topic his main claim is that ______) or they presented various minor claims Harris makes. Again, you want to find three main claims and explain them clearly, and briefly summarize the reasons he gives in favor of these themes. And you want to present these in a way that someone who has not read the book would understand them.

I encourage you to try to write SIMPLY: write in short sentences -- break up any long sentences -- and so not use any uncommon, fancy words unless  no ordinary words will do the job. Again, I encourage you to break up any long sentences into shorter ones: I GUARANTEE this will improve your writing: this is what journalists do, to make their writings more readable. 

Each paragraph should be focused on one topic: you should be able to say, "This paragraph is about this: ____." 

Don't use the word 'feel', e.g., "Harris feels that ____." Use believes, thinks, or argues, since rarely will anyone be talking about their feelings or emotions in a philosophy paper. 

Do not write "Well" as in, "Well, this argument is ___." No "wells." 

Please carefully read the Vaughn book, since there is much in it that will help improve your writing. And there is an outlining/summarizing summary on  the first three chapters due Monday. 

OK, these are a few quick thoughts!
Thanks, NN

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