I have high expectations for these papers. They should substantial arguments. They should be thoroughly researched so that they demonstrate fluency in the related literature and counterarguments. They should be rigorously structured. They should your best writing. They should on time. The final paper must be a minimum of 4000 words. It is a good idea (but not required) to discuss your paper in person, via Skype, email, or something like that. I like to check in with everyone.
Read over some of my suggestions for writing a philosophy paper. Please take these especially seriously given the amount of freedom you have in writing this paper. It will also refresh your memory about HOW I GRADE THESE PAPERS. Make me proud with a full thesis and a clearly organized argument. The words “In this paper I will argue…” should appear in the first paragraph. Use The Chicago Manual of Style for your citations. Plagiarize and fail.
As we have seen through the course of our studies, much of the work of philosophy consists of asking the right questions. I encourage you all to conceive, fashion, and explore questions of your own creation, and therefore the suggestions below are genuinely mere suggestions. Use this as an opportunity to engage questions that you are curious and passionate about. Many of these topics will require some research, by which I mean going to the library and not just Google searching. I should be able to refer you to the most useful outside readings during our meetings. You may incorporate any of your writing from your previous response papers into your final paper, but don’t be tempted to use it just for filler to meet the deadlines. You may write on any issue related to the course and the texts we have read, so long as I approve the proposal. The topic may be narrow (Does the Labor Theory of Value fails to account for X?), broad (Is financial value in the process of overtaking all other value), concentrating on an author (Can Bentham measure happiness?) or an issue (What is the relationship between money and happiness?). I encourage you to design your own topic, but I offer the following suggested issues as samples to consider. Many of these questions would need to be worked up into full topics, but they provide something to work with.