Writing a “term paper” is one of the most important skills to develop for all Humanities courses, and I
encourage you to take this opportunity to work on your writing and organizational skills. Although sometimes
philosophers themselves are guilty of what you might call “metaphysical flights of fancy,” philosophical reflection
is perhaps best understood as “critical thinking,” which is the practice of clarifying concepts, revealing biases or
presuppositions, exploring arguments and reasons for holding one position over another, and coming to a reasoned
conclusion. Thus, the word “critical” does not mean “negative” or “dismissive” (as it perhaps does in common
usage). In philosophy, it means a careful, honest, self-reflective reasoning, and a “critical assessment” paper may be
either a reasoned rejection or a reasoned defense of a position. The best way of demonstrating a clear understanding
of critical thinking and of the issues in this class is by submitting a well-written and well-organized term paper.
With this in mind, I encourage you to make use of the following structure (for this course, and for many
other courses in Humanities!): Introduction, Argument, Objections, Replies, and Conclusion. To begin with, a
term paper should open up with an introductory paragraph or section. This opening serves to orient your reader
about the topic that you will be discussing, provide any clarification or definitions of key terms that will be at stake
in your paper, and provide a thesis statement as to what point you will defend in your paper. Be clear with your
thesis statement, i.e.: “In this paper I will argue that Aristotle was correct to reject Plato’s theory of the Forms.”
Following your introduction, you should present the best argument(s) available for supporting one side of the issue.
In philosophy, you are graded on the strength of your arguments and reasoning, so think through this carefully and
be sure to say why one should believe the claims you make in this section. After this argument section, you should
consider objections to your position. Do not just pick the easiest objection(s) here. In order to present an honest
and careful critical thinking essay, you must consider the BEST arguments for each side, so take your time and
come up with the strongest arguments you can for both sides! After presenting as clearly as possible the objections
to the original position (and thus some clear case for an opposing position), you must provide some reply to those
objections. Can someone holding onto the first argument answer the objections. If so, then you have greatly
supported the argument. If not, then you should reconsider that original position. Finally, a clear conclusion is an
essential ending to the paper. You should provide some brief re-cap of the path travelled, and give some good
reasoning for why you conclude the paper as you do either by supporting, rejecting, or revising your thesis
Use 12-point Times New Roman font. Double-space the paper. Use 1?inch margins. Number the pages.
QUESTION*** What is the role of “informed consent
,” in medical treatment and research, and what difficulties arise
with this concept in relation to incompetent patients, children, or prisoners? Are there any cases that
would allow medical research to proceed without informed consent
? Explore this concept and its
ethical implications, and support your position with arguments and examples.
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