Assess the free will theodicy of one of Alvin Plantinga. In taking account of some of the most significant critiques of his approach, to what extent does his argument nonetheless succeed in overcoming the (a) logical problem, and (b) evidential problems of evil. Length and/or format: 2500 words Purpose: This task requires students to carefully read a range of scholarly sources, and to think more deeply into a chosen aspect of the problem of evil, synthesising their thoughts in a structured essay. Referencing: APA style Research your topic: This is your major piece of work for the semester, so you should ensure that it is built on some serious reading and thought. o Start by reviewing the lecture notes and tute reading on your topic. o Then consult the unit outline bibliography on your topic, and hit the library. Begin with more general material (e.g., a chapter from a introductory text), and then as your understanding increases, read some more challenging texts. Finally, for more advanced material, you might like to consult a database (e.g., Ebsco) to locate a journal article or two. Understanding the Problem and the Scholarship: There are two things here: o Getting to ‘first base’ involves really understanding what the philosophical problem you are dealing with is about. You should have a pretty good idea of this from the lecture notes and tutorial reading and discussion, though your further reading will help fill this out. o Getting to ‘second base’ involves having an understanding of some of the main positions that have been taken on the problem. Usually this will mean knowing something of what person A, B and C said about the issue your dealing with, and/or some of the main ‘schools of thought’. You need to coherently and correctly present these views in your essay. Developing your own argument: However, your essay is not just a matter of presenting the views of others: you also need to say what you think about the problem. o This is known as ‚your argument‛: it is, in effect, your ‘answer’ to the topic question, and the point of view that you are trying to convince your reader about. n fact, it is what the whole essay is about. You present the views of others on the problem only to agree or disagree with them, and to situate your own view (argument) in terms of theirs. All of this is designed to put forward and defend your answer to the topic question. Reference your work: You may use any major referencing style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago 15th , Harvard) so long as you include page numbers for all citations. Also, include a bibliography of works consulted (including texts you used but didn’t actually cite). Carefully proof-read your work: Make sure you re-read your ‘finished’ essay, checking punctuation and ensuring that all sentences make sense. Poorly expressed work can ruin the fluency of your argument and detract from all your hard work. Allow time for serious proof-reading. Structure is very important: What follows is: o An explanation of the structure of a formal philosophical essay o Some sample essay sections based on another nonsense topic completely unrelated to this unit: i.e., “Is success more important than effort?” 1/ Introduction: The two tasks of your essay introduction are to: State the thesis (i.e., your central argument): It is important that you outline this at the outset. Don’t keep it a ‘secret’ to the end! Outline how you will establish it: 2/ Body of the essay: The body then develops and defends the argument in detail by discussing various points which all directly contribute in some important way toward the demonstration of the truth of your argument. Remember: Limit the number of points you make. A good essay of this size will only have 3-5 points, but it will make them well, with two or more paragraphs per point. If a point is worth making, it is worth making properly. Avoid assertions that are not supported or justified by either an argument, or some kind of empirical evidence (if appropriate). Each step in your argument gets a paragraph to itself. It begins with a ‘topic sentence’ that makes it clear to the reader what the paragraph will be about. For example: ‚All humans naturally strive for what they believe in‛. ‚However, successive failure can have a devastating effect on morale, and this can lead to a loss of resolve and effort. Use both quotations from other (primary and secondary) texts as well as acknowledged paraphrases of points made in these texts, and ensure that all are properly referenced. Avoid lengthy quotations by breaking important passages into smaller portions and commenting on each part. Even better, especially when paragraphing from a text, use lots of two or three word quotes incorporated into your own sentence. Quotations longer than two full lines (of your essay) should be rare. But when you use these, they should be indented with quotation marks removed. Never quote without providing some commentary of your own. A quote by itself proves nothing: your task is to show the reader its relevance as a contributing justification for your argument. It is strongly suggested that you draw up an essay plan before attempting to compose your essay. While it is likely that the plan will change as the essay grows, it will nonetheless give your writing clarity and purpose: i.e., you know at the outset what a particular paragraph is looking to achieve. 3/ Conclusion: The essay’s final paragraph reminds the reader of your argument concerning the research question (= your thesis) and how the essay has established this thesis.
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