First Paper


  1. Please write a five-page paper in response to ONE of the topics below. The text should be double-spaced. Do not skip extra spaces between paragraphs. A hard-copy version of the paper is due Ses #5.
  2. Your paper must be computer-processed. Please give your paper a title, and write your name on the back of the last page. Do not write your name elsewhere on the paper. All pages should be numbered. Refer to the editing handout, posted on the website, for further editing suggestions. You may also consult with tutors at the Writing Center or with me about your paper.
  3. Citations to texts read in this course should be made in parentheses in your paper. For example, if you refer to a passage on page 13 of Descartes’ Discourse, indicate this in the following manner at the end of your sentence, after the period: (Descartes, 13). Full citations to any work not assigned in class should be made in footnote or endnote form, but for this paper you do not need to consult any outside readings.


  1. Why were people in the town of Dole and the surrounding Franche-Comté prepared to believe that Huguette Roy was repeatedly visited by the spirit of Leonarde Colin in 1628? [N.B. The more you site specific examples from the seventeenth-century account of the events, the more compelling your argument will be.]
  2. It is the early 1640s; imagine you are René Descartes. Someone sends you a manuscript copy detailing a curious ghost story entitled “The Apparition of a Spirit;” the incident in question supposedly happened in a town in the Franche-Comté in 1628. Write an essay intended for general circulation or a letter to an acquaintance in which you critique the way the clerical figures in the story examined Huguette Roy, then explain how you would have investigated the events described in the manuscript. Your critique of the clerics and your proposals for investigating the events should be consistent with Cartesian epistemology as expressed in the Discourse on Method.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2011