21L.448J | Fall 2010 | Undergraduate
Darwin and Design

Assignments

The class will place extra emphasis on writing and speaking. There will be 3 papers: two 5-page, and one 10-page. You will be asked to revise the 10 page paper. Suggested topics for writing are given below. Late papers will be penalized unless extensions are granted in advance of the paper deadline.

Use the following format for your papers:

  1. Type the paper in 12-point font.
  2. Use 1-inch margins.
  3. Double-space your text.
  4. Give each paper a title (no cover page).
  5. Number the pages and staple them together.
  6. Place your name, assignment number, and the date in the upper right-hand corner of the first page. If the paper is a revised version of a previously submitted paper, type “revision”.
  7. Use footnotes, following the Chicago Style, to identify author, title, journal or publisher, and so on for each quotation, idea, or visual illustration you take from a source. (See Lunsford, Pocket Style Manual, 3rd ed., for footnoting conventions). Do not include a bibliography.
  8. Structure each paper with an introduction that includes a specific thesis and a body that develops in support of your thesis (See Lunsford).

Revisions of paper 3 should be accompanied by the initial draft and should include a paragraph describing the changes you’ve made as you revised. You will be graded on both drafts. If the two drafts are less than a full grade apart, the higher grade will stand (eg. B and A- would be A-). If they are a full grade or more apart, the higher grade will be dropped by a third of a grade (eg. B- and A- would be B+).

Writing Assignments

Essay 1 Due Ses #7

Topics for First Paper

Your first 5-page paper is due Ses #7, (250–300 words / page). The paper should be double spaced and printed. It should have a title and clear thesis. For details about format, see p. 2, above.

  • Use an accurate, specific title.
  • Work out a clear thesis to develop or issue to discuss.
  • Use at least 4 quotations from works we’ve read in class.
  • Use outside sources.
  • Footnote sources in the Chicago Manual style (See Lunsford)

The topics below are meant to be suggestive. You may modify them or invent a topic of your own. Deal with issues relevant both to the text and to the subject matter of our discussions in class.

Please remember that you are writing an essay, not a book-report. An essay should furnish some reminder of the books contents in the context of an argument about those contents. The evidence you use to back up your arguments should be quotations from the works you have read.

Topics:

  1. In Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey, nature is imagined as being in a deeply sympathetic bond with the poet, and, by extension, all sensitive individuals. But, in Candide, Nature is destructive and unyielding. Comparing and contrasting specific elements in the two works, decide whose version of nature you feel is most authentic or natural. See also (5.5) on “naturalism.”
  2. Examine the idea of intelligent design in the context of Frost’s and Wordsworth’s two poems, Aristotle’s Physics, and Hume’s Dialogues. (esp. the 4 circumstances of evil). See also (6.1, and 7.3).
  3. Examine and compare the satirical voices in a selection of characters from Candide, the Dialogues, and Alice, and develop an argument about the role of satire in challenging the norms and conventions of orthodox views. You may wish to review (4.4) on satire.
  4. After exploring Aristotle’s reasons for claiming that nature is telic, evaluate how well Alice in Wonderland and Candide demonstrate worlds in which nature is telic. See also (3.10) on teleology).
  5. Compare Alice and Candide as books about education and develop a thesis about the role and effectiveness of education in human adaptation to the social and natural environment. Discuss the role and status of learning in the two works.
  6. A theodicy is an argument confronting the view that evil exists with the view that the universe was created by an omnipotent, benevolent deity. Develop a thesis that compares the theodicy of Wordsworth with the views of the Turkish philosopher at the end of Candide and the argument of Cleanthes about the great machine of the universe.
  7. Develop a thesis about the relative merits of Cleanthes’ machine and Philo’s vegetative world model in the context of some general idea such as the anthropic principle, naturalism, teleology or adaptationism. (See, for example, 4.6, 5.5, and 7.8).

Essay 2 Due Ses #15

Topics for Second Paper

Your second 5-page paper is due Ses #15 and should be 5 typed pages (figure 250–300 words / page). The following topics are meant to be suggestive. Feel free to modify them or to invent a topic and thesis of your own. The object of your paper should be to discuss one or more of the texts we have read so far this term. Your paper should deal with issues centrally relevant both to the text and to the subject matter of our discussions in class.

Please remember that you are writing an essay, not a book-report. An essay should furnish some reminder of the books contents in the context of an argument about those contents. The evidence you use to back up your arguments should be quotations from the works you have read.

  • Use an accurate, specific title.
  • Work out a clear thesis to develop or issue to discuss.
  • Use at least 4 quotations from works we’ve read in class.
  • Use outside sources.
  • Footnote sources in the Chicago Manual style (See Lunsford)

Essay 3 Draft due Ses #22; final version due Ses #26

Topics for Third Paper

Your third paper is due in Ses #22 in draft and should be 10 typed pages (figure 250–300 words / page). The following topics and questions are meant to be suggestive. Feel free to modify them or to invent a topic of your own.

This is a research paper that should incorporate both your own readings in this class and at least two outside sources.

  1. When handing in your first draft, please include a cover sheet with a thesis statement and an outline (See Lunsford, for information on outlines)
  2. Your paper should include at least 10 quotations from texts we’ve read in class, at least 2 additional outside sources, and it should use accurate footnoting technique in the style of the Chicago Manual (See Lunsford)
  3. For further details about format, see p. 2, above.
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Fall 2010
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assignment Written Assignments