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Assignment: Thematic Synthesis Essay

Use the above link to access the assignment for this module.

This assingment aligns with Learning Outcomes 1, 4 and 5.

The Thematic Synthesis Essay will be based on two of the philosophical works that students have read so far in the course.

The essay should identify and discuss how two philosophers develop a theme presented in the assigned topic (The Ship of Theseus), through use of the philosophical ideas and arguments presented in Modules 3, 4 or 5.

Directions

Review Metaphysics: Ship of Theseus from Wikipedia.

Read, research and think about the Ship of Theseus thought exercise. Talk about it with your friends. Hash out all the possible philosophical themes that are addressed or raised.

Then, identify possible Philosophical works that we have read this semester that have addressed a theme present in the ship of Theseus thought exercise. Some examples might be: identity, self, objects through time; immortality of soul; criteria for knowledge; nature of reality; bundle theory; or others.

Next, create a comparison chart to explore how each author develops his/her arguments in support of their respective positions regarding the theme in response to the ship of Theseus.

For example, if you choose Plato and Parmenides and the theme is what is really real, then you might:

  1. Outline argument of Plato on nature of reality
  2. Outline argument of Parmenides on nature of reality
  3. According to these authors, analyze and apply these respective approaches to the question: Which is the true ship, and why?
  4. Distinguish whether they differ in their interpretations on this issue enough to be significant to discuss in this paper.

Decide whether you agree or not and offer your response. As previously mentioned, students can use the chart as a tool; the information then can be used in the essay. (1)

Format

Introduction: In the first paragraph, identify the titles and authors of the selected philosophy essays and define all philosophical terms you will be using. Also, the opening paragraph must provide a broad, but accurate, synopsis of the Ship of Theseus thought experiment, the two essays, and a clearly defined thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs: When comparing and/or contrasting two pieces, students should strive for an organization that helps the reader establish relationships among the information. Two common methods for comparing and/or contrasting items in an essay are block format and point by point.

Block format allows students to discuss one piece completely before discussing the other piece. The following sample outline provides a general overview of the way in which one could organize the essay with the block method.

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraphs
    1. Argument: Piece A (block 1)
      1. Evidence element 1
      2. Evidence element 2
      3. Evidence element 3
    2. Argument: Piece B (block 2)
      1. Evidence element 1
      2. Evidence element 2
      3. Evidence element 3
  3. Conclusion

The point-by-point method allows the student to move back and forth between two or three arguments being compared and/or contrasted, as in the following sample outline.

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraphs
    1. Argument element 1 (point 1)
      1. piece A
      2. piece B
    2. Argument element 2 (point 2)
      1. piece A
      2. piece B
    3. Argument element 3 (point 3)
      1. piece A
      2. piece B
  3. Conclusion

The key to using these organizational methods is to be consistent in the ideas presented. For example, with the block format, make sure to discuss Argument elements 1, 2, and 3 for Philosophy piece A and then Argument elements 1, 2, and 3 for Philosophy piece B. In point-by-point format, discuss Argument element 1 for both pieces A and B before moving on to element 2. Another important consideration with both organizational methods is to use transitional words and phrases to help the reader understand connections among the ideas.

Choose the organizational method that supports the essay’s purpose. To give a reader a complete, overall picture of each piece, use the block format. However, to present a number of distinct points from both pieces for the reader to consider individually, use point by point. Regardless of the paper’s organization, present a balanced, objective analysis of both pieces.

Conclusion: The closing paragraph should refer back to the original question posed regarding the Ship of Theseus and the chosen theme for your paper with a concluding phrase addressing your results.

For the writer, the conclusion is the final opportunity to make a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. Keep in mind that a strong conclusion resonates with the reader. Be certain that you present your own response to this question and conclude with a strong summative remark addressing the fact that you have addressed and proven your thesis. (1)

Format Requirements

  • Write 500–600 words, five-paragraph minimum
  • Follow standard MLA style format requirements (1)

Submission

Submit the assignment here as a Word document with the file name LastName_FirstName_Essay2. To submit, choose the Assignment: Critical Analysis Essay link above and use the file attachment feature to browse for and upload your completed document. Remember to choose Submit to complete the submission.

Grading

This assignment is worth 200 points toward your final grade and will be graded using the Essay Rubric. Please use it as a guide toward successful completion of this assignment.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking
  2. Demonstrate understanding of Global Social Responsibility
  3. Recognize the relationships between cultural expressions and their contexts
  4. Understand cultural expressions
  5. Interpret and evaluate cultural artifacts and/or their contexts for significance
  6. Recognize concepts in metaphysics, axiology, and epistemology and the context of their development
  7. Comprehend the scope of philosophic inquiry and how beliefs are formed and justified especially within a particular cultural construct
  8. Understand the principles of freedom, determinism and moral responsibility in human interaction

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module the student will be able to:

  • Define ontology and describe its related classifications in the history of ideas
  • Contrast Materialism from Idealism; Define and compare Monism, Dualism, and Pluralism
  • State the difference between a human person and a human being
  • Define Atman
  • Distinguish the ego theory of the self from the bundle theory
  • Explain the mind/body problem(1)

Readings and Resources

Supplemental Materials

(Note: These materials are considered supplemental and thus are not used for assessment purposes.)

Lecture Content

Click the icon to access lecture content.

Learning Unit 5