Reflection Paper #2 – Detailed Instructions

1. Logistics

a. There are four Interpretive Papers due in the quarter. The second paper covers Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. Feel free to contact me at any time with questions about your paper.

b. Provide the word count at the bottom of the paper. The paper must be between 500-650 words. There is no reason to exceed the word limit.

c. Upload the paper to bblearn through Turnitin under the designated assignment before the start of class on the due date. No late work will be accepted!

2. How Should I Write a Response Paper?

a. The response paper is conceptualized as an exercise in close reading. The goal of the response paper is to demonstrate a subtle and informed capacity for summarizing a single thinker’s philosophy based on the lectures and readings. Additional sources do not need to be consulted, for this would distract from the main task of executing a very close reading of a particular passage through your own thoughts and in your own words. This is an exercise in explanation and interpretation and you are encouraged to offer your own critique of the philosopher you are working with. Feel free to disagree with and contradict the interpretation I offered in the lecture!

The standard of grading is a well defended or a poorly defended argument. Whenever necessary, be sure to back up your assertion about the text with relevant quotations from the text. You should defend your point of view with evidence drawn from the text, not merely assert your interpretation. The most common flaw in student papers is not engaging closely enough with the text.

3. Descartes Response Paper – Answer the following question:

Descartes offers two proofs for the existence of god, the objective reality proof and the ontological proof. Explain both proofs in detail in your own words. Do you find the proofs persuasive? If not, how would you critique or improve the proofs?