First paper assignment

During the term, you will have two short paper assignments.
The first of these will be due Monday, October 4.

The topic of the first paper is: What is the "philosophical enterprise" that the Analects undertakes?

You should approach this topic through the following questions: In what respects does the Analects differ, as a species of thinking, from Western "philosophy" (as we saw it in the Euthyphro)? What sort of knowledge or understanding is important for the Analects and how is such understanding achieved? Do you think the enterprise of Confucianism, as you understand it to this point, is appropriately called "philosophy" — why or why not?

In constructing your answer, choose at least four passages from the text which you think best illustrate the validity of your arguments, and cite them at appropriate points in your discussion (for longer passages, only cite the relevant parts). These passages should be ones which you feel reveal clearly the intellectual enterprise of the text; be sure to indicate clearly why you feel they do. At least two of these citations must come from Books XIII-XX (this odd requirement is supposed to help you focus on parts of the text you may not have read closely before).

Note: The appropriateness of the passages you choose counts. You need to show why you chose the ones you did, stating your reasons clearly — this is a central feature of the paper, and requires that you do some close reading of Analects passages. Make sure that your use of passages focuses on their main point. Don’t interpret passages out of context in ways that the text as a whole clearly does not support. It is useful to find additional passages that relate to yours and cite them by number in a footnote, to indicate that the passages you’re citing reflect the general sense of the Analects.

This is a short paper; no less than three full typed pages, no more than four. To give a thoughtful answer in so brief a space will require you to make your ideas and your statements of them simple and clear.

Form and Grading: Be careful in your organization, syntax, and word choices. A simple set of style guidelines for you to follow is attached. Papers will be graded principally on the basis of the appropriateness and clarity of the ideas they express and the way in which their claims are supported by the textual citations. Errors in form and style (spelling, grammar, and so forth) can detract from the paper grade. However, any student who visits the IU Writing Tutorial Service (WTS) to consult on the composition of the paper will not have his or her grade lowered for technical flaws. The tutorial offices are in Ballantine Hall 206 (5-6738). (Be sure to make an appointment well in advance, and ask the Service to have a memo sent to me confirming your visit.)

Late paper policy: The policy for all paper assignments in this course is that they will be marked down one grade (for example, A to A-) for each weekday they are late.


General Points on Class Papers

Class papers will be graded principally on the content of your ideas and their expression. But composition skills count, and papers that include many errors in basic form, grammar, and spelling will be graded lower. Read this sheet carefully for some points on form and substance.

Mechanics (a few points that seem to give people particular trouble):

1) Agreement in tense. Make sure that you do not switch arbitrarily between past and present tenses (as in: "When Confucius speaks about Tian, he was actually repeating what his mother told him.")

2) Non-English words, except for proper nouns, must be underlined or italicized (use Upper Case [initial caps] for proper names only). For example: ren [or ren], junzi [or junzi], Dao, Tian.

3) Book titles should be underlined or italicized. For example, Analects [or Analects] (note: "the Analects," as a book title, is a singular noun, as in: "The Analects tells us to be good.").

4) Place the following punctuation marks inside quotation marks, even when it feels wrong:

— periods, commas, question marks, exclamation marks (. , ? ! these always go inside).

Place the following outside quotation marks:

— dashes, colons, semi-colons ( — : ; these always go outside).

5) In addition to using a spell checker, proof read carefully for errors involving pairs such as such as: it's/its, there/their, lead/led, principal/principle, etc.

Substance:

6) If you introduce your paper with a major theme, be sure the discussion in the body of the paper reflects that theme.

7) Be sure that individual paragraphs discuss a unified idea. Check to see that the first and last sentences of each paragraph relate clearly to one another. Make sure your sequence of paragraphs makes sense — check carefully to make sure you’re not jumping from idea to idea.

8) When you make a claim that is central to your discussion, cite evidence that will back you up, even if you think your reader already knows the evidence.

9) Citations should be brief, but adequate to make your point. Do not cite long passages in full, but for any but the simplest passages, be sure to indicate in a phrase or two how your citation bears out your point. Always cite precisely the words in the text, using quote marks or indentations, and indicating page number or, for the Analects, Tao te ching, or Mencius, the passage number.

10) If you cite or even paraphrase closely any language that is not your own, be absolutely sure that you follow course policies.

General:

Read the assignment sheet carefully, and as you write, check that you are recalling it accurately. Decide what points you want to make, link them in an organized argument, and check each sentence to be sure that your words convey the point you want to make clearly and simply. Read your paper over (when fully awake!), listening to it carefully for sense.

Special rule: Please spell "Confucius" correctly (not "Confucious").