Ways of Knowing
Assignment : The Synthesis Paper - Second Time
the last part together
We are aiming at
a second one to two page paper for the last
week of the class which will synthesize the works of
at least three of the authors we have read in the final weeks.
These authors include:
- Kerns' Lectures : Epistemology,
Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant
- Frayn's Copenhagen
- Wilson's The Piano Lesson
- Abbott's Flatland
- Huston Smith: Forgotten
- Underhill's Mysticism
Again - an impressive list
We want you again, to make an
between at least three
of these works (a thesis) which you will be able to prove in supporting
paragraphs and tie together in a conclusion. These connections may be similarities, differences, or discussions of how
fictional characters in these assigned readings exemplify theories espoused by our other
Let's work on this in steps so that you have
a manageable task.
- The first
due on Sunday June 3rd by 6PM
is the posting of
your thesis paragraph. You will
post into a folder for the group to which you have been assigned.
Groups are identified by numbers. You will find your group listed below
(to be posted soon). In that paragraph, you will state
your argument (the conclusion you hope to prove) and the works
which will be used to prove it. Remember this is a work in progress.
You may revise and revise. This is the reason for the early start.
- For the following Monday,
June 5th you will have posted responses to your group's
thesis paragraphs, helping your group members evaluate the quality
and provability of their theses. These will be read by you and
- By Wednesday evening
June 6th you will post your full first draft of the
two page paper.
- Before Friday
June 9th, by
midnight, feedback to your group is to be
- Then by Tuesday
June 12th, 12 noon, the
final draft of your paper, including revisions, should be posted
to your instructor's papers folder. The paper should be clearly
labeled "Final Draft." Reading assignments and discussion questions
this week are minimal.
It would probably be a good idea to put these
dates on your calendar just to remind yourself of when each step is
You will be randomly assigned to groups of three and four.
You are all expected to read all the papers in your own group folder
comment. Please make sure you do this as early and expeditiously as possible
so that your group members can read your comments and can decide what
accept and rewrite based on your suggestions. Please do not wait for
the last minute. You are, of course, free to read anyone else's paper
other group. Reading comments on others' papers can be very helpful.
Your group assignment will be posted soon.
- What should I comment
on in these drafts?
We know that nobody is an expert and of course
it is up to the writer to accept or reject your respectful suggestions.
remember to keep your criticisms about the work only -- therefore they
should not be taken personally by anyone.
- You are looking
for the following things:
- Is the thesis clear? Limited
to something provable? Concerned with the works we have read rather than
with the world at large? Is it arguable?
- Do I understand what each
paragraph is saying?
- Does each paragraph relate
back to the thesis of the paper or is it not really relevant? (remember
- a short paper cannot tell the reader everything you know about the pieces
studied; if you try to do that you will go way afield of the case you
are trying to make).
- Can I follow the reasoning
easily? Are there transitions from one paragraph to the next which help
me to understand where the writer is going?
- Are the mechanics good: spelling,
grammar, citations, sentence construction?
- Is there a conclusion? Does
the conclusion follow from the proof used in the paper and is it directly
tied to the proposed argument (thesis) in paragraph one? Am I convinced?
This may seem complicated,
however, it is really the same set of standards and the same principles
in the paragraphs you have already written.
Feel free to solicit
help from your seminar group
or from the full class. You should be
looking for the same structure in the two page paper as you have in a
successful single thesis paragraph. You will need a well explained argument
in paragraph one. Some papers will need to define certain terms or portions
of the argument more fully in a second paragraph. There should be at least
one paragraph of support for each author you are citing, and each of those
paragraphs should include quotes (with proper citation form) and your
explication (explanation in your own words of exactly what those quotes
mean) as well as a statement or reference to show how that quotation supports
your thesis statement (from paragraph one).
Remember that your reader will have read
the same works you've read so you need not explain the totality of
each piece is. But your reader cannot read your mind and needs to be
taken carefully and clearly down the road of your argument. Don't
your reader agrees with you about your thesis, about the meaning of what
your quoted evidence are saying, or that s/he knows what you mean.
Each of these steps must be explained.
Ask others to read
and comment on the clarity of your argument as well as its validity.
is not cheating -- it's working.