Phil/Psych 447/673 Essay 2015

Your essay should not have your name on it, just your student number.

Essays (50% of the marks for this course) are due Dec. 8, 4:00 p.m., under the door of HH 368.

Essays should not be longer that 15 pages, typed, double spaced, (4,500 words, including references).

You should consult sources other than the textbook: for pointers, see the references in the textbook. The Encylopedia of Cognitive Science the MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (both in reference at Porter Library) are good places to start.

The penalty for late essays is 10%: if you hand it in after Dec. 8, you lose 10%. Final deadline for acceptance is 4 p.m on Dec. 11, under my door in HH 368. Serious documented illness and family emergency are legitimate reasons for exceptions, but not work load or travel plans.

The penalty for plagiarism (passing another person's work off as your own) is a course grade of F and referral to the Associate Dean.

Essay topics must be approved in advance.

See: How to avoid plagiarism.

Essays will be evaluated on the basis of:

1. Relevance: pose and try to answer an important question concerning cognition and social change.

2. Research: use resources beyond the textbook and class readings.

3. Writing: write intelligibly.

4. Argument: make a compelling case for the answer you prefer, and consider alternative answers. Essays will be graded on the quality of the argument, not on the particular conclusion you reach.

The reference format does not matter, but make sure that you indicate all your sources, including Web sites. This is a research essay so you should use 10-15 sources in addition to the textbooks. Include at least one reference to the textbook.

William Safire's rules for good writing:

No sentence fragments. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read. A writer must not shift your point of view. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed. Write all adverbial forms correct. In their writing, everyone should make sure that their pronouns agree with its antecedent. Use the semicolon properly, use it between complete but related thoughts; and not between an independent clause and a mere phrase. Don't use no double negatives. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: Resist hyperbole. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Avoid commas, that are not necessary. Verbs has to agree with their subjects. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. The passive voice should never be used. Writing carefully, dangling participles should be avoided. Unless you are quoting other people's exclamations, kill all exclamation points!!! Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. Use parallel structure when you write and in speaking. You should just avoid confusing readers with misplaced modifiers. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences-such as those of ten or more words-to their antecedents. Eschew dialect, irregardless. Remember to never split an infinitive. Take the bull by the hand and don't mix metaphors. Don't verb nouns. Always pick on the correct idiom. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'" Never use prepositions to end a sentence with. Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.


Phil/Psych 447/673

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 24, 2015