1. An expression of your own philosophical belief system by stating a some major claims from it. It would be a huge task to explain and justify your whole belief system. Instead you are being asked here to select some important philosophical claims from your belief system and write about those claims. Remember that you are writing this for an intelligent peer who is not informed about your beliefs or philosophical ideas in general.
2. Select one claim from what you write for part 1 above. That claim is a declarative sentence that makes a statement about the way things are. Your task in this part is to give an argument in support of that claim. Strive to make your argument as clear and as complete as possible. Lay it out in a logical order so that anyone can follow your reasoning.
3. Consider the argument you gave in part 2. The claims of that argument contain concepts (words and phrases). Assume that your reader is not clear on what you have in mind when using these concepts. Your task in this part is to make clear what you mean by providing a definition of the important concepts in your argument. You will have to make a judgement about which concepts to define. Base this judgement on your sense of which concepts are the most central and unique to your belief system and reasoning. (note: a definition here is a form of thoughtful explanation. Dictionary definitions are not sufficient. You need to explain what you mean by a concept and how it fits into your thinking. Explore how a concept in your belief system relates to others -- that is what makes it a system).
4. Consider the four methods of fixing belief proposed by Peirce in The Fixation of Belief. Two of these are: the method of tenacity and the method of authority. Do either of these two methods affect your beliefs and the ways that you hold them? That is, do you see in yourself a tendency to use either of these methods in maintaining your own beliefs? Peirce says that people commonly do use these methods to hold onto their beliefs. Is this true for you in any way?
You are encouraged to treat this as an opportunity to think your beliefs through. It is not expected that you have complete proof and explanation of your belief, here. You must show an attempt to make progress towards those aims.
A Sample Composition is provided to help clarify how the parts of this sort of writing go together.
You will also find useful information for writing this
composition in Writing Philosophy Papers: A Student Guide. This
guide is available from the Oregon State University Bookstore, direct
Publisher, and is now available in an Online
Edition (see the Assertion
Essay portion in particular).
|Making progress towards the aims of stronger support and greater clarity of your own beliefs is a primary objective in InterQuest.|