Applied Philosophy (200XP)

Format: Writing

Many people tend to think that philosophy is an abstract field of knowledge that is not limited by the real world. However, a lot of philosophy deals with the concrete material world. The applied philosophy assignment requires students to apply the theoretical texts we covered this semester to the real world. What can X’s philosophy reveal about the contemporary world? Why is X’s philosophy relevant to today’s problems? In what ways? 

How to get full XP for the assignment:

   1 Pick a philosophical text/idea we covered.

   2 Briefly summarize said philosophical text/idea

   3 Research a contemporary concrete question, event, invention, etc… that is relevant to our world situation – your question can be anything (about the elections, democracy, colonizing mars, designing babies, the nature of beauty, whether anti-vaxxers are reasonable etc….), the only requirement is that it must be relevant to our contemporary life (no questions about the distant future or past).

   4 Explain the context behind your question by utilizing resources like journal or news-paper articles.

   5 Explain how the selected philosophy helps us understand the philosophical elements behind your selected situation. – “How does philosopher “P” help us understand the complicated nature and depth of this question?”


Use the philosophy to argue for a specific answer or solution to your concrete situation – “How does Philosopher “P”, help us conclude that “X””

Close Reading (300XP)

Format: Writing

A close reading is the reverse of a summary. While a summary is a shorter representation of the overall text, a close reading is a larger representation of a specific part of a text. You must do a close reading of a text assigned in class.

Your close reading must:

   1 Select a passage (phrase or paragraph) in a text. The passage must be at the top of the page.

   2 Explain what the passage means by relating it to the main thesis of the text. 

   3 Detail the argument that supports the selected passage.

   4 Explain the importance of the passage and how it fits and operates within the larger text.

   5 Define any key concept of ideas that are either in the passage or needed to explain the passage.

   6 Provide an analysis of the passage.

Nehamas, Alexander. “Meno’s Paradox and Socrates as a Teacher.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, no. 3, 1985, pp. 1–30., doi:10.4324/9780203401552-16. 

In this article, Nehamas discusses the Learner’s paradox found in Plato’s Meno. They specifically are looking to figure out the philosophical importance of Meno’s paradox. While many readers of Plato have posited that Meno is a stubborn character who exists only to provide Plato a platform for his theory of the Forms, Nehamas wants to argue that Meno’s concerns (namely the learner’s paradox) is a truly important and philosophically relevant issue within Plato’s view of Knowledge. If we see Meno’s objection to Socrates as philosophically relevant, then Nehamas argues, “we shall be able to connect this passage with certain other issues, some of which were of considerable importance in Plato’s philosophical thinking.” (Nehamas, 2)

Summary (250XP)

Format: Writing

Straightforwardly speaking, a summary is a shortened version of an original text. Your summary should be at least a full page single spaced and must present every major point and key concept in a text. Your summary should also detail every premise of a philosopher’s argument and explain how they lead to their particular conclusion. Do not stray away from the text or add any information that is not in the text. The point of a summary is to 1) make the text easier to read and 2) make it easier to understand. While summarizing is a kind of copying, it must be an original piece (i.e., you are not allowed to steal from the original text or from other people’s summaries – although quoting is allowed).

Good examples of summaries: 



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Karl Marx 1844 Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 18441 Written: Between April and August 1844; First Published: 1932; Source: Marx. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844; First Published: Progress Publishers, Moscow 1959; Translated: by Martin Milligan from the German text, revised by Dirk J. Struik, contained in Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 3. Corrections were made of typographical errors and the author’s obvious slips when preparing the Russian edition, 1956; Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden; Proofed: and corrected by Matthew Carmody, 2009. Preface ||XXXIX| I have already announced in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher the critique of jurisprudence and political science in the form of a critique of the Hegelian philosophy of law. While preparing it for publication, the intermingling of criticism

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