PHIL 1305:Philosophy and Critical Thinking
Fall 2012, Sections 17 & 18
Second Paper Assignment
Write a 3 page paper (typed, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced) based on the short story ‘Four Days’ by a Russian writer V.M. Garshin (1855-1888).
The story is about a soldier who is badly injured and is lying on the ground in great pain. It portrays the soldier’s thoughts and feelings as he considers the possibility of dying alone.
Please respond to the following set of questions in your paper:
What sort of thinking is the soldier mainly engaged in: meditative or calculative? Does he come to see his past life with a new and deeper understanding? Does his experience during these four days also lead to a transformed outlook towards life? Would meditative thinking come to assume much greater importance in the intense existential context of death?
NOTE: Even though the topic questions are open-ended, your response should reflect that you have pondered deeply on the problems of your topic, by providing a clear, in-depth discussion of the relevant issues. Your paper should make effective use of course reading materials and lectures.
IMPORTANT: Papers that do not provide any citation in the paper will receive a D grade. No late papers will be accepted unless the student provides a documented excuse.
- Only put your name and section number at the top, right corner.
- Do not include a title page.
- Underline your thesis statement.
- Do NOT use any outside sources.
- Citations from the text should be in the format: (Republic, line#), (Heidegger, p.#) or (Garshin, p.#). For lectures, use the format: (lecture, date).
EXPECTATIONS: An excellent (“A”) paper will contain all of the following components.
1) Introduction and Thesis
Your paper will begin with an introduction. It will introduce the topic of the paper by situating it in a larger context in which the questions of the topic have importance and will give a brief description of how you plan to proceed with your discussion. The introduction will contain a thesis that will assert the main argument or the main points that your paper makes. A thesis statement is not simply a statement of the paper’s topic, but rather a sentence that answers the question: What point does this paper make? The thesis must be clear and focused, such that it fully and unambiguously captures the essence of your paper in one or two sentences.
Your paper will end with a conclusion that clearly and succinctly summarizes your inferences. The conclusion is thus a restatement of the thesis. In the conclusion you could also draw further implications based on the ideas that you discussed in the main body of the paper.
3) Structure and Argument
The paper should be clearly written and have a coherent organization. Transitions from one set of ideas or points to another should take place smoothly. Each paragraph must be organized around a single point or an idea. The paragraphs should be organized in such a way that they lead to the paper’s conclusion in a logical manner.
Note that there are important differences between merely asserting a claim and defending a claim with argument. The paper should substantiate an idea with compelling arguments and make careful use of textual evidence to bolster it. Note that the quotations or paraphrases from the texts or lectures must be set in a context and not made to stand on their own. In other words, you need to include your own words to explain any quote or paraphrase in the paper and thus the quotes or paraphrases must be well integrated into your own explanation of the related point. Quotations from the text should not be overused.
4) Grammar and Basic Requirements
The paper should be free of spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors. Use words that precisely convey the sense of what you want to say.
Your paper must meet the basic requirements as specified at the top of the handout and under ‘Instructions.’ Cite quotations and paraphrases properly. This includes providing dates for the lecture material.
Be very careful to avoid plagiarism or any form of academically dishonest behavior.
Start working early on your paper. Editing is probably the most important part of good writing. The best strategy is to get working right away on your paper, finish a draft, and put it away for a few days. Then come back to it, read it with fresh eyes, and edit and rewrite it as necessary. Do this as many times as you can, but at least twice.
Proofread your paper very carefully. Have someone else read your paper (even out loud to you) to help you identify the grammatical errors and also to give you a sense about how clearly and coherently the paper is written.
Consult with someone at the writing center about your paper. The Texas State Writing Center occupies the first floor of the Academic Services Building North (across the breezeway from The Den). The Writing Center’s one-on-one writing instruction is free and open to all Texas State students. You can find more information on the writing center at:
You might also make use of the resources provided by the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC). Check the details at: http://www.txstate.edu/slac/