Policy on Grading Philosophical Papers



For a paper to get the grade of A (excellent), it must demonstrate that it has satisfied all of the rules and tips for writing a philosophy paper that I gave you. More specifically, it must contain a clearly defined thesis, and a rigorous and sound argument supporting it. The organization must be very good, and there should be very little grammatical and typological errors. In addition, the paper must show some insight and independence of thought.


A B+ paper is something that is "almost there". It should exhibit all of the qualities required for an A paper, but something is there to prevent it from becoming an A paper. Normally those are some small errors in argumentation, organization, or in grammar.


A B paper differs rather markedly from a B+ or an A paper. While those satisfy all the criteria of an excellent paper (except that the B+ paper contains some errors), the B paper lack one or two of those criteria. For example, a well written paper that has good organization, but whose argument is not quite up to standard, will normally get a B. Or a paper which has very good and creative idea, but whose organization or presentation is not quite good, will get a B also.


A C+ paper is, again, just like a B paper, except that it contains even more errors, either in reasoning or in organization, than it.


For a paper to get a C, it has to have some significant errors. Mostly those errors will be on the side of argumentation, in that there is little of it, or it is significantly wrong. Alternatively, the organization may be seriously flawed. For example, if you present the ideas in the paper in such a way that do not follow the rules of good writing. If you present the ideas here and there in the paper, and the main points are scattered around with no clear unity or organization, then, if your ideas are all right to some degree, you have a good chance to get a C.


I really do not want to see any of you get this grade, or any grade lower than this one. For a  paper to get a D+, it must contain more errors than a C paper. For example, if you just write the paper just to finish it and do not care how the ideas, the reasons and the organization of the paper will be. Chances are that you will get a D+, if your ideas are presentable enough.


But, if your ideas are really bland and show that you have not thought through the topic, then you'll get a D.


Well, this is the ultimate, the rock bottom :-) If you don't turn in the paper, you'll get this grade. Understand?

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