philosphy

profiledezine2012

Write a 5 page paper on Hobbes’ Leviathan explaining the formation of the state.  A well-written paper will clearly address the following questions, and provide a minimum of at least ten quotes from the text (duly cited with appropriate page numbers in the edition we are using in class) to support and give evidence for the claims you make about what the text says.  These questions are as follows:  How does Hobbes posit the state of nature, and why?  What is the transition from the State of Nature to the Law of Nature?  What makes the Laws of Nature the binding force that Hobbes says they have in the common wealth?

Instructions on Format and Expository Writing

All papers should use proper MLA format for citation, and they should include any and every source you consult.  Your paper should have a head a body and a tail., e.g., it should have a brief, no-nonsense introductory paragraph that contextualizes your analysis, indicating i) what text you are writing about, ii) what you are going to say about it, and iii) how you are going to go about doing it.  Do not speak like an encyclopedia and tell me how great or how important Hobbes was to social contract theory based on something you read online, or in another book!  Just get to the task at hand and do the analysis that answers the prompt. 

 Make sure not to presume special knowledge of the text on the part of your reader, i.e., don’t assume I am familiar with what you are trying to say, give partial and incomplete quotes, or otherwise assume that I will understand your meaning.  You have to fully explain whatever point you are trying to make.  In other words, you have to spell it out as clearly as possible. Accordingly, you should write as if you were writing for a well-informed person who has never read this text.  Ask yourself: what would you need to tell someone if they are to understand what you are trying to say about it?  Make sure you provide enough explanation, and then support your conclusions with frequent quotations from the text. In other words, when you make a point about the text, try to provide a quote to support it whenever possible.  After the quote, you then need to restate what the quote says again as clearly as possible in your own words in a way that advances the analysis, and clearly explains how the author’s argument fits together.  This is what I mean by providing a full explanation. Your job is to explain what the text says.  A successful explanation can only emerge out of a careful study of the text and rumination on its meaning.  The more carefully you study and write about the text the better will be your grade—so after you quote a passage, be sure to restate and spell out what you are saying it means, and make sure this explanation fits with the rest of your argument to provide an accurate account of what the author is saying.

  When you are finished with your analysis, you should provide a conclusion that briefly sums up the argument of your paper.   If you have a personal reaction, or something to say about what you have read and analyzed, this is the place for it.  Otherwise, you should be careful in all expository writing to clearly distinguish your own views from the text you are writing about.  You should not include your own views in the body of the text.   This also means you should avoid using your own metaphors or examples to explain the text.  What you should be doing instead is fully explaining those that are used by the author in the passages that you quote and analyze.  This explanation is what your analysis should consist of.  After having demonstrated that you have grasped the argument of the text in its own terms, if you then want to include your own views, or provide a critique of the arugment, the appropriate place to do so is in the conclusion.  If you have successfully analyzed the text, then your comments and objections will have more weight because you will have first demonstrated that you understand what the text is saying in its own terms.  I say this because in my experience, attempts to provide a critique on the fly, in the middle of the analysis, are often based on misunderstandings of the text, that a more complete analysis would have precluded. 

 

Finally, Italicize or underline titles of works. I have mentioned this several times and too many of you are not doing it.  Any paper that fails to do so will automatically be marked down a letter grade, because it means you did not bother to read this far into the prompt!

 

 

Please reference Hobbs Leviathan chapters 1-5 and chapters 10-20.  Please do not refernce any other source

 

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