Course Paper, with Suggested Topics

Details Regarding the Course Paper

     A term paper of 10-12 (no more than 14) pages is required for this course. This paper should be both expository and philosophically critical in nature and should reflect a very substantial amount of careful study and thought on the topic selected. Some use of secondary sources is expected though that use need not be extensive.

    For this paper all students must submit (i) a one-page description of the topic selected; (ii) a one- to two-page outline of the argument of the paper.


  1. *Friday 21 April 2017: Required email submission of the proposed paper topic described in one page. Of course, you are most welcome to submit and discuss this with me earlier.

  1. *Wednesday 21 April 2017: Required meeting with me at my office to discuss your topic and the paper during office hours.

  1. *Monday 24 April 2017: Required written email submission of DETAILED outline of course paper in 1-2 pages (no more). Of course, you are most welcome to submit and discuss this with me earlier.

* Wednesday 28 April 2017: Outlines discussed and returned at required meeting at my office.

* 8 May 2017: Course paper due at by 9 pm. No late papers will be accepted. Remember: With the final version of the text of this paper all students must submit

                  (i) a one-page descriptive abstract of the topic selected; and

                  (ii) a one- to two-page outline of the argument of the paper.


Miscellaneous Details

Failure to prepare the paper in accord with these details will result in a significantly lower grade.

Paper Length: Approximately 10-14 pages (ca. 2500-3500 words) typed double-spaced with footnotes and BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ITEMS CONSULTED on additional pages at the end of the paper.

Style: The paper together with its notes and bibliography must be written in accordance with the parameters used by the History of Philosophy Quarterly. For stylistic guidelines, see

Spelling and Grammar: It is presumed that spelling and grammatical errors (such as pseudo-sentences without verbs, etc.) will be discovered and rectified either in the composition of the second draft or in the proofreading of the final version. AFTER THE FIRST THREE MISTAKES OF THIS SORT, 1/2 LETTER GRADE WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE PAPER GRADE FOR EVERY THREE MISSPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL MISTAKE. For example, 9 mistakes will result in the deduction of a full letter grade.

Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the resources of the Norman H. Ott Memorial Writing Center in Raynor Library. See

Paper Topics

     What follows here is a list of approved paper topics. Part of  this assignment is the task of properly delimiting the paper topic. Most of the topics must be carefully delimited if they are to be handled well.  In other words, you must give further definition to the topic before you begin your paper.

     I strongly encourage you to consult me during office hours on your paper topic so that I may provide you assistance in making this paper a fine piece of work of which each of us can be proud.  Note that you are welcome to submit to me drafts of outlines anytime. If you are interested in a topic other than those listed below, see me about it as soon as possible for discussion of the possibility of writing on that topic.  Note however that you must secure my consent before 26 April 2017 (deadline for the course paper outline) so you will have to discuss the matter with me well before that date.

Some possible paper topics:

1 Anselm and Avicenna: Are their arguments for God both ontological arguments?

2 Faith and Reason in Augustine and al-Ghazali

3 Psychology and Prophecy in Avicenna

4 Proving the One in al-Kindi and Avicenna

5 Philosophy and Religion in al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

6 Aquinas and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on Faith and Reason

7 The Nature of the Human Soul in Avicenna and Aquinas

8 The Nature of the Necessity of the Necessary Being in Avicenna

9 Are Aristotle’s teachings on substance in the Categories and in the Metaphysics 7 reconcilable?

10 Aquinas on Theology as a Science.