Final Paper, Parts I and II

The Final Paper is composed of two parts: Part I compares/contrasts your two philosophers and Part II takes building blocks from what you have learned to begin your own philosophizing. Follow the instructions for each carefully.
PART I – YOUR COMPARE/CONTRAST, 5 pages minimum, double-spaced
Compare/contrast one of our rationalists to Nietzsche, using either the block or the point-by-point method. For help with each, see the resource, “How to Approach Compare/Contrast Papers”. Regarding “the rationalists”, choose either Descartes or Plato, one or the other, to compare to Nietzsche. Your Synthesis Paper work was designed to help you with this part of the Final Paper. For further support, see the “Final Paper Help Sheet.”
Getting started: the following questions are designed to help you think about what “path” of re-telling the “story” presented in the course material might interest you. These are NOT the questions to answer in your paper.
To develop Part I of your paper, ask yourself:
How does each view metaphysics? How does each view epistemology?
What is their attitude toward objective knowledge? Toward subjective knowledge? Toward truth?
How do they support their “stories”? What are their key concepts and key tools (methods and techniques)?
How do those concepts link together to create their views? How do their tools help them arrive at their perspectives?
What are each of their philosophical assumptions, including their models and frameworks? (See Nietzsche Help Sheets for the tradition’s framework versus Nietzsche’s.)
How would you explain the “whole” of each philosopher’s metaphysics and the “whole” of each philosopher’s epistemology using key terms to “wed” the story together?
From all the information that you gather in answering the questions, along with the work done on your Synthesis Paper Assignment, craft a compelling “story” that compares/contrasts Nietzsche and your chosen rationalist. Do not merely “spew” all you know about each “side”. The information must be organized to resonate together as shown in the example in the Final Paper Help Sheet.
The information as a whole must be building toward demonstrating a greater cohesive comprehension. You do not need to use all the KEY TERMS, but make your selections artfully to help you tell the “story” of these philosophies that most interests you.
Other considerations for Part I
I am not going to require that you reference your knowledge. This places more responsibility on you to express yourself clearly when explaining our philosophers’ views. If it strikes me as “off”, I have no recourse to understand how you might have gotten that interpretation.
If, at certain moments, you would like to ensure that I have that chance, follow the instructions below for referencing: in the body of your paper, make clear the author you are drawing from, and then follow the direct or indirect quote with the page number in parentheses.
Indirect quote examples:
According to Nietzsche, we prefer explanations that are effective at soothing our fears. He also notes that explanations that have been effective in the past can come to be “habituated”: these explanations become our blind habits of perception, shaping our experience of reality without our knowing (62).
To quote course resources, you can write, “As found in the Nietzsche Help Sheets . . .”
Or, you can simply abbreviate it in parentheses at the end: (NHS). Same for the lectures: (L-08).
Direct quote example:
Descartes struggles to guarantee his own existence. He must omit evidence of the senses since they present inaccurate information from time to time. He also considers that there might be an “evil” force making him think he exists when he does not. In this quandary, however, he stumbles upon a “foot-hold” so to speak. He writes, “But [perhaps] there is some deceiver or other who is supremely powerful and supremely sly and who is always deliberately deceiving me. Then too there is no doubt that I exist, if he is deceiving me” (18). Descartes realizes that he cannot disprove his existence with the notion that he is being deceived into thinking he exists. If he is being deceived, then he necessarily exists, at least as something that can be deceived.
If you’re struggling to meet the page requirements, using direct quotes to demonstrate your interpretation of a philosopher is a great way to extend your paper. They are much, much better than adding “fluff”; they strengthen your paper, rather than weaken it. But it is important to NOT merely “staple” quotes into the paper; instead, you must provide context to the quote, and an explanation following the quote.
PART II – BUILDING BLOCKS FOR YOUR INQUIRY, 4 pages minimum, double spaced
In this portion of the paper, you are pulling building blocks from your work in Part I to do your own philosophizing.
Getting started: the following questions are designed to help you think about what cohesive story of your philosophy, specifically theories of metaphysics and epistemology, you can put together for yourself. These are NOT the questions to answer in your paper.
To develop Part II of your paper, ask yourself:
Which aspects of our study caught your attention most?
What value do metaphysical and epistemological investigations have? How can they enhance our lives?
What model do your preferred beliefs assume? (Teleological, Eternal Return, or one of your own making?)
What is your take on objective knowledge (rational and empirical) and subjective knowledge?
For your own “philosophy”, what key concepts and tools do you borrow from the rationalists? What do you borrow from Nietzsche?
What might your “framework” look like compared to the tradition’s and to Nietzsche’s? (Being, Ideals and Death as enlightenment [tradition’s]; Becoming, Difference-itself and Life as information [Nietzsche’s])
What assumptions do you hold about reality? The human creature? About mind? About truth? About knowledge? Use specific terminology (examples: materialism; idealism; Cartesian dualism or the mind-body split; non-composite; and so on).
How have your views grown throughout the term? Since perspectives can change and evolve, I’m hoping that there have been some shifts in thinking for you throughout this term. If so, include them here.
How would you tell a connective “story” about your philosophical views? Do not just spew bits of facts; make them work together to present a cohesive “whole”.
Here, you are also free to reorganize and rearrange the definitions of the philosophical terms and the frameworks we’ve studied, to join concepts that previously seemed opposed and to add components. But how you do so must be demonstrated against the backdrop of what you’ve learned from our readings and course resources. In other words, show how you get from “their concepts” to “your concepts”.
In Part II of the paper, create a perspective of epistemology and metaphysics that is unique to you, but using the work of our studied philosophers as your basis. You have a great deal of creative license here, if you can show your comprehension well in Part I, but above all, your own “philosophy” must be cohesive, it must flow together, rather than sound fragmented and isolated in its parts. It must “culminate” by creating a well-linked “whole” that shows both you and me the organization of your philosophical thinking.