CRITERIA AND INSTRUCTIONS
Essay #1 – 1500 words. Could you be uploaded onto a computer? – This relates to the question of
determining what we are (personal identity) and whether that personal identity can be uploaded
onto a pc.
Essay #2 – 1500 words. Has science shown us that we have no free will? – First get the notion of free
will on the table, then give some sense of some scientific research that has a bearing on this topic
(Libet’s experiment is one of them- check libet’s book, ch 1 &2) and evaluate whether that work has
shown that we have free will or not. Answer: the experiments don’t demonstrate that. Please refer
to my references for further understanding. You can also look at it in a more general way with the
relationship between determinism and physicalism and whether the development of physical
sciences has shown us that we have no free will.
• Font size 11
• 1.5 space
• Calibri font
• Vancouver style citation.
• Give ONE clear answer to the question right away – 1-2 sentence answer and structure essay around that
• Give a clear central argument that support the answer to the question – why should anyone believe this
answer? It is advised to compare the strongest argument with other less strong ones that you briefly mention
in the essay.
• Make sure the arguments rest on a clear exposition of the positions, text or materials involved
• Don’t include anything that doesn’t help the above – be spare but clear. It’s only 1500 words.
Matters of style
– A philosophy essay is not a poem, novel, dialogue, sermon, meditation, prayer, confession, a numbered series
of abstract points….
– Prioritise clarity over vocabulary
– Use examples/metaphors that are not necessarily complicated
– State things simply, before elaborating and qualifying if necessary.
• Explain technical terms and don’t use technical terms without explaining its meaning
• Use illustrative examples when introducing subtle distinctions.
• Signpost throughout –in the introduction say what you’re going to do in the essay. In the conclusion, say how
you’ve done it.
– Quote sparingly – there’s no need to back up every claim with a quote.
– Use quotation to highlight some part of the text or an issue than you then discuss in detail.
– State a clear thesis early in the paper.
– Defend the claim concerning that thesis.
➢ Don’t begin the introduction with a general opening statement. “The nature of the mind is something
that philosophers have debated for centuries…” Irrelevant and waste of words.
➢ Don’t feel that you need to finalise the introduction before you have written an essay. Sometimes it’s
better to write it at the end, as I will know what my central argument is.
➢ Do briefly tell the reader what the paper is about and what will be argued.
Target audience: a 2
nd year university student like myself that would be able to comprehend the material.
Please refer to the recommended reading documents uploaded.
Extra resources On personal identity
On mind uploading
Extra resources on free will https://philosophyofbrains.com/2019/08/12/1-the-naturalistic-case-for-free-will-thechallenge.aspx
Why cognitive sciences do not prove that free will is an epiphenomenon
CRITERIA AND INSTRUCTIONS