Analytical Essay

I. Prompt

Choose one of the following topics. Read the source, answer (a) and (b) based by referring to the source and citing it. Explain the author’s view clearly and completely. Then answer part (c). When explaining your view, make sure to appeal to reasons that everyone can understand and accept. Do not merely state your own opinions or beliefs. Whether you state the views that hold in real life or not does not matter–just give me a persuasive and plausible answer.

  1. Mackie, J. L. (1955). Evil and omnipotence. Mind, 64(254), 200-212.

Retrieved from

http://www.ditext.com/mackie/evil.html

a. Explain what the argument from evil is.

b. John Mackie discusses a number of common objections to the argument from evil. Explain what one of them is, and explain why John Mackie thinks this objection is not successful.

c. Explain why you think John Mackie is right or why you think he is wrong about what he says in (b).

  1. Van Inwagen, Peter. (1988). The magnitude, duration, and distribution of evil: A theodicy. Philosophical Topics, 16(2), 161-187.

Retrieved from

http://andrewmbailey.com/pvi/Magnitude_Duration_Distribution.pdf

a. Explain Peter Van Inwagen’s theodicy.

b. Explain one of the objections to his theodicy that Peter Van Inwagen discusses, and explain how Peter Van Inwagen responds to this objection.

c. Explain why you think Peter Van Inwagen’s response in (b) is adequate or inadequate.

  1. James, William. (1917). The varieties of religious experience. New York: Longman, Green, and Co.

Retrieved from

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/621/621-h/621-h.html#toc23

a. Explain what William James says a mystical state of consciousness is.

b. Explain what William James says about whether mystical state of consciousness are authoritative over the person who has them andwhether someone should accept what another person says about his or her mystical state of consciousness uncritically. Explain why he thinks both of these things.

c. Explain why you think what William James says in (b) is right or why you think it is wrong.

4. Alston, William P. (1982). Religious experience and religious belief. Noûs,16, 3-12.

Available here:

Alston_Religious experience and religious belief.pdf

a. Explain in what way William Alston says religious experience provides justification for religious belief.

b. Explain why William Alston thinks that religious experience provides justification for religious belief in the way described in (a).

c. Explain why you think what William Alston says in (b) is right or why you think it is wrong.

II. Format

The body of your paper should be at least three pages and no longer than four pages (that is, not including your cover page or works cited page). Your paper should be typed in 12-point Times New Roman font with double spacing between lines, no extra spacing between paragraphs, and one-inch margins on left, right, top, and bottom.

III. Grading Rubric

Thesis (15%)

Exemplary: The paper contains a thesis statement which is clear, follows the prompt, and is the first sentence of the paper.

Proficient: The thesis statement does not follow the prompt or is unclear.

Satisfactory: The thesis statement neither follows the prompt nor is clear.

Basic: The thesis statement is not at the beginning of the paper.

Unsatisfactory: The paper contains no thesis statement.

Content (45%)

Part (a) (15%)

5 The answer is both clear and correct.

4 The answer is clear but not correct.

3 The answer is neither correct nor clear, but is still is not too far off.

2 The answer is way off.

1 No answer is given.

Part (b) (15%)

5 The answer is both clear and correct.

4 The answer is clear but not correct.

3 The answer is neither correct nor clear, but is still is not too far off.

2 The answer is way off.

1 No answer is given.

Part (c) (15%)

5 The answer is both clear and correct.

4 The answer is clear but not correct.

3 The answer is neither correct nor clear, but is still is not too far off.

2 The answer is way off.

1 No answer is given.

Support (20%)

Exemplary: Answers to (a) and (b) are supported by citations from Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” Van Inwagen’s “Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy,” James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, or Alston’s “Religious experience and religious belief.”

Proficient: A few statements in the answers to (a) and (b) are not supported by citations Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” Van Inwagen’s “Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy,” James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, or Alston’s “Religious experience and religious belief.”

Satisfactory: Several statements in the answers to (a) and (b) are not supported by citations from Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” Van Inwagen’s “Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy,” James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, or Alston’s “Religious experience and religious belief.”

Basic: Most statements in the answers to (a) and (b) are not supported by citations from Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” Van Inwagen’s “Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy,” James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, or Alston’s “Religious experience and religious belief.”

Unsatisfactory: No statements in the answers to (a) and (b) are supported by citations from Mackie’s “Evil and Omnipotence,” Van Inwagen’s “Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy,” James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, or Alston’s “Religious experience and religious belief.”

Spelling, grammar, and word choice (10%)

Exemplary: The paper contains no errors or only a few trivial errors.

Proficient: The paper is understandable but contains minor errors.

Satisfactory: The paper is understandable but contains multiple serious errors.

Basic: The errors make at least one sentence of the paper incomprehensible.

Unsatisfactory: The errors make more than one sentence of the paper incomprehensible.

In-text citations and Works Cited page (10%)

Exemplary: In-text citations and citations on the works cited page are in conformity with APA style.

Proficient: In-text citations and citations on the works cited page deviate from APA style in at least one way.

Satisfactory: In-text citations and citations on the works cited page deviate from APA style in at least two ways.

Basic: There are citations in the text but no works cited page, or there is a works cited page but there are no citations in the text.

Unsatisfactory: There are no citations in the text and there is no works cited page.

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