R. N. Johnson (johnsonrn at missouri dot edu)
Your critique must be returned to your classmate by the end of class in your discussion labs Friday, October 3. Failure to do so will result in an "F" for the entire assignment.
Be as helpful as you can to your classmate. Offer constructive criticism. If you think your classmate has made a mistake, say so. Don't beat around the bush, don't be namby-pamby in a misguided attempt not to hurt his or her feelings. He or she needs you to tell him or her what's wrong with his or her paper and how it can be improved.
Your critique must be typed up separately. It should be 2 or 3 pages long (about 500-600 words.) Do not write suggestions by hand on your classmate's paper.
In the course of writing your critique, do the following:
á Review the assignment. Review the instructions for writing philosophy papers. Use these as a guide to critique your classmate's paper: Does he or she address the topic? Is she clear? Does she have an argument for a position? And so on.
á Summarize the thesis of the paper. Then summarize the argument for that thesis. If there is no thesis or no argument, be blunt and say so.
á Discuss how effectively and how efficiently the paper directly addresses the assigned topic.
á Raise a serious objection to the central argument of the paper. If you have no objection, you have not understood the paper. Read it again and again until you disagree with something in it. To understand is to disagree. Develop your objection, explain it thoroughly.
á Don't spend much time on grammar, spelling, punctuation. If the paper has such problems, say so in the course of your critique, but don't mark each and every tiny grammatical problem.