These reflections must be “proper essays” as opposed to
haphazard class notes or impromptu free associations. Try to be as concise, accurate, and complete as
possible, as well as organized, clear, and grammatical. However, I do not expect these to be final
polished pieces of writing. I expect them to be first stabs at difficult material, but to be serious first
stabs. Each reflection should carefully and clearly address one of the reflection questions for that unit;
however, if you wish to propose your own reflection topic, please discuss this with me first. The
reflection questions I’ve prepared for each unit can be found within the ‘Assignment Schedule’ below.
Each reflection essay will be due on the day of the unit exam by class time (submitted to D2L underneath
the ‘Assessments’ then ‘Assignments’). The purpose of these assignments is to help you make a sincere
attempt to grasp the assigned texts in preparation for the unit exam. You should pretend as if you are
explaining the main thesis, arguments, and conclusions of the text to a fellow philosophy student who is
not in our class. Your aim is to demonstrate that you have done the required reading, that you have
made a serious attempt to understand it, and that you are able to communicate in a reasonably
articulate manner what you have understood. No outside research is required; in fact, outside research
is discouraged for these assignments as it increases the chances of plagiarism.
Formatting Requirements: Each reflection essay must be at minimum (but may be more than) 700 –
750-words which is “two full pages of text” defined as follows: (1) there is no heading whatsoever
besides your name, (2) there is normal, double-spaces between each line of text and each paragraph, (3)
the margins are 1″ with 12-point Times New Roman or comparable font, and (4) your text spills over
onto the 3rd page as opposed to ending before you reach the bottom of the 2nd page. Any essay that
does not meet these conditions will not be accepted.
As long as you make an honest attempt and satisfy the 5 formatting requirements outlined above, you
will receive full credit for these assignments.
What are the three stages of the Method of Doubt? What is the target of each stage? And what limitations does Descartes find for the first two stages within his First Meditation?