Instead of having a traditional final exam, this year you will need to complete a final project. Your final project will be a paper approximately 1200-1800 words. In the final project you will do the following:
First, you will identify an important figure in your field of study, that you could take on as a “mentor”. For example, if you are a PPE student, you might choose a famous political figure like Robert Schuman or Ronald Reagan; or you might choose an important political theorist, like John Rawls or Karl Marx, or you might choose an important economist such as Von Mises or Keynes. If you are a design or architect student you might choose Le Corbusier, or Frank Lloyd Wright, or Antoni Gaudi, or Jonathan Ive. If you are a literature student you might choose a particular author: e.g. Cervantes or Tolstoy; or you might choose a particular literary critic, e.g. Northrop Frye or Harold Bloom. You must also identify a biography (i.e., a book about the life of your mentor) that you have access to.
The first stage of your final project should be completed by April 6th. On that day, I will expect you to e-mail me the name of your mentor and the biography on them. (I should mention now, if for reasons of displacement you need more time to complete any stage of the project please let me know, and I will do my best to accommodate you.).
The second stage of your final project involves writing a paper in which you do the following things.
1.) You will briefly resume the life and career of your mentor, focusing on their successes and failures in their field.
2.) You will then (using your biography as your source) answer at least two of the following questions.
Does your mentor believe that human beings are special in virtue of being human beings? Does your mentor believe that human beings have free-will, or are morally responsible? What ultimately motivates human beings according to your author? Does your author believe that human beings create values, or does your mentor believe that there are objective values to which human beings must respond? Does your mentor believe that it is up to us to put meaning into our lives or does your mentor believe that the meaning of life is something to be discovered? Does your mentor believe that there is a spiritual dimension to life?
In answering these questions, you must give evidence for your answer from the biography you have read. Sometimes, you will be able to point to what your mentor has stated, but you will often need to infer your mentor’s beliefs from their actions.
3.) Finally, you will explain how your mentor’s answers to these questions positively or negatively affected their career.
This second stage of the project will be due May 2nd.
The rubric for your project is as follows.
The paper will be graded on a 10 point scale.
2 points will be awarded on how well you summarize the life and career of your mentor. After reading your summary, I should understand who your mentor is, what time they lived and worked in, and why they are important figures in your field of study. Furthermore, I should understand what are their biggest successes, and what were their biggest failures.
4 points will be awarded on the convincingness of your paper. When you answer your chosen questions, you will need to give proof from the biography that you have read that your answers are correct. E.g., if you claim that your mentor e.g. believed that people were not free or morally responsible individuals but instead were highly complicated machines whose actions were determined by their parts, you need to cite information from your biography that supports your claim.
E.g. “It is clear that Mr. X rejected the idea that human beings were free individuals. As he is quoted on page 283 of his biography, ”Human beings are no more free than any other animal…”.
Likewise, when you explain how your mentor’s answers to these questions impacted their career for better or for worse, you must give evidence that your explanation is correct.
The remaining 4 points will be awarded on the style of the paper.
In particular you will be graded on the following.
1.) You have a unified paper. Your paper has a clear purpose, and every paragraph contributes to achieving this purpose.
2.) You have unified paragraphs. Each paragraph has a clear main idea.
Every sentence either clarifies or gives reasons for believing the main idea.
3.) You have well-written sentences. Your sentences are easy to read. (They don’t have overly complicated grammatical structure, or use bizarre vocabulary). You have omitted needless words. You have used precise language, saying what you mean to say and not something else
The details of the inquiry are as written above