The Thematic Synthesis Essay will be based on two of the philosophical works that students have read so far in the course.
The essay should identify and discuss how two philosophers develop a theme presented in the assigned topic (The Ship of Theseus), through use of the philosophical ideas and arguments presented in Modules 3, 4 or 5.
Review Metaphysics: Ship of Theseus from Wikipedia.
Read, research and think about the Ship of Theseus thought exercise. Talk about it with your friends. Hash out all the possible philosophical themes that are addressed or raised.
Then, identify possible Philosophical works that we have read this semester that have addressed a theme present in the ship of Theseus thought exercise. Some examples might be: identity, self, objects through time; immortality of soul; criteria for knowledge; nature of reality; bundle theory; or others.
Next, create a comparison chart to explore how each author develops his/her arguments in support of their respective positions regarding the theme in response to the ship of Theseus.
For example, if you choose Plato and Parmenides and the theme is what is really real, then you might:
Decide whether you agree or not and offer your response. As previously mentioned, students can use the chart as a tool; the information then can be used in the essay. (1)
Introduction: In the first paragraph, identify the titles and authors of the selected philosophy essays and define all philosophical terms you will be using. Also, the opening paragraph must provide a broad, but accurate, synopsis of the Ship of Theseus thought experiment, the two essays, and a clearly defined thesis statement.
Body Paragraphs: When comparing and/or contrasting two pieces, students should strive for an organization that helps the reader establish relationships among the information. Two common methods for comparing and/or contrasting items in an essay are block format and point by point.
Block format allows students to discuss one piece completely before discussing the other piece. The following sample outline provides a general overview of the way in which one could organize the essay with the block method.
The point-by-point method allows the student to move back and forth between two or three arguments being compared and/or contrasted, as in the following sample outline.
The key to using these organizational methods is to be consistent in the ideas presented. For example, with the block format, make sure to discuss Argument elements 1, 2, and 3 for Philosophy piece A and then Argument elements 1, 2, and 3 for Philosophy piece B. In point-by-point format, discuss Argument element 1 for both pieces A and B before moving on to element 2. Another important consideration with both organizational methods is to use transitional words and phrases to help the reader understand connections among the ideas.
Choose the organizational method that supports the essay’s purpose. To give a reader a complete, overall picture of each piece, use the block format. However, to present a number of distinct points from both pieces for the reader to consider individually, use point by point. Regardless of the paper’s organization, present a balanced, objective analysis of both pieces.
Conclusion: The closing paragraph should refer back to the original question posed regarding the Ship of Theseus and the chosen theme for your paper with a concluding phrase addressing your results.
For the writer, the conclusion is the final opportunity to make a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. Keep in mind that a strong conclusion resonates with the reader. Be certain that you present your own response to this question and conclude with a strong summative remark addressing the fact that you have addressed and proven your thesis. (1)