Knowledge Comparisons

TASK
Write an analytical, argumentative essay in which you engage with one of the following statements:

  1. “What is the most important kind of knowledge?”
  2. “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” (Picasso)
  3. “It is often said that experiments should be made without preconceived ideas. That is impossible.” (Henry
    Poincaré)
  4. “Looking into the past, as well as looking into the future, always means looking at the present.”
  5. “Science does not think.“ / „Die Wissenschaft denkt nicht.“ (Heidegger)
  6. “Any progress in knowledge is based on the progress of media.”
  7. “There is no objectivity.”
  8. “Humanities are no longer needed by societies in the 21st Century.”
    You are to develop an argument in this essay in view of the chosen statement. In doing so, you draw on what we
    dealt with throughout the course. Each statement is, therefore, an invitation to engage with the course. The
    essay is, in this respect, intergrative in nature. The task is therefore not to find your own specific (research)
    question nor to engage only with one very limited (e.g. just one session) part of the course. You are asked to
    draw on, use and cite at least 4 sources that we used in the course and at least 4 additional sources. You may
    indicate up to 16 sources, not more. Please include only those sources in your bibliography that you refer to in
    your text.
    FORM
    The essay is to be structured into an introduction, a main part, and a conclusion. The main part should consist of
    distinct sections – preferably between two and five, with each one supporting, and therefore clearly relating to,
    the thesis. In each part, the text unfolds in paragraphs, with each paragraph developing a separate content
    (“point”) that is necessary for the overall argument of the part.
    The essay is argumentative in that it makes a claim, which it substantiates with adequate reasons. Proposing and
    developing an argument, therefore, means to take on a distinctive position. This is different from either merely
    recapitulating what you have read or from simply stating ‘your personal opinion.’ Your claim/ thesis should not
    be simple stated at the beginning and at the end. It should, rather, constitute the ‘thread’ that runs through your
    essay. The essay is analytical in that it builds the argument in a series of successive steps that are clearly and
    explicitly related to each other.
    STYLE AND FORMAL REQUIREMENTS
    The essay is, in its use of language, academic. This means that it is written in clear and concise language, uses
    terms consistently and avoids unnecessary complexity.
    The essay is to be of 2500 to 3000 words long – including references, excluding the title-page and the
    bibliography.
    There is no additional ‘leverage’ of +/- 10%. Essays that are longer or shorter will be taken of one grade (0.3/0.4).
    Please indicate the number of words on the title-page.
    Outline: 11 Font, 1,5 spaced, standard margins.
    The title page is to include: Name of the course; name of the teachers; Semester; essay statement; matricel
    number; date of submission. Not more, not less. Please do not include your name anywhere, as we will ‘blindmark’ the essays.
    For references, please use the APA style (no footnotes!). Information can be found here:
    https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/
    Submission Date: 4 March 2018, 23:59.
    Essays that are handed in late will be deduced 0.3/.04 grades per each 48 hours (so for an essay that is five days
    late this means one entire grade, e.g. from 1.7 to 2.7.
    Please plan accordingly.
    Please save your essay as a pdf file according to the following format: ‘matricelnumber_essay.pdf’, and upload a
    copy in the folder ‘Essay_Folder’ on myStudy. For every 48 hours that the essay is late, one grade interval
    (“Notenstufe”) will be deducted.
    No table of contents is needed.
    Please insert page numbers.
    GUIDING ORIENTATIONS
  9. Argue.
    In this essay you are asked to make your own argument. There is no one correct answer to any of the essay
    statements. As such, these statements should be read carefully and their implications considered. Your response
    will be original to you because it will be the outcome of your thoughtful engagement with the question and the
    material.

  • Take a position: you should include a clear thesis statement (most likely at the end of your introduction).
    This thesis statement is important and will do a great deal of selective and argumentative work in your essay. It
    should relate to the essay statement and provide the “red thread” for your argument.
  • This position is not an opinion but an argument which the essay will set out to establish and prove. An argument
    is distinct from an assertion of opinion.
  • Careful structure and organisation are important facets of argumentation. Think about how you present your
    argument in terms of coherence and clarity. The needs of your argument should provide you with this
    structure, and tell you what to include (and what not!) and where to put it.

  1. Remember your reader.
    As with any kind of writing, this essay has an audience. Your reader doesn’t necessarily agree with your
    assumptions and the aim should be to persuade them, using evidence and a clearly set out argument.

  • The argument should be written in such a way that it is clearly intelligible to your reader. Beyond the obvious
    necessity of writing with clarity, this also requires careful signposting so it is clear how and why the argument is
    unfolding as it is.
  • Select your material according to the necessity of explaining your argument to someone else and persuading
    them to your point of view.

  1. Engage analytically with sources.
    A central component of academic argument is the use it makes of what others have thought and written in
    relation to your selected statement and thesis.

  • You are asked to engage directly with at least six texts from the course and to introduce at least a further
    four from your own wider reading.
  • While journalism and other media would make a welcome addition, these ten core texts should all be
    academic in nature.
    Engagement with sources should never be passive. Instead it should be critical and analytical. Be aware that
    there are always a number of accounts/ views on a certain theme. Some might support your argument, other
    might speak against it. Adding the later can enrich the complexity of your argument.
  • Presentation matters.
    It is important to communicate clearly and make a good impression. This means, allowing enough time to
    proofread your work for avoidable mistakes and following academic conventions in style and citation.
    Your finished essay should be comprehensible, legible, precise, and demonstrate care and diligence in writing.
    EVALUATION CRITERIA
    The essay will be evaluated against the following criteria (please note the weighting).
  • ARGUMENT AND STRUCTURE1
    (45%)

  • Is there an identifiable and comprehensible overall argument that responds to the task set out above?
  • Does the structure of the essay support the argument and succeed in guiding the reader through the argument?
  • Does each point/sub-argument have its appropriate place? Are the parts logically and convincingly linked to
    one another? Are paragraphs of adequate le

  1. SUBSTANCE2
    (40%)

  • Does the text demonstrate an analytical and integrative understanding of the subject matter? Is its choice of
    content adequate to the argument?
  • Are key terms and concepts properly understood and consistently used?
  • Does the text engage a sufficient number of resources (s. task description) and does it use them adequately?

  1. FORM, STYLE, REFERENCING3
    (15%)

  • Precision and adequacy in expression, wording and diction
  • Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Correct and consistent referencing and bibliography

1
In other words: Do you demonstrate your ability to write in the genre of a well-structured, analytical,
argumentative essay?
2
In other words: How well do you understand the subject matter at hand? How nuanced and clear is your
understanding? How well and deeply do you engage with the course?
3
In other words: Did you take care of formal matters?

Sample Solution

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