phil107 re constructing arguments


Choose one of the claims listed below and take it as the conclusion of an argument. Reconstruct the argument that supports the conclusion you have chosen. Do not merely summarize the author’s beliefs, but instead explain the reasoning behind them: identify a small number of premises and discuss how well-founded they are and how they collectively support the conclusion.

I choose – “We must then have possessed knowledge of the Equal before that time when we first saw equal objects …” (Phaedo 25)

You are not to use any material outside of the assigned readings for this course.


Your paper should be three paragraphs long. The first paragraph should introduce and discuss the argument’s conclusion – i.e., the claim that you have chosen from the above list. The second paragraph should identify the premises – the considerations that support the conclusion. The third paragraph should discuss how the premises support the conclusion. Please do not include extraneous material: don’t write an unnecessary introduction, don’t talk about points in the reading that aren’t directly relevant, etc. You must make use of textual evidence from the assigned readings to support your most important points. You must cite quotations by page number of the assigned text: you may insert the page numbers parenthetically, without any other notations. You do not need a bibliography for the assigned texts. Note that the authors are typically not so kind as to identify specific premises, or even present them close together or in an order that makes sense: you will have to determine what counts as support for their position and how to present it.


This paper must be 500±20 words (i.e., between 480 and 520 words) in length. You will receive a penalty if the length is outside that range. Unless you have been explicitly instructed otherwise by your TA, the following format requirements apply:

– Times New Roman font, 12 pt – One inch margins – Double spaced – Indented paragraphs – Your name on first page, pagination and a header with your name thereafter.

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