essays

One of the basic skills of any research is to be able to clarify the position presented by others and
then identify the weak points that can be criticized and left out and the strong points that can be
used to develop one’s own position. This is common for philosophy but also in research in other
disciplines. Frankfurt does this for the first half (two parts) of his essay. For this assignment, you
will use Frankfurt’s article and complete a short paper (500-750, 2-3 page double spaced) that
engages in this type of literary review. You will need to complete three parts in the paper. One is
to explain what Frankfurt claims and defends bullshit to be. This will need to included the vital
elements of his conception. You will need to critique his conception to explain what elements are
problematic and why they are problematic and should, therefore, be left out of any attempt to
define bullshit. Finally, you will need to explain the elements you think should be kept from
Frankfurt’s conception if one is to move forward with his/her own attempt to define bullshit.
In your essay, be sure you address the following points:
1. Explain Frankfurt’s conception of bullshit
2. Identify which elements of Frankfurt’s conception you find problematic and clarify
why this is the case
3. Explicate what elements of Frankfurt’s conception should be retained

Essay Rubric
Issue
Accurate and insightful analysis
of the issue of the article; vital for
clarifying the issue being
addressed.

0
No attempt to
clarify the issue.

1
The analysis of
the issue is
inaccurate.

2
Discusses the issue
but is superficial or
misses vital
elements or has
inaccuracies.

3
The analysis is
accurate and
identifies vital
issue but has not
fully, clearly
clarified the issue.

4
A clear and
accurate
explanation of the
issue being
addressed.

Position
Clear, concise statement of the
position presented in the paper;
crucial for making clear what the
justification is attempting to
support.

0
Position is not
stated.

1
Position offered
is not related to
the issue of the
question.

2
Position is
presented but is
unclear.

3
Position is clearly
related to the topic
but is ambiguous
or has elements
that are unclear.

4
Clear, direct
statement of the
position being
advocated in the
paper.

Reasons Offered
Clear explanation of the reasons
(premises) offered to support the
position taken in the easy; crucial
for developing an argument to
justify position.

0
No
reasons/premise
s presented.

1
Reasons are
identified but are
unrelated to the
position.

2
Relevant reasons
are presented but
they are not clearly
stated.

3
Relevant reasons
are clearly but
they are not
explained.

4
Reasons are
relevant and
clearly explained.

Justification of Position
Clearly explained rationality of
why the premises support the
conclusion; fundamental element
of writing philosophy papers.

0
No relevant
argument for
justifying the
position is
presented.

1
A weak
argument that
includes
questionable
claims and/or
flawed
reasoning.

2
Argument merely
lists premises/
reasons but there is
little and/or no
attempt to clarify the
reasoning.

3
Argument includes
well-clarified
premises/
reasons and
presents a line of
reasoning but
does not clarify all
vital points.

4
A clearly stated
and welldeveloped
argument that
justifies the
position is
presented.

Criticism
Identification of a problem with
the position (problematic
assumptions, implications and/or
questionable claims) and
clarification why it arises; being
able to recognize criticisms
provides insights into
philosophical positions.

0
No criticism is
identified.

1
A criticism is
presented, but it
is unclearly
stated and does
not identify the
problem or why
it is problematic
for the position.

2
A clear criticism is
presented but there
is no explanation of
the problem it
identifies or why it is
problematic.

3
The criticism is
well-stated but the
clarification of the
problem identified
is not clearly
articulated.

4
A well-articulated
criticism that
clearly explains
how and why the
problem arises.

Response
Response to the criticism that
attempts to show why the
criticism is unjustified or can be
overcome; anticipating and
responding to criticisms shows
reflective insight into
philosophical positions.

0
No response is
offered

1
A response is
offered but it is
unclear or not
relevant to the
criticism.

2
A clear response is
presented with no
explanation of how it
addresses the
criticism.

3
A clear response
is presented, but it
is not clear how it
addresses the
criticism.

4
A clear response
that directly
addresses the
criticism is
presented.

Integration of Sources
The essay must integrate ideas
and material from the required
sources; this is crucial to
demonstrate understanding and
support one’s argument.

0
No sources are
integrated into
the essay.

1
Only one source
is accurately
integrate or two
are inaccurately
presented.

2
Only two sources
are accurately
integrate or three
are inaccurately
presented.

3
Two sources are
accurately
integrate but the
third is
inaccurately
presented.

4
All sources are
accurately
integrated into the
essay.

Grammar
Writing adheres to the
grammatical standards (including
spelling, punctuation, and
references) expected of
academic writing; ensures clarity
of ideas and provides required
documentation for the ideas of
others.

0
Commits an
excessive
number of errors
(4 or more) on
each page;
these affect the
meaning of
sentences.

1
Frequent errors
throughout the
paper (3-4/page)
with many
resulting in
misinterpretation
of ideas.

2
Regular errors (23/page) throughout
the paper that result
in misinterpretation
of ideas.

3
Few errors (01/page)
throughout the
paper, but the
errors result in
occasional
misinterpretation
of ideas.

4
Very few errors (01/page) and they
are infrequent.

The grade for the essay assignment will be determined by adding the scores for each element and
dividing the total by 8.

NOTE: Any form of plagiarism will result in a grade of zero (0) for an
assignment for a first offense.

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