Philosophy of Religion (Summer I 2012) - Warm Up Paper

The Philosophy of Religion [God(s)] - Warm Up Paper

*Before you begin writing, read this entire document.

Purpose: This is a low stakes warm up paper. It's largely a stylistic exercise, designed to give you a better sense of the kind of clear, analytic writing I'm looking for. I do not expect to correct for content. The paper is worth up to 5 bonus points on your final grade.

Answer question 1.

1. Evaluate the The Paradox of the Stone Objection to the Thomistic Account of Omnipotence (TAO).

(This question requires evaluation. You'll need to explain the TAO. Then explain the The Paradox of the Stone. Show how it can be used in an argument against TAO. Finally, consider a reply or show how no good reply is forthcoming.)

Note: Keep quotations to an absolute minimum. Never use a quotation to speak for you. The only quotations in your exam should be of formalizations.

Due Date

Thursday 5/24/2012


The paper should be no more than 600 words. This is approximately 2 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font.


The paper must be typed. It should be double spaced, except for long quotes, the header, and formalizations. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read. Please follow the general paper and exam instructions under the "course documents / writing" section on Blackboard.


You don't have much space, so you will need to be clear and to the point. Clarity should be your chief goal in writing the midterm. Assume that you are writing the paper to be read by someone completely unfamiliar with the issues.

I want you to explain the theories and objections as clearly as you can within the space allotted. I do not want papers that are longer than the word limit. The space limitation is designed to force you to practice verbal economy. That said, it is impossible to write a set of adequate answers in much less than the allocated space. You'll have to use most of the space, and use it well.


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the midterm through Safe Assign via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. (11:59 pm is after class, not to be confused with the night before.) Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, RIC, and from all other universities that use the software.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment.


Your paper should be clearly written, well-structured, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. The grading scale is as follows:

5 = excellent: clear and graceful

4 = good: mostly clear

3 = adequate: the writing is rough in spots or the organization is unclear

2 = needs substantial work

1 = serious problems with content and form


Before writing this paper you must read several documents under the writing section of Blackboard. Read the following: 1. Writing Tip Sheet, 2. General Instructions, and 3. Pryor's "Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers". The last document is the most important.