Prof. Shen’s Mail Explaining How to Write Your Reading Report
(Sent September 27, 2011)
Some students from other disciplines than EAS and PHLask me about how to write the
term paper. Let me first refer you to the addresses indicated already in the syllabus:
About Philosophical writing: http://philosophy.utoronto.ca/phlwrite/
About Essay Writing Styles: Chicago Manual of Style or MLA.
Let me explain a little bit. The term paper should be a 6 pages double spaced reading
report of at least two chapters in the Source Book. The best way to write is to choose
one or two common themes (or three, if not too much) of these two chapters. First, you
should discuss briefly the historical background of their authors and your interest or
focus (descriptive). Then, proceed to the analysis of concepts and theories, with the
support of texts, and your analysis of the text, involved in this themes(analytical part).
Finally, your critical reflections/evaluation of their ideas or theories.
For example, you may want to write on comparing Mencius theory of human nature
with that of Xunzi. For this, you may choose chapter 3 and chapter 6.
If you like to discuss the idea of rectification of names and its function in politics, you
may choose chapter 2 (Confucius) and chapter 6 (Xunzi).
Or you may want to discuss the concept of nature and law (regularity) of nature, in
Xunzi (On Heaven) and Laozi(c