I enjoy teaching a variety of classes. At the undergraduate level, my teaching repertoire includes: Introduction to Philosophy; Honors Introduction to Philosophy; Honors Humanities Seminar I, from the Greeks to the Renaissance; Honors Humanities Seminar II, from the Renaissance to the Present; Texts and Ideas 'What is a good human life?'; A Brief History of Space, Time, and Motion; History of Modern Philosophy; Existentialism and Phenomenology; Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Kant, Critique of Pure Reason; Rationalism (Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Leibniz); Animal Ethics. At the graduate level, I have offered the following seminars: History of the Philosophy of Science; Kant’s Philosophy of the Supersensible; Kant’s Early Critics; Kant and the Exact Sciences; Locke and Leibniz; Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation; Kant’s Critique of Judgment; Leibniz's Metaphysics; History of Ethics: Compassion; Nietzsche (directed study); Wittgenstein and Idealism (directed study).
How to write a philosophy essay
- Number the pages of your essay. This should be obvious but I have yet to see the day on which all student papers from a given class for a specific assignment have page numbers. I am running out of patience with this problem; failure to insert page numbers will cost you.
- Your essay should be double-spaced with 1 inch margins and written in 12 points Times New Roman or some similar font. The instruction that your essay should be between, say, 6 and 8 pages does not mean that you are supposed to play around with the font, the spacing, and the margins until your essay fits on 6 to 8 pages, but rather that your essay should, in fact, be between 6 and 8 pages, based on the standard formatting just specified.
- Organize your paper. Think about what you want to say before you start writing. Preparing an outline might help in this respect.
- Never start a paper with a very general, uninformative paragraph or phrase like “For centuries philosophers have been thinking about x,…” or “In our modern times, it is especially important to address the question y.…” A brief introductory paragraph is good, but it should be specific and tailored to the topic in question. For instance, you might want to give a brief overview of what you are planning to do in the paper.
- Avoid the "shotgun approach". That is, avoid the strategy of bringing up as many different arguments, objections, or ideas as you can possibly think of in the hope of hitting upon some good ones. Given that you only have limited space available, try to focus on those arguments/objections/ideas that you take to be the strongest or most interesting, and develop them in more detail.
- An important, basic condition for a well-organized paper is the division of your discussion into several paragraphs. Each paragraph should be a coherent unit that is devoted to a particular claim, objection, or line of argument. If you want to introduce a new thought, consideration, or topic, begin a new paragraph.
- Try to arrange the different paragraphs and sections of your essay in a way that mirrors their logical connections and so that they form a coherent discussion with a discernible dialectical structure.
- If, upon rereading your essay, you find that a paragraph does not quite fit into the overall structure of your discussion, this might be an indication that the content of the paragraph is not really relevant for the question at hand. If a paragraph is irrelevant, it ought to be deleted, no matter how beautifully crafted it is, or how short your essay falls of the required minimum length.
- Especially in the case of longer papers (12 pages and up), it is a good idea to end your essay with a concluding paragraph or a concluding section, in which you summarize the main line of your argument, or fit the different pieces of your discussion together, and highlight your main conclusion(s). As with the introductory paragraph, do not end your paper with a very general, uninformative platitude like “Despite its many shortcomings the ontological argument represents one of the most aspiring achievements of human intellectual history, and will continue to engage philosophers for centuries to come.” The concluding paragraph should be closely tied to YOUR discussion. Even though it is the conclusion of a philosophy paper, there is no need to connect it to the history of humankind, or the purpose of the universe at large. Be modest, and stay close to the specific question you addressed in your paper. Similarly, if in the main body of your paper you argue that a given argument is invalid or unsound, your conclusion should reflect this, i.e., you should conclude by rejecting the argument. For example, if in the main body of your paper you show that the ontological argument begs the question and is unsound, concluding with something like “Despite its problematic character, the ontological argument should not be rejected completely, because of the many good points it raises.” is not a viable option.
- In the case of short papers (4 pages or less), you do not necessarily need a concluding paragraph. If the overall clarity of the paper can be improved by adding a well-crafted concluding paragraph with a point, by all means do so. But if the concluding paragraph would amount to no more than a somewhat awkward, dutiful regurgitation of what you already said in the foregoing four pages, your paper is better off without it.
- There are different argumentative strategies that you can employ to support a particular view or thesis. The main general strategies can be grouped into the following three categories: 1) Provide direct arguments for the view/thesis. 2) Attack possible opposing views/theses. 3) Anticipate and respond to possible objections to your view/thesis. All of these strategies can be employed in more or less effective ways. In particular, in the context of 2) try to avoid entering battle with an army of straw men, and in the context of 3) aim to discuss the objections that are the most threatening.
- There are different argumentative strategies that you can employ to attack a particular view or thesis. The main general strategies can be grouped into the following three categories: 1) Provide direct arguments against the view/thesis. 2) Produce a counterexample to the view/thesis. 3) Show that the arguments that are commonly adduced in support of the view or thesis are defective, by establishing either that the arguments are invalid, i.e., that they contain a logical fallacy, or that they are unsound, i.e., that at least one of their premises is false.
- Clarity is a virtue. Only write down sentences that you yourself fully understand. In particular, if you are unsure about the precise meaning of some technical term or some less familiar word, either look it up in a dictionary or do not use it. You do not have to integrate grand or impressive words in your paper to make it good. Plain English will do.
- Brevity and precision are virtues. For each sentence ask yourself: “Would it make a real difference with regard to the content of the paper if I left this sentence out?” “Is this sentence really necessary to make my point?” If the answer to either one of these questions is no, you might want to consider deleting the sentence. In general, communicating in short sentences reduces the risk of confusing your audience, and straightforward, no-nonsense prose can be very elegant.
- Try to monitor the progress of your discussion. Especially when writing longer papers (12 pages and up), it might be helpful and might contribute to the clarity of the paper to insert brief summarizing statements at the end of each longer section, and to indicate what role the section in question plays in your overall discussion. For instance, after a section on Berkeley’s critique of Locke’s account of abstract ideas you might say something like this: “So far we have reviewed Berkeley’s reasons for rejecting Locke’s account of abstract ideas, most of which seem to be based on a controversial understanding of the nature of ideas that cannot unambiguously be ascribed to Locke. In the following section, we will discuss the use that Berkeley makes of this rejection of Lockean abstract ideas in the development of his idealist ontology.”
- Do not repeat your arguments. Repetition does not make an argument any better.
- Do not just express general opinions; try to be specific, and give reasons for why you hold the view you articulate. For instance, do not just say: “I am not convinced by Spinoza.” but rather “One might disagree with Spinoza’s proof for the thesis that God is the only genuine substance, for the following three reasons:…”
- Do not state views on topics/authors about which you are not sufficiently informed. Either get yourself informed, or gracefully avoid talking about it/him/her.
- In general, try not to show your belly, as it were. That is, try to formulate your arguments and claims in such a (modest) way that everything you say is backed up by reasons, or textual evidence, and can be defended if attacked. If you want to include a personal opinion or intuition in your discussion that cannot be backed up in this way, explicitly indicate that this is what you are doing, and that you are aware of the fact that you are doing it.
- Be hard on yourself. If you are not fully satisfied with what you have written, give it another round of revisions.
- Be sure to reread your paper after your last round of revisions one more time before you hand it in. Many stylistic sores and embarrassing typos can be caught in that way.
- If you are using an idea that is not your own, or if you are referring to something somebody else said, or if you are quoting somebody else directly, always provide the exact reference in parentheses, a footnote, or an endnote, preferably in Harvard referencing style (i.e., author-date style). At the end of your paper, give full bibliographical details for all of the works that are cited in the essay. There is no established format for references to the internet (yet). As a general rule, try to be as specific as possible.
- Note that the purpose of providing references is not merely to acknowledge indebtedness to somebody else for a certain idea or argument, but also to document interpretative claims. For example, if you claim that Kant holds that, eventually, the good will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished, you need to provide textual evidence showing that this is indeed what he says.
- For your own benefit and protection, it is strongly recommended that you do not use the internet as a resource when writing your papers. The internet is very useful for all sorts of things, but not for gathering information for a philosophy paper. Just because something is posted on a flashy website does not mean that it is true, or smart, or even interesting. The only exceptions to this general recommendation to practice web-abstinence in times of philosophy paper writing are consulting articles that are published in peer-reviewed, respectable electronic journals, or in electronic versions of peer-reviewed, respectable Journals that are accessible through the internet, or electronic versions of books that are available through respectable (and legal) sources.
- As should have become clear from the previous comments, writing a good paper takes time. Bear this in mind when you plan your work. The appropriate amount of time obviously depends on the length and difficulty of the paper in question, e.g., a term paper can easily keep you busy for three solid weeks. But you should NEVER start a paper less than three days before it is due, even if it is only supposed to be three pages long. Many students do not realize how much work is still required to turn a first draft into a really good paper. (Many students, I strongly suspect, simply hand in their first draft.) A sure recipe for disaster is to write the paper in a marathon session during the night before it is due.
Some remarks about grammar, semantics, and style
- Use present tense to describe the view of the author you are discussing, even if the author is dead. For instance, instead of writing “Descartes thought that there are two fundamental kinds of substances in the world,” write “Descartes thinks that…”
- When describing somebody's position or philosophical views, do not ascribe feelings to him/her. Similarly, do not present your own view as a feeling. What (usually) matters for our purposes are (more narrowly) cognitive propositional attitudes. For instance, do not write “Berkeley feels that there are no material bodies,” but “Berkeley thinks…,” “Berkeley believes…,” “Berkeley argues…” etc.
- Avoid overly extensive use of the first person pronoun "I". It’s not wrong to use it, of course, and it is becoming more and more common, but to older, more traditional ears it still sounds like bad style. For instance, instead of saying “I don’t agree with Locke’s position,” you could write “There are several reasons for disagreeing with Locke’s position.”
- Avoid using too many gerunds. In particular, gerunds cannot be used instead of predicates in main clauses. For instance, the following string of words “Meaning that space and time are pure intuitions” is not a sentence. You either have to connect it with the forgoing sentence, e.g., “Kant claims that space and time are forms of sensibility, meaning that space and time are pure intuitions,” or you have to reformulate it, e.g., “This means that space and time are pure intuitions.”
- Parentheses should be used sparingly; also avoid too many remarks in brackets. Either the remark is needed to support your argument and/or to clarify the position you are discussing, in which case you should include its content in the main text; or the remark is superfluous or redundant, in which case you should leave it out. For instance, avoid sentences like 'Descartes proves the existence of God based on our idea of God (this idea including existence as one of God’s essential predicates'. Instead write something like 'Descartes proves the existence of God based on our idea of God. He argues that this idea includes existence as one of its essential predicates, which implies that existence is a necessary property of God.'
- Quotation marks are NOT mere decoration. They have a number of well-defined functions, of which the following four are most likely to be relevant in the context of writing a philosophy paper. 1) All direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks. 2) Titles of essays are given in quotation marks. 3) If you want to refer to words or concepts (as opposed to what the words signify or what falls under the concepts), use quotation marks. Example: The word "five" contains four letters. The concept "mule" is usually acquired after the concept "horse". 4) Quotation marks can also be used to distance yourself from the expression that is enclosed in the quotation marks, e.g., if you want to indicate that you are speaking ironically, or if you want to indicate that you disagree with what is being said.
- Avoid speaking of the "logic" of someone, or of someone’s argument, unless it is really a particular logical calculus or the logical structure of an argument that you want to discuss. For instance, the sentence "One might disagree with Kant’s logic." only makes (potential) sense in a context where you want to contrast the logic expounded in Kant’s writings with some other logical calculus, say, para-consistent logic. If you want to express some other concern, the following formulations (or something like them) should be used, depending on what exactly you are worried about: "Kant’s argument is invalid," "Kant’s argument is unsound," or, more generally, "Kant’s reasoning is not cogent." Similarly, if you want to express that a certain thought experiment, argument, or claim is implausible or intuitively unconvincing do not say that it is illogical—no matter how popular this expression is in colloquial English. "To be illogical," strictly speaking, means "to go against logic." A thought experiment is illogical if it is logically inconsistent, an argument is illogical if it is fallacious, and a claim is illogical if it implies a contradiction. If that is what you mean, say it in those words; if it is not what you mean, say whatever you mean, but without using the word "illogical."
- Do not call the arguments of the author under discussion ridiculous or ludicrous. There is always the possibility that the argument in question is not ridiculous at all, but that you just did not understand it correctly. Even if the argument is ridiculous, bluntly stating this fact is rather impolite and disrespectful. (And even if the author is already dead, a minimal amount of respect is still a good idea.)
- It is no excuse for grammatical mistakes, mention-use confusions, category errors, imprecision, or stylistic infelicities of any kind that the author you are discussing is guilty of the same blunders. Of course, if you are providing a direct quotation you are not to blame (and not supposed to change anything). But after faithfully citing your author, it is your responsibility to sort out all errors and confusions to the best of your abilities. Similarly, if your author employs non-standard technical terms or an otherwise idiosyncratic terminology to state his views, it is your job to explain the terminology before making use of it yourself. To be sure, in some (many) cases it might not be exactly clear what the author wants to say or how he wants a certain term to be understood, but the way to handle a situation like this is, not by reproducing the problems and passing over them in silence, but by explicitly flagging them and offering possible ways in which to resolve them.
- If you incorporate partial direct quotations in your discussion it is your responsibility to fit the quotation into your text in such a way that, (a), the original meaning of the quoted passage is preserved, and, (b), a grammatically correct construction results.
- If you use the impersonal "one" instead of the second or third person pronoun, you need to stick to it throughout the whole sentence, including potential uses of the genitive case. Example: "If one wants to get a straight A, he needs to get his grammar straight." is not a good sentence; you should say “If one wants to get a straight A, one needs to get one’s grammar straight.”
- Avoid elisions. That is, instead of using "isn't" or "doesn't", use "is not" and "does not." In many circumstances, elisions are perfectly fine (e.g., if you are writing a novel, a short story, a poem, a libretto, a letter, an email, or a tweet), but for academic writing it is preferable to tick with whole words.
- In colloquial English, "to beg the question" is more and more used in the sense of "to raise the question." This is not what the phrase means, or, at least, not what it used to mean in the good old days. Begging the question is a form of fallacious reasoning, which consists in (implicitly) already assuming a particular answer to a question that is ostensibly in dispute, or in assuming (implicitly) in the premises of an argument what the argument is supposed to prove. For example, by defining the mind as a mental thing you are begging the question against the materialist (who holds that the mind is material), or by assuming that God, understood as a necessary being, is possible the ontological argument begs the question, because the only way for a necessary being to be possible is to actually exist. In philosophical writing, "to beg the question" still means "to beg the question".
- "One in the same" is no idiom in English; the correct idiom in this ballpark is "one and the same." Example: “The materialist claims that, ultimately, the mind and the brain are one and the same.”
- The phrase "per say" does not exist; the correct phrase is "per se." Example: “The awful taste of Budweiser does not speak against drinking beer per se, but only against drinking American beer.”
- If you want to express that a given argument is valid, what you want to say is, NOT that the conclusion flows from the premises, or that it follows the premises, but that it follows (logically) from the premises.
- Arguments are not "based off of" certain premises, but based on, or constructed from, certain premises. In general, "off of" is something your dog might excusably say on a bad day, but if you add an unnecessary "of" to a perfectly fine and sufficient "off" you are guilty of an inexcusable blunder.
- A lone "next" tacked in front of a sentence makes for a rather ungraceful transition to a new thought or a new line of argument. In many cases, the sentence in question can be improved immensely by simply deleting the flat-footed "next." In some cases, you might want to substitute "next" with something more specific. For example, instead of saying "Next, Leibniz turns to developing his account of how we acquire innate ideas." you might want to say something like "After criticizing Locke's argument against the existence of innate ideas, Leibniz turns to developing..."
- Please avoid speaking of holes in arguments, or of arguments falling apart. It is not exactly wrong to do so, but it is bad style. The proper places to find holes are socks and cheese, not arguments. For instance, do not say “Upon closer investigation, it turns out that the argument is full of holes/falls apart.” but “Upon closer investigation, it turns out that the argument is fallacious/unsound/invalid/can be contested…."
- Avoid speaking of somebody's thought process when you want to talk about his/her arguments or line of reasoning. For example, instead of saying "Descartes' thought process starts with the statement that the idea of God has infinite objective reality," write something like "Descartes' argument is based on the premise that...," or "The first step in Descartes' reasoning is to claim that..."
- The following phrases are not exactly the hallmark of elegant writing: “Descartes furthers his argument by…,” or “Descartes is quick to point out that…”. Possible alternatives: “Descartes provides further support for his thesis by...”, “Descartes points out that…”, “Descartes emphasizes that…”.
- Another pet phrase of undergraduate philosophy writing that is overused is "to delve deeper into an argument." To be sure, philosophy can be deep, but I recommend putting all forms of delving off until your summer break.
- The use of "argue" in the sense of "dispute" is colloquial. For instance, if you want to say that Berkeley disputes the viability of Locke’s primary-secondary quality distinction, do not write “Berkeley argues Locke’s distinction,” but something like “Berkeley questions/objects to Locke’s distinction,” or, if you have a soft spot for the word ‘argue’, you could write “Berkeley argues against Locke’s distinction.”
The following guidelines were compiled by members of the philosophy department at Notre Dame to assist students in avoiding academic dishonesty. Whether at Notre Dame or NYU or anywhere else, these are helpful guidelines that all students would do well to abide by.
Plagiarism is the use of another person’s writings, ideas, insights, analyses and arguments without giving proper credit to the original source. It is a growing problem at universities, much of it resulting from students relying too heavily on the internet. The Academic Code of Honor Handbook discusses plagiarism as a specific violation of the Honor Code on pages 9-11. All students writing papers are strongly encouraged tore-read this section of the Handbook. However, some students have asked for additional guidance regarding plagiarism which this guide is designed to provide. Even if you think you fully understand plagiarism, you should carefully read this document. Ignorance of the policy will be no excuse if you should inadvertently commit an act of plagiarism.
You may think that plagiarism only happens when someone directly copies from another source without any citation. However, plagiarism can occur in a variety of different ways. Here are some of the more common forms.
1. Directly copying from any other source, such as a book, article or a website, without using quotation marks.
Explanation: This is plagiarism even if you include a reference after the passage. Why? Because you are claiming to have used another source only for information, but in truth you used it to provide the actual wording. Since you are using not just another’s ideas, but also their writing style (a process that requires no understanding of the material or composition skills), this needs to be signified with quotation marks.
2. Somewhat rewording a passage, changing the occasional word and/or rearranging the sentence structure. In short, very closely paraphrasing another’s writing.
Explanation: This is probably one of the most common and insidious forms of plagiarism. It can still qualify as a violation of the honor code even if you provide a citation. The reason is this: Even when you are writing a full-blown research paper, professors expect you to do at least two things: a) acquire a greater understanding of the material as a result of your research, and b)organize and express this enhanced understanding through your writing. This expression may indeed incorporate the ideas or analyses of other sources. However, when you closely paraphrase someone else’s writing, you can actually bypass both understanding the material and figuring out how to synthesize and present it. Instead, your energy is devoted to the linguistic task of just rewording what is before you - a job that requires little more than basic knowledge of language and a good thesaurus. When you do this, even when citing the source, you are misrepresenting your comprehension of the material and pretending to have composed something you haven’t. If you must lean quite heavily on another source while writing some part of your paper, then it is better to simply provide a lengthy quotation.
How do you know if you are leaning too heavily on another source? For most assignments, it should be possible to write the bulk of your paper without other sources directly before you. The writing process should be driven by your own grasp of the issues, something that resulted from your prior research. Periodically, as the need arises to integrate the ideas of others in your writing, you may need to turn to other sources for quotations and citations. But most of your writing should not require the direct consultation of other sources.
3. Adopting the ideas or analyses of other writers (though not their writing) without proper citation.
Explanation: When professors read your papers, one of the things they look for is not just comprehension of the material, but the ability to say something about it. Most professors want to see that you have reflected on the topic enough to construct your own analysis. When you take analyses, ideas, commentary and arguments from other writers without proper citation, you are deceiving your reader by creating the impression that you came up with this on your own.
However, there are some claims that you may have learned that don’t require any sort of citation when reproduced in your paper. These are the very basic “common knowledge” claims about a given subject that are available from several sources and were probably included as part of the course readings and lectures. Claims like, “Aristotle was an influential philosopher” or “Hard determinists deny that humans have freedom” are so uncontroversial and elementary that no one will take these as expressions of your own unique analysis. These sorts of claims do not go beyond general platitudes, so they will not be taken to reflect special understanding of the material. However, if you read somewhere a more evaluative claim that expresses a unique analysis like “Aristotle had far less influence on Aquinas than most commentators suppose” or “Hard determinists misunderstand the real nature of freedom”, then the adoption of such a claim in your paper requires you to give proper credit. Claims like these express a special perspective on the subject, and so require deeper comprehension. Without citing your source of such ideas, you are taking credit for the hard work of another person. Students new to a field of study may at times not know whether or not something counts as “common knowledge”. When in doubt, cite your source. You can also consult with your instructor if you have questions.
To illustrate these points, suppose you are doing a paper on the nature of the mind and decide to use the following imaginary website excerpt:
While all forms of dualism agree that some aspect of the mind is non physical, there is considerable disagreement about which mental states or properties are not part of the physical realm. For example, some dualists claim it is the qualitative dimension of the mind - the “raw feeling” that accompanies pains, tickles, emotional states, and other sensations. Other philosophers claim it is the representational character of our beliefs and thoughts – the fact that they are about something else. However, the most convincing case for dualism focuses on the subjective nature of consciousness itself, which pertains to both feelings and thoughts. (Jones, 2003, Notre Dame Example of Plagiarism, URL= www.don'tcheat.com).
If you copy any part of this passage without providing a citation and quotation marks around the copied material, then you have committed plagiarism. Different professors may ask for different citation styles. In most cases, it would probably be sufficient to do something like this:
“ . . . the most convincing case for dualism focuses on the subjective nature of consciousness itself, which pertains to both feelings and thoughts” (Jones, 2003). Then you would list the full reference for the website, including the URL, on a separate reference page: Jones, W. (2003), Notre Dame Example of Plagiarism; URL=www.don’tcheat.com.
Now suppose that instead of copying the website, you reword this passage in the following way:
While there is considerable disagreement about which mental states or properties are not part of the physical realm, all types of dualism agree that some aspect of the mind is not physical. For instance, some dualists claim it is the qualitative aspect of the mind- the “raw feels” that go along with pains and tickles and other sensations. Other dualists claim it is the representational nature of beliefs and thoughts - that is, the fact that they are about something besides themselves. However, the most compelling reason for believing dualism looks closely at the subjective aspect of consciousness itself, and this applies to both feelings and thoughts (Jones, 2003). Even though you cite the relevant source, this would still be a violation of the honor code because you didn’t simply glean some information from this site and then incorporate it in your paper. Instead, you used the website to provide a point-by-point composition blueprint, and your own writing is only a syntactic variant of what is in the site. If you are going to lean this heavily on what is written, then you should just quote directly from the website.
Suppose instead that you had used this passage in this way: Some have argued that it is the subjective character of consciousness that provides the best support for dualism (Jones, 2003). However, I will now argue that it is the existence of our free will that offers the best avenue of support for dualism. Here the website is properly cited as a source of a substantive claim, but it is not used as a template for paper writing. This is fully appropriate.
Finally, suppose you use the website in this manner:
While dualists often look at the qualitative or representational character of the mind to defend their core thesis that the mind is non-physical, the strongest reason for being a dualist stems from the subjective dimension of consciousness itself.
While it is less clear that this passage exploits the website as a writing template, it uses a specific and substantive claim from the website that reflects in-depth understanding and a specific perspective on the topic. Consequently, the use of this claim requires a reference to the website. Without the citation, this would be a case of plagiarism.
However, suppose you had merely claimed this:
Dualists maintain that the mind is, in some way, non-physical.
Although the same claim is made in the website, it would not need to be cited because it is a very basic, exegetical, commonly acknowledged statement that advances nothing new or insightful. Since it merely reiterates the common definition of dualism, it needn’t be cited .
Basic Points To Bear In Mind Regarding Plagiarism:
* The internet is generally a poor source of information because there are no mechanisms of quality control; anyone can develop a website and claim to be an expert on some subject.
* Students are blind to how obvious it often is when they borrow from another source. Professors are likely to be familiar with many alternative sources of information, both online and in print.
* It is a violation of the honor code to use your own writing in more than one class without explicit permission.
* It is a violation of the honor code to use any other student’s paper in a manner that violates the conventions described here.
* Proper quotation and citation procedures are presented in reference works such as the Chicago Manual of Style and A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations.
* It often proves to be more work to commit an act of plagiarism and conceal it than it is to simply write an honest paper.
* If you find yourself in a bind, talk to your professor. Most of them would prefer to work something out with you rather than spend time investigating plagiarism.
* Plagiarism is an ugly form of dishonesty—it is lying about your own accomplishment. It is no better than taking credit for the work of others or falsifying your own credentials to get ahead. What would you think of someone who progressed past others by telling lies about his or her achievements? If you commit plagiarism, you are that person.
WHEN IN DOUBT, ALWAYS PROVIDE THE CITATION!!