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You must write a brief essay on each topic (1000 words, about three pages typed and double spaced for each of the following topics).  The point of these papers will be to focus on one particular article or theory.  The goal is not to do research (looking up stuff in the library) but to focus your thoughts on one argument or one position and dig deep.  Your grade on these papers will be based on the clarity of your writing, your command of the material, and the “depth” of your explanations.  I will give you a rubric that will be used for the grading.  (Which side of the issue you are on is completely irrelevant).


1. What are the strength and weaknesses of Judith Jarvis Thomson’s Diseased Musician essay? (text pp. 55-56) Compare her position with that of Don Marquis in “Why Abortion is Immoral”. Who has the stronger argument? Explain.



2. According to the second form of Kant’s categorical imperative, would it be morally permissible for me to agree to be someone’s slave? Explain.


3. View crash course philosophy #42 and compare the positions on animal rights among Bentham, Peter Singer and Carl Cohen. Who has the strongest case? What is your opinion on animal rights?



Each topic I give you will ask you to “explain and evaluate” a position or idea or argument.  There are four elements you must address in your essay (these four will be the elements I am grading).


I will give you a score of 0-5 for each of these four elements.  I will then add the scores together to calculate your grade on the essay.  If you score a perfect “5” on each element the maximum total score would be 20 for each topic.

#1: Describe, identify and explain two or more different philosophical positions and the relevant philosophical concepts.

As I grade, I will ask myself, “How well did you describe and explain both positions (either two different positions or an argument and counterargument)?  And, how accurately are you using the relevant philosophical terms and concepts?”

#2: Apply critical thinking skills by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of philosophical positions or theories and by writing a clear and coherent essay.  As I grade, I will ask myself, “Did you explain the issue to be considered? How well do you analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the theories or positions? And how clear and coherent is your overall presentation?”

#3:  Create an informed personal position to a philosophical issue by developing and defending a personal opinion to the selected moral dilemma or theory.  As I grade, I will ask myself, “Did you develop a personal opinion? And how well did you defend why you believe what you believe?  How well did you explain an opposing view?  How well did you explain and analyze the assumptions behind your view, and the opposing view?  How well did you explain the impact of your position on your life and on society?”

#4:  Grammar.  As I grade, I will ask myself, “How good is the grammar?”





 


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