Writing Assignment Sheet: Final Paper (1800-2100 words)
Paper Due: Wednesday, May 11
Select a case study from Spinello, chapters 3-6 (limit yourself to only one case study).
Identify the main ethical concerns at stake in the case, and argue on behalf of one side or the other of the debate. Be sure to consider possible objections to your argument and
respond to them.
The purpose of the final paper is to refine students’ abilities for philosophical reading and argument explanation as well as critical analysis. This assignment requires students to not only identify the main arguments from a text, but also to assess those arguments as to their overall plausibility. Theses for the long papers must therefore stake a claim as to the strengths or weaknesses of the given philosophical perspective. This will require, in addition to an exegetical account of the thinker’s view on the question: (1) some critical explanation of the strengths or weaknesses of the view; (2) consideration of potential responses by the thinker to accommodate those suggestions from (1); (3)
an overall assessment of the view in light of the potential responses by the thinker (i.e. one that supports the student’s thesis). It should be noted that though the task is one of critical analysis, this does not mean that students need to argue against the thinker’s view. The paper might seek, for example, defend the thinker against potential critiques, or else to interpret the thinker’s view in a way that avoids some problem. With this said, of course, a critical piece that argues against a certain view is certainly permitted. As with the short papers, I will not be concerned with what is argued (as
long as it is relevant, of course) but will rather focus on how the argument proceeds.
Of central importance to the long papers will therefore be:
1. A clear thesis that identifies the position that the student will defend with respect to the
philosopher and to the question.
2. An introduction that in gives some indication of how the paper will go about defending the thesis.
3. Development of the argument that proceeds in some logical order, where the direction of the
paper is clear and any new point introduced is at once related to the overall concerns of the paper
and supported with evidence from the text.
4. Some critical treatment of the philosopher’s view.
5. Some consideration of how the philosopher might respond to the criticism.
6. Some overall assessment of the philosopher’s view in light of the potential response7. A conclusion which need not summarize all the points of the paper (indeed it is preferable if it does not), but recalls the general thrust of overall discussion and the thesis that has been defended, and brings some closure to the paper.
8. Academic writing style. Papers to be 1800-2100 words, typed, double-spaced in something readable like Times New Roman
or Garamond font, size 12.

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