General instructions for papers
For each paper, I will give you a list of topics. Choose one topic for each paper and write a 4 to 5 pages paper. Make sure you have a clear thesis or position. You should have an introductory paragraph in which you state a clear thesis or position — what you will argue. Then, in the body of the paper, you should give reasons and examples to defend, support and clarify your positions or thesis. Don’t merely state opinions without offering evidence or reasons. Also consider counter arguments to your arguments. That is, you should consider what somebody opposing your position would say, and answer those objections. The better you answer to those objections the stronger your argument. Finally, you should have a concluding paragraph, where you briefly review what you covered, and possibly what you did not cover, and what other connected questions could be left to investigate in a different paper. The following site gives some good tips to write a persuasive philosophy essay if you need more guidance: http://www.public.asu.edu/~dportmor/tips.pdf
Be clear and precise (avoid ambiguity and vagueness). Also give the paper a clear structure with paragraphs, transitions and continuity. Remember that if you take words, information or ideas from someone else, even short sentences, you need quotation marks and references; otherwise it is plagiarism, which I will have to report and might be grounds for failing the assignment.
The paper should: be double-spaced, use a 12 font size, not have large margins and large spaces between paragraphs, and not have extensive quotations. In other words, it should not make me think that you did not want to write it. To earn a good grade you need to go beyond regurgitating the ideas of the text and make your own original contribution. Please check the rubric in the content area for further explanations of the grading criteria.
In grading I will focus on content. However, sometimes grammar may be so poor that it makes it difficult to understand the content. In college, you are expected to have a certain minimal level of writing. For these reasons I will not accept papers that are not carefully proofread. A paper is not carefully proofread if it includes problems like excessive grammatical mistakes, misspellings, punctuation errors, and rambling and unconnected sentences. Please consider that I won’t make this determination immediately, since it may take me days to start grading. If I return the paper for such corrections, it will then count as a late paper.
Possible topics for Ethics paper 1
Write a 4 to 5 pages paper on one of the following topics:
1)Watch the Woody Allen’s film Crimes and Misdemeanors. (You can rent it or find it by googling “Crimes and Misdemeanors Online” and then choosing your source.)
Write an essay addressing the following questions:
Compare and contrast Plato’s treatment of the ring of invisibility with Allen’s. Does the film support Glaucon’s argument or Socrates’ reply?
Does the film offer any fresh insight into the question of whether we should be moral if we can act with impunity? Does it offer a challenge to Glaucon?
Does the film support the view of ethical egoism that we should always act to promote self-interest?
(Questions adapted from the questions in http://www.plato-philosophy.org/teachertoolkit/teaching-ethics-with-crimes-misdemeanors-the-ring-of-gyges/)
2)Clearly explain the challenge Glaucon raises about morality and why Gordon Marino links such challenge to Ethical Relativism. Is Glaucon right? How could we argue against his conclusion and support Socrates’ view of Moral Objectivism?
3)Clearly explain in what way Glaucon’s description of what people say about the origin of justice (about laws and mutual covenants in page 40) aligns or compares with what Hume says about the utility of justice. How do Glaucon’s and Hume’s conception of Human nature compare to each other? Do you agree with any of them? Why or why not?