In this paper, you will articulate, defend, and evaluate a claim.

Format: double-spaced, 12 point font, 1.25 inch margins, no specified length.

Penalty for lateness: each 24 hours of lateness after the deadline is a reduction in the grade by one notch (from A to A-, for example). Sorry, but I have to be and will be firm about this.

Here are some claims I would strongly encourage you to adopt (if you choose a different claim it should have similar depth and breadth and should not be too narrow or too wide – and you must receive my approval by email for that):

**** The claims and counterexamples should include and demonstrate mastery of what we studied withthe authors below. Use these authors to generate justification for the claim and the counterexamples. Do not respond to these questions just using common sense without employing the thought of these authors. The authors may not agree with the claim that you examine, just as you may not agree with the authors or the claim that you will examine – but the claim should be a good opportunity to explore the position of the authors, your own position, and how you and the authors challenge the common sense thinking. ****

Sample CLAIMS you should consider using (or generate one of your own)

– keep in mind that Wilkins, Ward, Wyatt, and Plaissance directly disagree with and offer criticism of the claims I am listing below under their names.

– Wilkins
– 1) just the facts/surveillance reporting produces journalism
– Ward
– 2) traditional objectivity reporting produces journalism
– Wyatt
– 3) journalists succeeding in their task produces the purpose of journalism
– Plaissance
– 4) not offending persons by journalism produces ethical journalism
– Gauthier
– 5) reporting about private life of politicians produces immorality
– 6) reporting about private life of entertainment and sports stars produces immorality
– 7) reporting about private life of citizens who are the focus of news produces immorality

Choose ONE claim and use it in question 4) of the paper.

Keep in mind that “produce” here does not refer to production in the sense of manufacturing, like when a shoemaker produces shoes. “Produce” is meant here in the logical sense of ‘is’, such as when two and two produces four, or when “hungry person does not want to eat” produces a contradiction, when “having leaves” produces “being a tree”.

Instructions: write a six-part part (but responding to nineteen questions) paper. In Part One, you introducethe topic – What is the topic that is relevant for thinking about the human being. Part Two consists of you articulating a claim relevant to the topic (from the list above, readings, exam, or review questions), that you want to spend time thinking about in this assignment. In part three, you defend that claim, or offer reasons why it makes sense. In part Four, you offer a criticism of the claim from Part Two – you offer reasons why the claim is not likely to be true. In Part Five, you evaluate your claim in light of the criticism – you state, after the consideration of the criticism, the reasons why the claim is or is not likely to be true. In Part Six, you reflect on what you have done: a conclusion about what you have learned and what you think about the topic in light of your consideration of the claim and its criticism.

Do not just sit down and write “from your head” without cracking your book, notes, quizzes, review questions open. I would set apart some time during at least three days to write the paper.

IMPORTANT: There must be nineteen labeled parts in your paper. Do not hand in a text that is not divided into sections. You will receive four points for the successful completion of each section.

START BY WRITING PARTS II, III, IV, AND V FIRST – AND THEN DO THE INTRODUCTION AND THE CONCLUSION. But the parts should be in their natural order (I-VI) in the final version that you submit.

The Paper (Do the following tasks)

Part I: Introduction

1) Introduce the topic (the broader issue that has to do with a human being is – for the sake of which you are investigating the claim that you choose) and briefly discuss what it involves. What is the puzzle with regard to this topic? [For example: “The topic is that of gun control and what it means for thinking about what a human being is. Does being respected as a human being require that access to guns is not restricted? Does beng human involve bypassing the choice of gun ownership when there are more important matters at stake? Are there more important matters than gun ownership, in this sense? Etc.” ]
2) Discuss your relation to the topic. Do you have a position on the topic? Do you have a history of engaging the topic in any way? How are you affected by what happens with regard to what is thought on this topic?
3) What is the importance of the claim that you bring up in part II with regard to the topic? Why is examining this claim important – in order to make sense of the topic? Is it a controversial issue – what are the reasons for each of the sides? Does it run counter to common sense? What does the common sense say? You will have to complete 4) before you can complete 3) here. [For example: “Examining the claim that guns cause violence would be useful for thinking about guns in general, current mass shootings, because these shootings are very frequent now and are morally repulsive and need to stop. Gun control advocates think mass shootings can be stopped by gun control. Those who oppose them say that the right to bear guns is guaranteed by constitution, a natural right of each person, etc. There is a controversy here. … etc.” ]

Part II: The claim

4) Choose a philosophical claim either from the list above, your own thinking, reading, review questions, or the exam – addressing the work of the authors that we read. State the claim – in one sentence. (A claim is a statement that judges, claims or asserts something to be true.) [For example: ‘Guns produce violence.’ ]
5) Provide the page number or the section from the book or the name of the article or the number of the question from the quiz, from which you got the claim.

Part III: The justification for the claim

6) Explain to the reader of your paper why what is claimed in 4) makes sense. What can you say in support of 4) to convince the reader? Give general reasons or use examples to persuade your reader. Make sure that you explain your answer here and show an understanding of the discussion of the issue in our readings.

[For example, not related to our class: “We often hear that there must be gun control due to that guns are responsible for violence, and specifically the recent mass shootings. It makes sense to think that violence would be decreased. If you have a gun, you are going to use it to produce violence. Without this gun, you would not be able to produce that violence. This seems to be pretty straight-forward uncontroversial thinking. ”]

Part IV: The challenge to, or criticism of, the claim: the counterexamples

7) Rephrase the claim in terms of necessity. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “Guns are necessary to produce violence”
8) Construct the negation of 7) – that is the first step on your way to produce the counterexample to it: “Guns are not necessary to produce violence”
9) Construct what the counterexample to the necessity in 7) must be like in general – this is the second step in your production of the counterexample. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “Without guns, violence is produced.”]
10) Construct, using what you have in 9), what the counterexample must be like specifically, in particular – this is the third step in your production of the counterexample. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “’Knives, without any guns, produce violence.’”]

11) Rephrase the claim in terms of sufficiency. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “Guns are sufficient to produce violence.”]
12) Construct the negation of 11) – that is the first step on your way to produce the counterexample to it: “Guns are not sufficient to produce violence”
13) Construct what the counterexample to the sufficiency in 10), must be like in general – this is the second step in your production of the counterexample.. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “Guns do not produce violence.”]
14) Construct, using what you have in 13), what the counterexample must be like specifically, in particular – this is the third step in your production of the counterexample. This must be just one sentence. [For example: “People’s choices of how to use guns produce violence.”]

Part V. Intepretive Evaluation of the claim – after considering its challenge.

15) Evaluate the counterexample challenge (in 8 through 10) to the claim of necessity. Is it A) a strong challenge of central importance, or B) a medium strength challenge, or C) a weak challenge of accidental importance and is rather insignificant? Specify which option you choose (A, B, or C) and explain why. [“The counterexample is A) very strong. Violence can be caused without guns, as is shown by reminding us that violence can be caused even with knives.”]

16) Evaluate the counterexample challenge (in 12 through 14) to the claim of sufficiency. Is it A) a strong challenge of central importance, or B) a medium strength challenge, or C) a weak challenge of accidental importance and is rather insignificant? Specify which option you choose (A, B, or C) and explain why. [Example: “The counterexample is A) very strong. Guns by themselves do not cause violence. It is human beings who cause violence with guns by choosing to use them for violence or for other purposes (such as target shooting, or just admiring and enjoying the products of human beings as evidence for what creative minds we have and what amazing tasks we are able to accomplish, even though our power is limited.”]

17) Based on 15 and 16, what are your final thoughts about the original claim in 4? Is the truth of the claim necessary? Is the claim true with suffciency? Is the truth of the claimIs it likely to be true? In what way, with what kind of qualifications? [Example: “’Yes, guns do not cause violence, they are neither necessary nor sufficient for causing violence, and it is what people choose that causes violence, strictly logically speaking. But guns do raise the probability of that people choose to use violence and they amplify the violence when people do choose it. Even though people do not have to use guns for violence, there is something about guns that influences people that they often do choose to use guns for violence. If we think about the mass shootings of the last few years, it it obvious that they would not be possible if the shooters did not have access to guns. But, at the same time, guns have been available to the general population for a long time – and mass shootings are only a recent phenomenon. So, something else, in addition to just the bare presence of guns leads to violence of mass shootings these days. For these reasons, it seems more proper to say that, in the present contemporary setting, for all practical purposes, guns are both necessary and sufficient to cause violence of mass shootings. Furthermore, if we apply the Utilitarian moral analysis, it seems that the gains of removing guns from circulation outweigh the harms. The gains are all the lives saved, and the harms are unfulfilled desires of the would-be gun owners. It seems that the gains outweigh the costs. But could it be said that the would-be gun owners’ choices are not respected, by taking guns away from them? That, the freedom and autonomy of the gun owners is not respected, if their guns are taken away? Should using Kantian analysis in this way give us pause? But it’s not clear that acquiring a gun is autonomous choice rather than a mere preference. In order for gun ownership to be an autonomous choice, it has to be consistent with everyone else’s choice – according to the universal law categorical imperative. But is permission of gun ownership for everyone in general consistent with respecting everyone’s choices, in a setting where there is a good chance that those guns are used in mass shootings (perhaps, infrequently, yet frequently enough)? Gun ownership does not seem to make sense under such circumstances even from the standpoint of autonomy. Therefore, more than minimal gun control laws are needed, such as …”]

Part VI: Reflection

18) Discuss how your thinking about the topic (what you discussed in Part I) has been affected by what you did in Parts II through V. Has it strengthened your support of a position on the topic? Has it strengthened your opposition to a position on the topic? Etc. How and why?
18) Discuss what have you learned – that you did not know before – from doing this paper. Address the content of your paper here – not only its form.

Grading criteria: in addition to evaluating how adequately you have fulfilled the task of each part of the paper, you will be graded on the depth of your writing. What you write must not be overly simplistic and obvious, but must show an effort to explore the topic. Depth means that you discuss what you are writing about in detail and with explanation that is made possible by what we learn in this class. Your paper should show mastery of what we learn (such as applying concepts and arguments that we learn in a way that shows comprehension of those concepts and arguments.). The paper should not be such that could have been written by an intelligent person who never took this class – but must be such that is written by an intelligent person who applies what is learned in this class with some depth. The paper must be informed by what we learned. If a response to what you are writing has been addressed by one of the authors we read, you need to address that author’s response to you.

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