Paper 4

In this paper, your goal is to represent an author’s view clearly and fairly, and then evaluate the reasoning for their view. In order to do this, your sub-goals include these three tasks:

Reconstruct – Present the author’s reasoning in argument standard format
Explain – Explain the premises the author gives
Evaluate – Weigh in what you think about the argument and bring an ethical theory regarding what it would say
Assigned Texts
Puppies, Pigs and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases – Alastair Norcross. Explain a particular argument – any single argument from pages 292 to the end of section 5 on page 298. (PDF pages 8-14). You may pick one of the general arguments, or focus on just a paragraph or two. Just make sure that it is a coherent argument.
Moral Standing, the Value of Lives, and Speciesism – R.G. Frey. Explain a particular argument – any single argument from pages 305 (section II) to page 312 (section 5). (PDF pages 5-12). I recommend you pick just one section in that range of pages, rather than grouping sections. Either way, just make sure that it is a coherent argument.

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Again, for either text, it depends on the level of granularity you are interested in. Main conclusion of article? Main conclusion of a section? Main conclusion of a paragraph? That decision will determine what is direct support/premises. (Because the author has a main point supported by premises, but he gives reasoning for the main premises, like mini-arguments or sub-arguments). If you want help, email me.

Available Ethical Theories
Utilitarian Consequentialism
Kantian Deontology
Social Contract Theory
Virtue Ethics (either moral exemplar approach, or promoting flourishing approach)

Note: You may not reuse ethical theories later. Keep this in mind in case you want to save one for later.

Reconstruct instructions (word count not too important here, but around 40 words)

Same as the second and third paper (again, you must describe a particular argument found in a range of pages I specify in the Assigned Texts.) Pay careful attention to making explicit when a line of reasoning is implicitly assumed but not explicitly stated. You’ll want that made explicit, so that the reasoning is clear. This could be a hidden premise, or the conclusion itself.

Explanation instructions (at least one paragraph for each premise – about 250-450 words)

Same as first, second, and third paper

Evaluate instructions (at least one paragraph – about 250-450 words)

Same as second and third: again, you will be expected to draw on an ethical theory to show you know how to apply that theory to this topic. What would that theory determine is the rightness or wrongness of the action in question?

Recommended strategies: (1) Sometimes it is helpful to think about what this argument seems to show for practical life. If normal, every-day people can’t believe the conclusion, how would they respond? (2) If you can think of what another philosopher would say, a response may become fairly obvious. (3) If you are unsure what you think about an argument, write up a rough idea what you are thinking might be a good criticism, and then email me. I am happy to help you formulate your thoughts!

Discouraged: I recommend against searching the internet for critique ideas. While secondary sources are permitted, you must cite appropriately. Failure to cite appropriately is plagiarism.

Example outline of the paper structure:
Argument in Standard Form [section header]
Argument in standard form (use numbered order, or bullets), for example:
Premise which says if this is true, then blah blah blah
Premise about schuggity-schwoh, schfifty-five
Premise about how a duck walked up to a lemonade stand
Conclusion/main point to be established of the argument
Explanation of premises [section header]
Explanation of premise 1
Explaining what the premise means and why the average person would find it reasonable. Short explanation of all the technical philosophical terms used or assumed in the premises. Examples help.
Explanation of premise 2
(same kind of task as for premise 1)
If applicable, premise 3
(same kind of task as for premise 1)
Evaluation of Argument [section header]
Paragraph giving some reasoning and evaluation of the premises. Is the premise true? Do the premises fail to support the conclusion? Etc.
Paragraph explaining how an ethical theory would adjudicate this iss

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