Researching, Analyzing and Advocating Ideas (RAAI) Assignment
Purpose: The purpose of the RAAI Assignment is to apply the critical thinking skills you have learned over the semester to a real philosophical argument. In doing so, you will: 1. analyze, criticize and advocate ideas, 2. distinguish matters of fact from issues of judgment or opinion, and construct arguments that reach valid or well-supported factual and judgmental conclusions, and 3. demonstrate ethical conduct in reasoning, meeting at least the following standards for respectful participation in the community of learners: accurately stating and not misrepresenting the strength of logical connections, not misleading others regarding the truth status of empirical claims, providing full citation or attribution of other people’s views, adhering to the “principle of generosity” in reporting or interpreting other people’s views.
Instructions: Students choose one of the essays from down below. Students then use library resources (Phil Papers, Philosopher’s Index, JSTOR, One Search etcetera) to identify at least two articles in which scholars raise specific objections to this argument. Students construct a list of these articles, using standard citation guidelines, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, and summarize the main arguments advanced within them, taking care to distinguish matters of fact from issues of judgment or opinion. Students use argument evaluation skills learned in class to draw a conclusion about which objection is stronger, and construct a well-supported argument defending their view. All components of the assignment must meet the basic standards of ethical conduct in reasoning. This assignment consists in both a summary component of the three articles and an evaluative component, comparing the objections you found and arguing for or against one. Note, the summary and evaluation should each take up about 50% of the paper. The paper should be 1000-1200 words.
Famous Philosophical Essays
1. Abortion- Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”- Granting for the sake of argument that the fetus has a right to life, Thomson uses thought experiments to argue that the fetus’s right to life does not trump the pregnant woman’s right to control her own body and its life-support functions, and that induced abortion is therefore not morally impermissible. Her argument has many critics on both sides of the abortion debate yet continues to receive defense. Thomson’s imaginative examples and controversial conclusions have made “A Defense of Abortion” perhaps “the most widely reprinted essay in all of contemporary philosophy”.
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