The right to life

PHL 2050: Big Questions, Essay 3

Due: Monday night, December 10th, any time before midnight on Pilot website

Weight: 35% of course grade, minimum: 1400 words, maximum: 1600 words

Format: Double-spaced pages (except single-spaced header), 1-inch margins, 12-point font

Outlines and drafts (optional): if you want to submit a draft, you must first submit an outline by Friday, November 30th. Drafts must be emailed by Friday, December 7th.

Outline format: following the “Essay Structure” below, summarize each point in one sentence, leaving out the introduction and conclusion. Email it in the body of the message, not as an attachment.

Note: there will be penalty of one partial letter grade (e.g., A to A-) for each of the following:

– Essay is over or under the required length

– Failure to use regular but brief quotations (on average, about 2-3 per page)

– Failure to cite page number of quotations and to cite the book or source in footnote or endnote

Essay Structure

For each topic, you will choose either to critique or defend the argument.

Note: it’s okay if your topic is similar to the examples, just add original arguments and examples in 5-6.

In a critical essay, the structure is: Example: Jarvis Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion”

1. Introductory paragraph (Briefly state the key points in 2-5 below)

2. Author’s argument The right to life doesn’t include use of another’s body

3. Your criticism of author’s argument Voluntarily risking pregnancy grants that right

4. The author’s reply to your criticism Leaving window open doesn’t grant burglar a right to stay

5. Your answer to author’s reply The burglar analogy fails because… [your argument]

6. Concluding paragraph (Clearly state conclusion, briefly review arguments 4-5)

But in the defense essay option, you have to add a step—an initial criticism to defend the view from:

1. Introductory paragraph (Briefly state the key points in 2-6 below)

2. Author’s argument The right to life doesn’t include use of another’s body

3. A possible criticism of author Voluntarily risking pregnancy grants that right

4. Your defense of author from criticism Leaving window open doesn’t grant burglar a right to stay

5. A possible objection to your defense The burglar analogy fails because… [critic’s argument]

6. Your reply to the critical objection The analogy works or can be adjusted… [your argument]

7. Concluding paragraph (Clearly state conclusion, briefly review arguments 4-6)

This essay is much longer, so plan ahead and use the extra space well. To do this:

· Use a bit more quotation, quoting more frequently and using longer (but still brief) quotes.

· Explain arguments in much more detail, explicitly spelling out each step in the reasoning. For each key claim, ask yourself if a skeptical reader will ask, “Why should I believe this is true?” Then be sure you have answered that question in your explanation.

· Quote and discuss passages from the readings that we did not discuss in class.

· Use a single example, but explained in detail, to illustrate arguments whenever helpful.