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I will add questions (note that the “questions” are not exactly questions, but
more like tasks) to this list. If you do not have notifications turned on for
when I send out new Course Announcements, keep checking this post to see
which new questions are added to the list.
Choose any four of the following questions to answer. Each is worth 25% of
your overall test grade.
Choose two of the following:
1) Based on “The Apology” by Plato – (i) provide an elucidation of Socrates’
indictments; (ii) elaborate his defences against these charges; (iii) provide
three arguments to convince your reader that the asking of questions can
count as a form of corruption (specifically, an act that can corrupt others);
and (iv) provide three arguments to convince your reader that the asking of
questions may not count as a form of corruption (specifically, an act that can
2) Based on lectures and “The Apology” by Plato – Socrates never advances
positive knowledge, but seeks knowledge by attempting to discover what
cannot be a case of knowledge based on the reasons others offer as evidence
for that “knowledge”. How does this largely negative exercise help us
discover/move towards knowledge?
3) Ethical Egoism – (i) provide an elucidation of the various versions of ethical
egoism that exist (look to the textbook AND my lecture(s)); (ii) provide two
arguments not included in the TEXTBOOK for why ethical egoism (specify
which version(s) you are referencing) contains internal
tensions/confusions/problems that make the position implausible; and (iii)
provide two arguments for why even if ethical egoism is true/plausible
(specify which version(s) you are referencing), ethical egoism does not
challenge our ability to engage in practical ethics together.
3) Utilitarianism – (i) elaborate what utilitarianism amounts to as described in
the textbook; (ii) provide four arguments not referenced in the textbook to
suggest that utilitarianism suffers from tensions/confusions/problems; and
(iii) defend utilitarianism on two grounds not offered by the textbook itself.
4) Kant’s Deontology – (i) elaborate Kant’s account of deontology (his
Categorical Imperative); (ii) outline four issues not referenced in the textbook
to argue that Kant’s deontology suffers from tensions/confusions/problems;
and (iii) defend Kant’s deontology on two grounds not offered by Kant
5) Virtue Ethics – (i) elaborate Aristotle’s account of virtue ethics; (ii) outline
four issues not referenced in the textbook to argue that virtue ethics suffers
from tensions/confusions/problems; and (iii) defend virtue ethics on two
grounds not offered by Aristotle himself or the textbook.
Choose two of the following:
6) “All Animals are Equal” by Singer – (i) elaborate Singer’s argument in this
piece; (ii) outline three issues not referenced in the textbook to argue that
Singer’s argument suffers from tensions/confusions/problems; and (iii)
defend Singer’s argument on three grounds not offered by Singer himself or
by the textbook.
7) “Animal Citizenship” by Donaldson and Kymlicka – (i) elaborate the
authors’ argument in this piece; (ii) outline three issues not referenced in the
textbook to argue that the authors’ argument suffers from
tensions/confusions/problems; and (iii) defend the authors’ argument on
three grounds not offered by the authors themselves or by the textbook.
8) Elaborate Stone’s argument; (ii) elucidate three issues not referenced in the
textbook to argue that the author’s argument suffers from
tensions/confusions/problems; and (iii) defend the author’s argument on
three grounds not offered by the author themselves or by the textbook.
Grades for tests are based on depth of analysis, novelty of the content,
whether the grammar is affecting the clarity of the claim that is attempting to
be put across, the quality of a student’s inferential and step by step
argumentation made explicit in their writing, ability to present
examples/analogies to produce arguments, ability to anticipate counterobjections to positions/arguments and answer them (when appropriate). I
also must take into account the presence and quality of all of these factors
compared to the same work turned in by other students.
1) When providing an elucidation of an article’s argument, do not provide a
sort of summary that is written in a kind of chronological sense. This is to
say, do not write it as you might a book report. Instead, try to isolate the
most pertinent concepts and claims and connect them together to produce an
account of how the authors premises/reasons/claims are connected to
produce a sub-conclusion/conclusion, or, where applicable, a series of subconclusions that lead to a final conclusion.
2) While elucidating, identify potential counter-arguments that the author(s)
anticipates and how those counter-arguments are addressed.
3) Try as much as possible to put ideas/arguments into your own words in
elucidating the article. If you are using the article’s words, you MUST quote
and cite appropriately.
4) When creating arguments, try as much as possible to come up with these
arguments on your own. You may borrow ideas here and there (and if so,
cite), but overall, the arguments should be your own. Anyone can use google.
5) When borrowing words and ideas, if the words are exact, they must be in
quotes and a citation must follow every sentence with borrowed words. There
should not just be one citation at the end of the argument/paragraph.
6) When writing arguments, you must be as explicit as possible in outlining
the reasons (premises) for your overall claim (argument). An argument is a set
of reasons, connected (and explain how they are connected), that lead to a
conclusion or final claim. Many of you left out parts of this recipe for an
argument. An argument=series of premises, inferentially linked, which lead to
a conclusion. By “inferentially linked”, I mean you must explain, explicitly,
how your premises lead to the conclusion you advance.
7) Many of you write using unclear referents. If you see a comment to the
effect of “ref?”, this means that the marker cannot tell to what some word or
concept you have written is referring. For instance, many of you write ‘it’,
‘this’, etc. in ways that leave it open as to what these words stand for or to
what they refer.
8) When producing arguments, consider a few possible objections and try to
respond to them.
9) When producing arguments, use analogies or examples to bolster your
10) When I’ve indicated that you should advance arguments not already
anticipated or addressed by the author(s) themselves, I really do mean it!
11) In the case of some of you, your grammar really does affect the reader’s
ability decipher your claims. Please use spell check, the multiple free
grammar checks that are available online, or have someone proofread your
written work prior to submitting it.
12) As I have separated the “questions” with sub-numbering – i.e., (i), (ii), etc.
– please include the sub-numbering in answering the test so that the reader
can clearly and quickly identify which part of the “question” to which you are
13) Try to make it clear where your are paraphrasing someone else’s view and
where your view begins/ends.
AGAIN, IF YOU ARE USING EMPIRICAL DATA/BORROWING OTHERS
WORDS/IDEAS, YOU MUST CITE AFTER EACH SENTENCE WHEREIN YOU ARE
DOING SO. PLEASE SEE “ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT AND PROCEDURES IN THE
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