Your paper should be approximately 2200-2400 words. It is due on December 3rd, 2019 at 11:59pm. You must submit an electronic copy through TurnItIn on Blackboard. Make sure to submit your paper significantly earlier than 11:59pm, so you do not run into problems uploading it. You are to advance your own position about the moral standing of reparations, abortion, or pornography. Exactly what thesis you argue for is up to you. à If you have a novel argument for a certain position, you may develop and spell out that argument and defend it against objections. àIf you wish to support an argument by one of our authors, you may do that. To do well, you need to: 1. Refine your thesis. That is, you must state exactly which circumstances must obtain for reparations or abortion or pornography to be morally permissible or impermissible, and you must offer a rationale for your claim. a. E.g., On reparations, detail who would receive reparations, who would pay, and on what basis. b. On abortion, clarify your assumptions about the health of the mother and the fetus, how many weeks into the pregnancy, the moral status of the fetus (do you count it as a person having a right to life?, etc.). c. On pornography, explain what sort of pornography is under discussion, who the viewer is (if relevant), the principle underlying your moral thesis. 2. Draw upon and cite at least one additional academic source that we have not covered in the course of the semester. 3. Take into account some possibly analogous cases and explain why they are in fact analogous or disanalogous. a. For reparations, analogies to descendants of US slaves, reparations from Germany to Jews who were themselves in concentrations camps or whose family members were killed during the Holocaust and to Israel as a country for absorbing them or to Japanese-Americans interned during WWII. b. For abortion cases, analogies to violinists, boys eating boxes of chocolates, people seeds that fly in from windows with fine-mesh screens; parenting relations to children, the moral status of biological mothers and fathers to progeny. c. For pornography, free speech and hate speech, violent video games, regulations on models’ weight, Jim Crow era media and possibly restrictions on their distribution, human rights violations, prostitution and attitudes about prostitution, exercising freedoms to sexual preferences. 4. In aiming to establish your thesis, you should demonstrate an understanding of various distinctions and moral positions that we have covered in class, and cite the work of relevant authors from our readings (Coates on reparations, Thomson, Little for abortion; MacKinnon on pornography). 5. As in our last paper, you should use your knowledge of various positions to help establish your view or specify an important point against which you will have to defend your position, but you should not use the paper primarily as a vehicle to wield your knowledge of these positions. 6. Show the philosophical skills of argumentation that you developed over the course of our semester: carefully discuss problems for your position, and defend against them, always making sure to take up the most serious objections. 7. Empirical facts may be quite important to your argument. Make sure to use good sources and make clear the role that the empirical facts have within your argument. Here is a small sample of possible paper topics (not theses). These are only possibilities – feel free to craft your own: 1. Why the US government does/does not owe descendants of slaves reparations on the bases of redlining. 2. Why the US government does/does not owe descendants of slaves reparations on the basis of lost wages they would have inherited. 3. Why it is unjust for the US government to provide descendants of slaves reparations on the basis of redlining but is not unjust for the US government to have provided reparations to JapaneseAmericans in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. 4. Why only the descendants of southern plantation owners should pay reparations to descendants of slaves. 5. Why the biological relationship of parent to biological child is morally significant in the abortion debate. 6. The changing moral significance of the fetus as it develops through the pregnancy. 7. The moral significance of the woman’s reasons for an abortion (to go on vacation, to have enough financial resources for her current family, because she simply doesn’t want a child now, or ever). 8. A comparison of the moral standing of a late-term abortion verses infanticide right after the baby is born. 9. The moral significance of the biological father’s desires in the abortion debate. 10. The moral significance of the state of being pregnant and why it gives mothers special autonomy over their bodies, including the right to terminate. 11. The moral significance of the woman’s decision not to abort earlier in the pregnancy and how it impacts the morality of an abortion decision later in the pregnancy. 12. The moral significance of the parents wanting the child. 13. Why dissemination and watching of all child pornography is morally impermissible while dissemination and watching of all adult pornography (with consent) is permissible. 14. The role of consent is pornography – is doing it always a sign of full consent? [This is difficult and will require a fair bit of independent research on consent.] 15. A comparison of the moral standing of prostitution verses pornography (of such-and-such a type). 16. Why pornography should be protected/unprotected by the First Amendment. 17. A comparison of the moral standing of porn and violent racist propaganda for pleasure (e.g., computer generated lynching photos). 18. The moral significance of blatantly racist captions and stereotypes and of misogynistic slurs (‘slut’, ‘ho’) in porn. 19. A comparison of the moral standing of disseminating and ‘playing’ racist/anti-semitic video games like Ethnic Cleansing, and rape porn (‘gang bang’). 20. A comparison of the moral significance of gay porn verses mainstream hetero porn. 21. An account of the moral importance of full freedom of exploration of sexuality within porn, including BDSM.
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