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.
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