Essay – justice and civic life 200
Position Essay Assignment Justice and Civic Life 200, Sections J & L Spring Semester 2015
You must argue that state-sponsored eugenics is either (a) morally obligatory or (b) morally prohibited. That is, you must argue either that (a) the state is morally obligated to ensure that children yet to be born have better genes than they would naturally end up with if there were no intervention or (b) the state is morally prohibited from ensuring that children have better genes than they would naturally end up with if there were no intervention.
WARNING: Do not argue that state-sponsored eugenics is morally permissible but not morally obligatory.
WARNING: Do not consider practical difficulties such as the limits of our current knowledge of genetics, difficulties of fair and impartial administration of a state-sponsored eugenics program, or the possibility of government abuse motivated by racism or other false beliefs. Assume that (a) we have perfect knowledge of genetics, (b) the government can fairly and impartially administer a eugenics program, and (c) the program aims at genuine human good, not a racist or otherwise false theory of human good. Therefore, historical examples of eugenics are not relevant. No reasonable person doubts that eugenics has motivated wrong actions in the past. The question is whether it is wrong even if it is not based on racism or false beliefs about eugenics.
WARNING: Do not focus on the possibility of parents deciding on the genes of their own future children. That would be “private eugenics,” not state-sponsored eugenics. The question as to whether the government should permit this is a different one.
What I am asking you to do in this paper is consider whether state-sponsored eugenics is ethically prohibited even if we make the assumptions described above in favor of eugenics, or whether, if we make those assumptions, that eugenics would be ethically obligatory.
1. Define ‘eugenics’ in your introductory paragraph. Stipulate that you will be talking only about state-sponsored eugenics and that you are making the assumptions outlined in the second warning above.
2. State whether you will argue that eugenics is morally obligatory or morally prohibited in your introductory paragraph. This is your thesis.
3. State your reasons in subsequent paragraphs. Each reason that supports your thesis should be the topic sentence of a paragraph.
4. Address objections in separate paragraphs. Doing this properly ensures that you are being fair to reasonable people who disagree with you. An objection is a reason someone would give for not believing what you say. There are many different possible objections to any thesis. Focus on the ones that are strongest (that is, the most plausible).
5. In your concluding paragraph, restate your thesis and your arguments. Do not make any new points in your concluding paragraph.
6. Use at least four separate academic sources.
7. Do not rely upon (that is, cite) the iBook introduction to make substantive points.
8. Do not dwell on Plato’s Republic.
9. Cite your sources using APA style. For a quick guide on how to use APA style, see the following link: http://lynn-library.libguides.com/apa.
10. Include a “Works Cited” page at the end using APA style.
11. The four academic sources you must cite should (a) be academic and (b) be four in number. An academic source is a source that has been peer-reviewed. The easiest way to tell if a source is peer- reviewed or not is to look it up in the Lynn University library catalog and see if the words “Peer – reviewed” are next to it. Ask me if you are not sure. Most of what you find on the internet is not peer-reviewed.
12. Do not use contractions.
13. Do not use slang.
14. Check for spelling errors and grammatical errors.
15. Use the Times New Roman font, 12-point size, double spaced. Do not have any extra spacing between lines.
16. Margins should be one inch on the top, bottom, left, and right.
17. Put your name and section letter at the top. Do not include any other information.
18. Give your paper a title, but it does not need to be interesting. You will not lose or gain points for a good title or a bad title. “Position Essay” is enough.
19. The body of your paper must be between 900 and 1200 words. This is approximately 3-4 pages formatted as described above. Papers that have fewer than 900 words will be penalized one point per 100 words too few, starting at 899. This word count does not include your name, the title, or your works cited page.
IV. Example Paper Outline
Do not turn in an outline. This is just an example of the structure of the kind of paper you should write. I am including this to illustrate some of the guidelines from above.
I. Introduction (one paragraph, no longer than necessary)
A. Definition of eugenics
B. Stipulation that you will be assuming x, y, and z (see second warning under II above). C. Your thesis: state-sponsored eugenics is either morally obligatory or morally prohibited
II. Argument 1 that supports your view (multiple paragraphs, at least one page)
A. Be as explicit as possible: “I have two arguments. First….”
B. You could have more than two arguments, but a paper this short may not have room to discuss more than three.
III. Argument 2 that supports your view (multiple paragraphs, at least one page)
IV. Objections to your arguments and your responses (below is an example for how this might go): A. Objection to Argument 1 and your response (at least one paragraph)
B. Objection to Argument 2 and your response (at least one paragraph)
D. You can discuss more objections if relevant
E. Be as explicit as possible: “Now I will discuss objections. First, someone might object that….”
V. Conclusion: restate your thesis and your arguments. Do not make any new points here (one paragraph, no longer than necessary).
VI. Works cited page
V. Grading Rubric
Introduction, Writing Strategy, Organization of Main Points
5 Follows all of guidelines 1-5.
4 Follows most but not all of guidelines 1-5.
3 Follows some of guidelines 1-5.
2 Follows at least one of guidelines 1-5.
1 Follows none of guidelines 1-5.
5 The paper contains a thesis statement which is clear, follows the prompt, and is the first sentence of the paper.
4 The thesis statement does not follow the prompt or is unclear.
3 The thesis statement neither follows the prompt nor is clear.
2 The thesis statement is not at the beginning of the paper.
1 The paper contains no thesis statement.
5 The arguments support the thesis, are clear, and are valid.
4 The arguments support the thesis but are either not clear or valid.
3 The arguments either do not support the thesis and are either not clear or not valid.
2 The arguments do not support the thesis, are not valid, and are not clear.
1 There are no arguments, only assertions.
5 Appropriate objections are stated and properly discussed.
4 Appropriate objections are stated but not all are properly discussed. 3 Appropriate objections are stated but not properly discussed.
2 Inappropriate objections are stated.
1 No objections are stated.
5 Statements that require support by citations are supported by citations.
4 A few statements that require support by citations are not supported by citations.
3 Some statements that require support by citations are not supported by citations.
2 Most statements that require support by citations are not supported by citations.
1 No statements that require support by citations are supported by citations.
5 APA style is properly used, both in text and in the works cited page.
4 There are minor errors in the citations in the text or on the works cited page.
3 There are serious errors in the citations in the text or on the works cited page.
2 There are citations in the text but no works cited page, or there is a works cited page but there are no citations in the text.