Universal Significance

You will write a 1000-1500 word response to your chosen paper topic from the list below. 

This assignment is worth 300 points, or 30% of your grade. 


Learning Objectives:

Students  will demonstrate their ability to construct arguments about issues of  both personal and universal significance. Their writing should  demonstrate that they can construct cogent, concise, and logically  coherent arguments.


Students  should demonstrate that they can distinguish the relevant points that  form a logically coherent argument. They should also be able to  construct criticisms which effectively undermine, through the use of  appropriate counter-examples, some premise of that argument. 

Your assignment is to read any ONE of the following four articles:

The Frivolity of Evil  

How and How Not to Love Mankind  

What We Have to Lose  

Roads to Serfdom  

Then,  FOR THE ARTICLE YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE ON, you will type a 1000-1500 word  response in which you address EACH of the following points IN YOUR OWN WORDS:  

1) What is the author’s main argument?

2) How does he support his main  argument (evidence, ancillary arguments, etc.)? 3) Do you agree or  disagree with him?

4) Why or why not?

5) Apply the insights of at least  two of the readings we have studied in this course (in chapters 1-9) to  your analysis. Make sure to give a substantive explanation of how the philosophers’ insights are relevant to the topic you are discussing.

A WORD OF WARNING: These articles are rather long and complex. The author likes to make extensive use of his rather copious vocabulary. The purpose of this  essay assignment is for you to demonstrate your ability to discuss,  analyze, and evaluate complex philosophic arguments. 

Please use MLA format.

Your paper will be graded according to the following rubric:

Grading Rubric:

The following standards are numbered in order of importance for grading. 

1.Essay demonstrates an understanding of the material:  The student has correctly grasped a philosophical problem or question,  has explained it accurately, and on the basis of a substantially correct  interpretation of any texts involved. Key terms are used correctly. The  essay shows evidence of the student’s independent thought, and is written in his or her distinctive voice. Short (one  sentence) quotations are used (comprising no more than 10% of the body  of the paper), when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis, and  an explanation is offered for each quotation. The use of block quotations will result in a severe point deduction.

95 points

2.Essay has clear and coherent argument:  There is a clearly stated thesis, and support for this thesis in the  body of the paper. Each paragraph contributes to this argument, and  follows logically from the paragraph before it. The argument presented  is persuasive. The insights of two other philosophers are incorporated  into the analysis.

95 points

3.Essay fulfills assigned task:  The essay addresses the entire assigned question or topic, elaborating  on important ideas in satisfactory depth, but without bringing in  anything extraneous or irrelevant. The introduction of the essay focuses  and provides clarity for the paper. Important terms are clearly and  accurately defined. Each paragraph conveys a coherent, organized  thought. Short (one sentence) quotations are  occasionally used, when appropriate, to support the writer’s analysis,  and an explanation is offered for each quotation. No more than 10% of  paper is made up of direct quotes. No block quotations. 

40 points

4.Essay obeys standards for good persuasive writing:  the writer shows that he or she is comfortable using philosophical  language, and the prose is clear, not awkward. The structure of the  sentences reflects the relationships between/among the ideas discussed. 

40 points

5.Essay is technically correct:  The essay has been carefully and thoughtfully proofread. The argument  is written in complete sentences, with punctuation that does not mislead  the reader. There are no mistakes in spelling, grammar, word choice,  and punctuation.    

 30 points

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