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Essay#2 Social Sciences Essay Research Paper Coursework (Essay Sample)


1 Essay #2 Assignment Information v Pages: 6 pages v Due Date: Saturday, February 22nd at 11:59 PM v Format: Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced, 1” margins, Microsoft Word format. Upload to Brightspace. v Do not put your name on the paper; grading will be anonymous. v Do not use outside scholarly sources. v Late policy: For each day that the assignment is late, 10 points will be deducted. Each student gets one late pass for contingencies and emergencies (with no penalty)—you do not need to specify a reason. Use the late pass only if necessary, as you will not get another one. v Revision policy: You will have the opportunity to revise the essay; per the “W” requirements, you have to revise at least one paper in the class. If you choose to revise, please review the revision requirements/policies handout on Brightspace. v Please email me at if you have any questions; I’m available to meet anytime or during my office hours. Objectives Essay #2 is essentially a test for the content of Unit 2: the goal is to demonstrate familiarity with the ethical theories on offer. However, not only will you have to understand the relevant course content, but you will have to be able to engage with the philosophical positions we’ve studied. The assignment asks you to position yourself between them and form a position of your own. An “A” paper will get the details of the philosophical theories correct, use them to think through the applied issue, and articulate an original contribution to the ongoing conversation. Below, you have two separate options for your paper. Prompt Read the attached op-ed from The New York Times. Write an essay in which you consider possible egoist and utilitarian responses to Karin’s opinion. Think of these camps as having a debate about what Karin ought to do. Your task is to offer your own original contribution to the debate between these two theories by addressing their reasoning. While you will not resolve the larger debate between egoists and utilitarians in its entirety, you can speak back to these views by offering a thesis statement that either objects to one of the views (egoism or utilitarianism), or defends one of these views from the other’s possible objections (e.g. defending an egoist from a utilitarian critique). Please see me if you are having difficulty formulating a thesis. A possible (your paper is not REQUIRED to look like this) structure for the essay could look like: 2 Intro < 1 Page Write an introductory paragraph in which you frame the debate. The way that you set up the debate will depend on what you’re trying to do in the paper, but it should look something like: “An egoist would say Karin’s lifestyle is justified for X reasons. A utilitarian would disagree, claiming that Y. In my paper, I will argue that Z.” Sample Theses Statements: Ø “The utilitarian (or egoist) view suffers from problem X, seen in the example of Karin.” Ø “While utilitarians would likely criticize the egoist point-of-view on Karin for Y reason, I will answer these objections by Z.” Ø “One way in which the utilitarian view fares better than the egoist view, in the case at hand, is Y (or vice versa).” Part 1 1-2 Pages Begin by framing the view that you are looking to critique. Let’s say that you are going to object to the egoist perspective. What would an egoist defense of Karin’s lifestyle look like? Give the reader a general overview of the egoist philosophical framework (its guiding principles, values, etc). Be sure to go beyond the obvious in your representation of the egoist’s view; the goal is to embody the egoist and make his argument as convincing as possible (e.g. don’t say something like “The egoist would say Karin ought to do whatever is in her own self-interest, so having a Hummer is morally acceptable if she determines it would be best for her.”) Part 2 1-2 Pages To counter the egoist, introduce the opposing Utilitarian perspective. Again, begin by explaining utilitarianism as a philosophy. What are its guiding values and principles? How might a utilitarian object to the egoist point-of-view re: Karin? Take on the utilitarian’s perspective and make your argument as convincing as possible. * Note that Part 1 and Part 2 can be reversed, depending on which view you are critiquing or defending. If you’re critiquing the Utilitarian, then it would make more sense to present them first, followed by the egoist. * Part 3 2-3 Pages The final part of your paper will be the original part of the paper where you argue for your own view. Perhaps you will defend the egoist (or the utilitarian) against an objection. Alternatively, you could assess how one of the above perspectives is superior or fares better in regard to a specific, desirable aspect of moral theory or practice (e.g. honoring a specific value that we ought to care about for some independent reason). These are just a few options. 3 Conclusion < 1 Page Wrap up the essay by briefly reiterating your position. Consider any unanswered questions, lingering thoughts, possible implications, future avenues for inquiry, or other things that might be relevant for the reader to make sense of why your argument is significant (or perhaps limited). Criteria for an “A” Paper An “A” paper will: Ø Explain the moral theories correctly. Ø Use the moral theories to talk about the applied case in a nuanced way, demonstrating a full understanding of their respective rationales. Ø Express and defend an original objection or defense of the views; or otherwise analyze or defend the views by way of the case at hand (e.g. by evaluating their strengths and/or weaknesses as moral theories which attempt to deliver normative claims about what we ought to do in specific situations). Ø Execute a thorough, well-reasoned argument that will constitute at least 2 ½-3 pages of the paper. The paper will exemplify the other general criteria for “A” papers. Strong Work Needs Development Inadequate Thought/ Thesis/ Argument Explicit insightful thesis; careful original argumentation; compelling reasoning with solid evidence; real attempt to respond to possible objections. Thesis somewhat unclear or uninteresting; excessive summary; some logical missteps; cursory response to objections. Obscure or no thesis; little to no argument; lots of unsupported opinion; no original insight. Clarity & Organization Logical ordering of ideas; easy to follow train of thought; transparent reasoning; each paragraph expresses a single idea clearly. Ideas presented in somewhat confusing order; logic of paper as a whole not obvious; somewhat bloated paragraphs. Little or no logical ordering of ideas; stream of consciousness; no purpose evident in paragraphs; not readily understandable. Mechanics/ Diction/ Language Almost flawless grammar, spelling and word choice; great fluency; natural transitions; meaning is transparent; precise language. Grammar, spelling, word choice need attention; sentences lacking clarity; somewhat wordy; some syntax errors. These problems begin to impede understanding. Many grammar, spelling, word choice problems; many sentences unclear or unintelligible; wordy; numerous syntax errors. Problems prevent understanding. TRAVEL | DRIVING DRIVING; My Life, My Hummer By KARIN STRICKLAND SEPT. 26, 2003 WHO -- Karin Strickland, 50-plus, retired, Tacoma, Wash. WHAT -- 2002 Hummer H2 When I started driving my Hummer, I was afraid I would be subject to obscene gestures. It was December 2002, and all that anti-S.U.V. sentiment was starting to boil over. I really expected to get some attitude. True, the H2 gets about 13 miles to the gallon, but I am not a wasteful American. I was born in Germany, where we have to conserve gas because it's so expensive. I don't drive around the parking lot at the mall for 15 minutes, looking for the closest space. If I need to do an errand near my home, I'll ride my bicycle. I'm an outside person; I love trees, I love nature. If those anti-S.U.V. groups want to come after me, they've got the wrong person. Besides, who are they to dictate? It's like the smoking issue. My European friends are always appalled at how strict antismoking rules are in the United States. I once had someone in a bar tell my friend to put out her cigarette. If someone told me to get rid of my S.U.V., I would really question his sanity. I recently became an American citizen, but if I don't have the freedom to decide what's good for me, then maybe we have the wrong country right now. But most people have been very positive about the car. The shape of it -- the bigness, the boxiness -- does something to women. It looks like a big toy, and it makes people smile. My Hummer is a wonderful metallic pewter color. I'm completely in love with it. A friend is madly in love with the yellow one, but I didn't want to make that much of a statement. I thought, that size and yellow? I don't own it as a fashion thing. I travel to Idaho and Montana regularly and need a car that drives well on the freeway as well as off-road. The first month I had it my husband and I drove over Snoqualmie Pass in a blizzard. Tractor-trailers were barreling by, the snow was blowing sideways, and the road was icing up. In conditions like that, the H2 comes in very handy. This weekend I'm going to a ''Hummer Happening,'' sponsored by my dealer, McCann Hummer, where I can learn to drive my H2 off-road. I'm the type who falls in love with a car and never lets go. I learned to drive in the late 50's in my father's Volkswagen Beetle; I had it for years. In 1971 I fell in love with a Mercedes 280 SL. We spent our youth together, we grew old together, but eventually it was time to move on. I needed something more sturdy and dependable. When I saw the H2 at the 2002 Seattle car show, I couldn't get to it fast enough. Eventually I made my way through the crowd to the car. When I finally sat in it, I turned to this total stranger and said, ''I'm going to buy this car.'' Yet the first time I test-drove one, I was petrified. It was so huge that I worried I wouldn't be able to get it around a corner. I wanted a way out of the relationship. I thought, well, if it doesn't perform well, I can walk away from it. But that wasn't the case. The H2 drove beautifully, not like a big truck at all. The first time I had to parallel park, I swung that beast right into the spot and thought, oh my God, I did it! I'm only 5-foot-5, so getting into the H2 is like getting on a horse: I swing my legs up and hop in. When I bought it, a salesman said, ''We can put a step up there.'' I said, ''Are you kidding? I don't want a step. When I can't get into the car anymore, I'll sell it.'' But I expect to get into my Hummer forever. FACT SHEET All About the Hummer H2 BASE PRICE -- $48,455 for 2004 models. NICKNAME -- Baby Hummer. WHAT'S NEXT -- The H2 S.U.T. (sport utility truck), with a pickup bed, will be available next spring. The smaller, more fuel-efficient H3 will have its debut by 2006. NUMBER OF DEALERS IN THE UNITED STATES -- 152. NUMBER OF H2'S SOLD -- 41,422 since its debut in July 2002. DIMENSIONS -- 6,400 pounds, almost 16 feet long and 7 feet wide. COMPETITION -- Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover Range Rover. THE COMPANY -- The H2 is owned and designed by General Motors and made by AM General, a privately owned vehicle manufacturing company in Mishawaka, Ind. The granddaddy of the H2 is the Humvee, AM General's light tactical military vehicle, which attained star-car status during the first gulf war. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admired the Humvee, urged the company to make a civilian version and bought the first two Hummers that rolled off the production line in 1992. (That is now called the H1 and costs more than $100,000.) In 1999 G.M. bought the rights to the Hummer name from AM General and financed a new H2 factory next door to the Humvee and H1 plant. HOLLYWOOD CREDENTIALS -- Mr. Schwarzenegger -- the brand's unofficial spokesman and ''godfather'' -- owns a stable of Hummers. Responding to criticism that they gulp fuel like Gatorade, he said he planned to modify one using fuelcell technology. STAR TURNS -- David Caruso drives an H2 in the TV crime drama ''CSI: Miami.'' On the big screen, the H2 stars in a chase scene in ''Bad Boys II'' that leaves little but the Hummer standing. ECOLOGICAL BACKLASH -- Twenty Hummer H2's were destroyed in August when eco-terrorists torched a car dealership in West Covina, Calif. On a lighter note, a Sierra Club Web site,, lampoons the H2,


Hi You have a very solid first draft here. In your rewrite, I would encourage you to think about how to sharpen the argument to better meet the needs of the prompt. The prompt asks you to offer a thesis that either objects to (or defends) one of the two views on offer (egoism or utilitarianism). The thesis should be an articulation of a specific objection, or a defense against a specific objection. Looking at your argument, it looks like you are siding with the egoist: you think that decisions like what kind of car to buy are personal. Ultimately, whatever is right is whatever the individual deems fitting: “However, making a personal decision should mostly follow the egoist view since such decisions are made to meet an individual’s goals and interests. The chances are high that if a person makes a personal decision by pleasing the majority, then they would end up making the wrong choice. The right decision is that which makes the decision-maker happy.” While that’s all well and good, it is a strong view to say that what morality demands is simply that each individual act in their own best interest. 

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