First, watch the Crash Course Philosophy #37: Contractarianism video
Second, read Chapter 4 in Matthews and Hendricks: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? ON EGOISM AND SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY (https://press.rebus.community/intro-to-phil-ethics/ (Links to an external site.)).
Third, prepare your Short Paper 4 (1-2 typed pages, full directions below) covering the following topics:
Why should we continue to follow moral rules in cases where following them would not in fact be in our personal best interest?
1. Describe in your own words these three schools of Ethics:
Psychological Egosim, Ethical Egoism, and Social Contract Theory
A. Name at least one philosopher that supports each of these schools.
B. For each school, be sure to explain at least one stength and one weakness.
2. Prisoner’s Dilemma
A. Summarize in your own words
B. Explain how it relates to Social Contract Theory
3. Conclude by telling me your honest opinion-
Why should we (or shouldn’t we) continue to follow moral rules in cases where following them would not in fact be in our personal best interest?
General instructions for Short Papers are pasted below:
The purpose of the Short Papers is threefold. First, it helps you demonstrate your evolving mastery of the course outcomes. Second, it gives you a chance to clarify your thinking around the overall theme of the course. And third, it encourages you to keep up with the course material!
Here is what you need to do:
Give your paper an interesting, descriptive title. You must use at least one quote from the assigned reading/ video, no longer than a sentence. Cite the page number, no need for a bibliography. You may use up to three quotes, but at least 80% of the paper needs to be in your own words. You may NOT quote another source in the short paper- this will happen in the final case study. Since there is no lecture, this assures me that you have read and understood the content of the course. You must therefore have some mention of at least three different sections of the readings/ video. Later you will be asked to connect the current topic with previous readings.
You will be given more specific instructions week by week, but the main point is to show that you are considering the content, rather than memorizing it. You may be asked to quote what you most agreed with/ disagreed with in the reading and explain why. Make sure they are your reasons, but that they are believable. DO NOT SIMPLY REPEAT THE SUMMARY AND ATTACH YOUR PREFERENCES! Telling me that you agree is not telling me why you agree.
Proofread your paper BEFORE you submit it. The best way to do this is to read it out-loud to yourself. You will catch more mistakes this way. Also, if it sounds funny to you (and isn’t a quote), it probably reads funny to me! If you’re having trouble, consider going to the virtual Writing Center (appointment needed).
When this is all done, you should have something between 400 and 600 words. That is at least one full page, but no more than two. Use TNR 12, double-spaced with 1-inch margins.
Here are some more tips and guidelines:
- Please double-space; it’s easier on the eyes! Failure to double-space will lose you 2 points off of style. Please set your word processor to do this. Hitting Enter at the end of each line, like you are on your grandmother’s old typewriter, is tedious for you and annoying for me! Doing that will lose 2 points off of style as well! (If you think that this happened because of conversion to Rich Text Format, please let me know.)
- Once you write the first paper, review my comments on the corrected version before you write the second paper. I tend to get increasingly impatient when people make the same sorts of mistakes repeatedly.
- Remember, your reflection needs to be your own, but is not definitive. If we had the definitive word on these things, you would be studying them in a science class!
- Try your best to keep your argument free of logical fallacies. Of course, this is not logic class, so this is something of a moving target. But at the very least, I identify that you have committed some kind of fallacy on one paper, you should not repeat it on others.
- Did I mention proofreading?
- Have a title relevant to the content of your paper.
- Style: The paper is written in a style appropriate to a college Humanities class, with proper grammar, spelling, word use, sentence structure, paragraph structure, etc. All quotes are properly cited, using last name of the author and page. Previous style comments have been followed.
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