For your Final Paper assignment, you will be writing a \”position paper\”: this is a research paper in which you will address a particular issue introduced in the topic of the paper (see below for the list of topic choices). It should be written in a formal style, in the third-person voice, and it will present your original, considered solution or unique approach to solving the problem or settling the issue in question. It will be your opinion, but the main point of writing a position paper is to let others know not just your opinion or point of view on an issue, but also to know the reasons why you hold this point of view. The presentation of your \”reasons why,\” in other words, the sum of evidence you find to support your position, plus a statement of the position itself, comprises what philosophers call an \”argument.\” This kind of paper is also known as an \”argumentative essay.\” A philosophical argument is simply giving reasons (the premises of the argument) for why a particular claim (the conclusion of the argument) should be taken as true.
It is important for you to state your thesis, which, again, is your position on the issue in question, clearly and unequivocally at the beginning of the paper. Note that you may adopt some sort of middle ground, as opposed to taking a strictly \”pro\” or \”con\” stance, but you will have to carefully explain and delineate such a position since simply saying that both sides get some things right and hence they also get some things wrong, could lead to your supporting a logically inconsistent view. A strong thesis is one that is both specific and significant: this means that the claim you are making, the position you are defending, is one with which an informed thinker may disagree. If your thesis merely states the obvious, or asserts what most people accept as common knowledge, it is not significant. This is a relatively short paper, so be sure to appropriately narrow the focus of your thesis so that you can accomplish what you need to do in the space allowed.
The paper should be somewhere between 1500 and 2000 words, or about 5-7 typewritten, double-spaced pages. You should include at least three citations from the course text (Rosenstand. The Moral of the Story: An Introduction to Ethics, 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012), and two sources external to the course text. In addition to the external sources, you are encouraged to use the contemporary and historical sources we have studied throughout the course as well as the illustrative narratives included in the course text in supporting your thesis or considering opposing or alternative views. Also, you are free to bring in personal experience if it is relevant to your argument. This means that you may use the first-person voice if it makes sense in your exposition. Otherwise, stick to the third-person voice; avoid use of the second person (you, your, etc.).The paper should be written using MLA, APA, or CMS documentation style, with a type font similar to Times New Roman, 12 point. Be sure to cite all sources both within the text of the paper as well as on a works-cited page (MLA), list of references (APA), or bibliography (CMS). Avoid fancy fonts and flashy document-template formats, but you may include images, graphs, charts, or diagrams if they help establish a point. Be sure you have included all of the elements essential to the position paper or argumentative essay format.
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