argumentative paper

Paper 1: You need to write a roughly 1500 word argumentative paper, answering one and only one of the questions given below. But first, some tips:

o Tip 1: Remember, this is an argumentative paper, not a reflection or research paper. That means that the primary purpose is to give reasons to support the idea that some conclusion is true (the conclusion will be your answer to the question you pick). I don’t grade on what your conclusion is, I grade on how well you support that conclusion. It’s your reasons that matter, that’s what I really look at.

o Tip 2: When I say “1500 words” I mean that I expect an amount of detail in your paper that will probably take you about 1500 words to do. Shorter papers can be good, but it’s more likely that you don’t have enough detail in your argument.

o Tip 3: I don’t require you to use outside sources. But if you do use outside sources, just make sure that they’re relevant and cite them in your paper. I don’t particularly care what format the citation is in (MLA, footnote, parenthetical documentation, whatever), as long as the bibliographic information is there. If you take a direct quote from somewhere, put quotation marks at the beginning and end and tell me where it came from. If you’re citing to the course textbook, all I need is the page number and some indication that it comes from the textbook. If you have questions email me.

o Tip 4: If you’re going to cite to anything, primary sources are usually better than secondary ones. If you’re talking about Confucianism, it’s usually better to cite to the Analects than some other person talking about the Analects.

o Tip 5: You’re allowed to use first person pronouns. It’s ok to say “I think,” “I believe,” and so on.

o Tip 6: If you don’t like your grade on the paper, you’ll have a chance to rewrite. Whichever of the two grades is higher will be the grade that counts, unless I find plagiarism in one of them. I try to give comments that point out what you did right and especially what you did wrong, so that you can fix those mistakes if you choose to rewrite.

o Tip 7: The paper is meant to show me that you understand one of these philosophies well enough to apply it meaningfully and thoughtfully in a situation that we haven’t talked about. It’s not about what you personally think the answer to the question is, but rather about what you think the theory says the answer the question is.
o Tip 8: I don’t want a conclusion that boils down to “different people think different things.” I know that, and I don’t care. Pick a position and defend it.
And now, the questions for paper one! Pick one and only one of the following to answer:

o Question 1: An elderly man, James, is murdered. During the autopsy, doctors discover that James was HIV-positive for over twenty years but never developed AIDS, suggesting that he had some kind of genetic resistance to it. Studying his body might yield information that could lead to a cure, vaccine, or new treatment for the disease. James’ family, however, refuses to grant permission for his body to be used for medical research, will not change their mind, and evidence exists that James himself would not have consented to such research either. Using one and only one of the following theories (Confucianism, Yangism, Mohism, or Daoism), determine what is the morally correct thing for the doctors to do in this situation.

o Question 2: ISIS is a terrorist organization that has taken over and is running parts of Iraq and Syria. In addition to handling basic functions of government (utilities, police, etc.), it is responsible for multiple atrocities, keeps slaves, and has destroyed major (non-Islamic) cultural sites. Using one and only one of the following theories (Confucianism, Yangism, Mohism, or Daoism), determine what we as Americans ought to have do about them, if anything. Creativity is encouraged. Actual knowledge of ISIS and its Middle East context is required to answer the question well; if you don’t know anything about either other than what I’ve described here, be sure to do some research before writing your paper.

o Question 3: Scarcity is the great problem of human governance. It would be wonderful if we had the resources to do everything we wanted, but we don’t. As a result, we often need to make difficult decisions about what projects to prioritize.

For this question, assume that we have the resources to accomplish one of the following goals: develop our space program to the point where we can send manned, round-trip missions to Mars (and perhaps even further in the future); or ensure that no one in this country dies due to lack of food or medical care. Trying to do both will just ensure that we accomplish neither. Also assume that resources cannot be shifted from other areas (military, education, etc.). Using one and only one of the following theories (Confucianism, Yangism, Mohism, or Daoism), determine which project is the appropriate one to devote our resources to.