Essay Instructions: Three important sub-disciplines of philosophy are addressed in this course; ethics, epistemology, and religion. For this paper you will develop an argument that includes your own view on one specific topic relating to one of these sub-disciplines. A list of topics to choose from is listed below. It is recommended that you choose a topic to write on that you have already encountered, or that you have thought about previously. (One way of thinking about this is to think of an issue that worries you, interests you, or enrages you.)
For instance, if you choose to write about whether children should be spanked (this is only an example), you would present the argument for spanking and against spanking; you would then state your position relative to this issue and defend your own view. You would also utilize the theories that we saw in the ethics chapter to provide support for your position, and draw on those theories to clarify the debate itself.
You may choose a topic from ethics, epistemology, or religion, but you will need to make sure you do the following for whatever topic you choose:
Identify the specific issue
Make clear one basic dispute over this issue
Clarify the arguments on both sides of the issue
State which side of the issue you find to be better defended
Explain why you find that side of the debate superior
State your own view, and defend it with an argument
Provide at least two references for each side of the debate
In order to write a strong paper, you will need to clearly and specifically present both sides of the debate using at least five (5) academic resources in addition to the course text. .
The Final Paper:
Must be eight to ten double-spaced pages in length (excluding the title page, reference page, etc.) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the approved style guide.
Must include a cover page that includes:
Course name and number
Name of paper
Must include an introductory paragraph with a succinct thesis statement.
Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph.
Must use APA style as outlined in the approved style guide to document all sources.
Must include at least five (5) references (other than the textbook).
Must include, on the final page, a Reference List that is completed according to APA style as outlined in the approved style guide.
Should the death penalty be outlawed in the United States ??" or at the very least should there be a moratorium on the death penalty until serious flaws and injustices can be addressed? Or should capital punishment be continued just as it presently is because it does deter violent crimes and murders? This paper presents opposing views on one of the most controversial issues in recent American history ??" but this paper does not take a position on the issue.
According to a 2010 Gallup Poll, about 64% of Americans responding to this question (“Are you in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?”) embraced the death penalty (Gallup, 2010, p.1). The percentage of Americans that favor the death penalty has remained fairly consistent through the years: in 2002 it was 68%; in 2003 70% were in favor; from 2004 through 2006 64% favored the death penalty; the percentage in favor went up to 69% in 2007 and back down to 64% in 2008 (Gallup, p.1).
Gallup’s polling people asked participants if the death penalty is imposed frequently enough; 49% said it is not used often enough while 26% said it is used too often. As far as political parties are concerned, 78% of Republicans support the death penalty, 66% of independents support it and 55% of Democrats support the death penalty (Gallup, p.2).
Meanwhile, according to the Texas Law Review (Steiker, et al, 2010), the number of states that have capital punishment on the books is thirty-six, along with the federal government; of the thirty-six states with capital punishment, twenty-four presently have “at least ten inmates on death row” and nineteen of the thirty-six states have carried out “at least ten executions” in the past forty years (Steiker, p.368). The number of executions has declined over the past few years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center; to wit, in 1998 there were 98 executions but that number shrank to 53 executions in 2006, 42 executions in 2007, 34 in 2008 and 46 in 2010 (deathpenaltyinfo.org).
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) takes the position that the death penalty violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment. The ACLU also asserts that the death penalty violates the “guarantees of due process of law and of equal protection under the law.” Actually the ACLU presents eight “objections” to the death penalty.
The first objection (violation of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment), the ACLU asserts, is because the policy is “barbaric” and that “executions have no place in civilized society.” The second objection: “Opposing the death penalty does not mean sympathy with convicted murderers,” the ACLU writes. Murder is “abhorrent” the ACLU agrees, but on the other hand “a policy of state-authorized killings is immoral”; and it is not a good solution for America’s social problems.
The third objection was reflected in the first paragraph of this paper ??" capital punishment denies due process of law because “…Its imposition is often arbitrary, and always irrevocable, forever depriving an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence…” Objection number four: the death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection because “It is applied randomly and discriminatorily” and is imposed “disproportionately upon those whose victims are white, offenders are people of color, and on those who are poor and uneducated.” The fifth objections is that “Changes in death sentencing have proved to be largely cosmetic…[and] merely mask the impermissible randomness of a process that results in an execution.”
The sixth objection: the death penalty does not reduce crime; politicians preach about crime control using capital punishment as a symbol of their toughness but they “deceive the public.” Number seven: capital punishment “wastes resources”; it “unduly burdens the criminal justice system and…thus is counterproductive.” And the eighth objection: “A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings” (ACLU, p.3).
Conservative columnist, political activist, associate professor of political economy (at George Wythe College) and blogger Steve Farrell offers 11 reasons why the death penalty is fair and just. One, “Murder is a crime for which…the victim has no voice”; two, “Murder is a crime for which no payment by the criminal will ever fully satisfy the debt incurred”; and three, the “legitimate role of government involves the protection of life, liberty and property…[and] the government is duty bound to inflict death” on those who could “slaughter fellow citizens in their own backyards” (Farrell,p.2). The fourth of Farrell’s reasons is that “Murder eventually revokes the full array of rights of citizenship”(and hence, when the jury declares death is the just punishment, the accused should have no right to appeal, but should die). The fifth Farrell point is that the death penalty is “not an act of revenge, it is an act of justice.”
Number six on Farrell’s list is that the use of DNA in capital cases “strengthens” the search for guilt or innocence, so mistakes are less likely and the guilty will be put to death; number seven: saying that rich people get off because they have high-priced lawyers, and racial profiling, are “poor excuses to eliminate the death penalty.” Number eight: “Life imprisonment is a poor, immoral substitute for the death penalty”; number nine: when the death penalty is used “swiftly” it “deters the commission of murder,” Farrell writes. Number ten: A society that “honors the sanctity of life by putting to death those who are destroyers of life is not murderous but Godly”; and lastly, Farrell’s number eleven: God (through the Ten Commandments) established the law for the death penalty and “His law is good” (Farrell,2005).
American Civil Liberties Union. (2010). The Case Against the Death Penalty. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www.aclu.org
Farrell, Steve. (2005). A Conservative Case for Capital Punishment. Newsmax. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/3/17/143817.shtml.
Gallup Poll. (2010). In U.S., 64% Support Death Penalty in Cases of Murder. http://www.gallup.com.
Steiker, Carol S., and Steiker, Jordan M. (2010). Part II: Report to the ALI Concerning Capital Punishment. Texas Law Review, 89(2), 367-421.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: This is an argumentative/persuasive paper
If any newspaper or magazine is used as reference for this paper it should not have been published before 1997 and be presented in accordance with the Modern Language Association(MLA) standard.
Acknowledge other people''s perceptions then refute it. Don''t offend anybody, simply educate them at the same trying to persuade them to be on your side.
TYPES OF EVIDENCE
Evidence such as facts, statistics, observations, testimony of experts/opinion should be carefully chosen to best support the thesis according the purpose, and audience. In other words, how will the essay appeal to the reader?
I. Logical Appeal
A. Appeal to the intellect
B. Relies on factual, objective, clear and relevant evidence
C. Example: Stop smoking because it causes cancer
II Emotional Appeal
A. Appeal to heart and emotions
B. Choose language, facts, quotes examples, images that evoke emotional responses
C. Example: A vivid description of a beaten child.
D. Emotional appeal must be honest and substantiated
II Ethical Appeal
A. Appeal to the sense of fairness and trust.
B. Present evidence in a manner that makes the reader trust you, respect your judgement, and believe what you have to say.
C. Establish your credentials in the field or any experience on the subject.
D. Example: Issues in grammar from an English professor
There should be no common mistakes in thinking that could lead to wrong conclusions: weak arguments for example;
? Error of stating a claim that does not follow from your first premise (the statement you began with) eg "Marge should marry Jergus. Why, in high school he got all A''s" This is irrelevant!
? Offer neat and easy solutions for large and complicated problems(no oversimplification). Eg, "If we want to do away with drug abuse, let''s get rough. Let''s sentence every drug user to life imprisonment." All drug?.
? Post hoc ergo Procter hoc ("after this therefore because of this"): assumes a cause and effect relationship where there is none. Just because one event precedes another in time doesn''t mean the one cause the other. "All superstitions"
? Allness: Stating or implying something is true of an entire class of things. "All students enjoy studying." Avoid words such as, everyone, no one, always, never etc
? Begging the question: setting out to prove a statement already taken for granted; repeating in different words what you''ve already said. He is a liar because he isn''t telling the truth" Happiness is the state of being happy."
? Proof by example: (or too few examples): overgeneralizing. "Bolivians are great violists. My mother-in-law is Bolivian, and she can play!" Basis of prejudiced.
? Either/or reasoning: a special brand of simplified thinking by assuming there are only two sides to a question (yes/no, true/false). Only two possible solutions to a problem, only one of which is acceptable. "Either we impose more guns regulations or deal with the destruction."
? Arguments from dubious authorities: unidentified authority is used unairly. "According to some of the most knowing scientist in America, smoking two packs a day is as harmless as eating a couple of oatmeal cookies. So let''s all smoke" Also doubt an authority whose expertise lies outside the subject being considered.
? Argument ad hominem (from the Latin, "against the man"): Attacking an individual''s opinion by attacking his or her character. Politics; elections! Eg, President Clinton.
? Argument from ignorance: maintain that because a claim has not been disproved, it has to be accepted, eg, the existence of ghosts. Also, just because a claim has not being disproved does not mean you reject it.
? Argument by analogy: using a metaphor as though it were evidence. "People were born free as the birds. It''s cruel to expect them to work". There are more differences than similarities between birds and people. Because they are alike in one way doesn''t mean they are alike in every way.
? Bandwagon argument: tries to persuade the reader to jump on the bandwagon, appealing to the human desire to belong. "Everyone''s doing it!" This argument is frequently used in arguments referring to happiness, success, or reward. "If you think other wise, you are misinformed and need to change your mind."
MISUSED OF LANGUAGE
Misused of language should be recognized and corrected. Here are some examples of misused of language;
? Lifting words or statements out of contexts. Purposefully distorting evidence such as movie critics and advertisers. "A tremendous flop with the only real suspense being whether the audience would stay until the end."
? Equivocating: Using a word more than one sense in the same context (fair/fair).
? Weasel words: Words to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or opinion. Words can "make you hear things aren''t being said, accept as truths things that have only been implied, and things that have been suggested."
? Doublespeak or obfuscating: Using language to hide the truth, either by using a series of meaning generalities or by using terms and phases unfamiliar to readers. For example, the Pentagon refers to bombs and artillery shells that fall on civilian targets as "incontinent ordinance" and the neutron bomb as a "radiation enhancement device"
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: This essay will analyze and synthesize opposing views on an issue. This assignment is not a persuasive paper. Instead, you will research the pro and con views of a topic and present your findings.
Topic: Should capital punishment be abolished?
Length: 1300-1500 words (5-6 pages of text) double-spaced
MLA Documentation: Include a minimum of four sources, and at least three must be from the UMUC online library
MLA Format - Outline: You do not need to include an outline with your paper. (You will need to include an outline in Essay #3, however.)
Thesis: Capital punishment should be abolished because it does not deter violent criminal activity, is more costly than alternative punishment (life imprisonment), and may lead to the execution of innocent people.
(Although it is not MLA format, please underline your thesis statement.)
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Excerpt From Essay:
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