And some additional info about the paper: (gratefully adapted from an email the other TA., Prof, Colebrook, send to students in his recitations)
What’s the paper about?
As Dr. Appiah discussed in class today, for this final paper, you’re being given a wide latitude to write an in-depth, argumentative essay on the subject of your choosing. The only limitations are that (1) it must be about gender, human rights, or economic inequality, either in a national or international context, and (2) it must include some of the philosophical thought of at least two of the traditions we’ve covered (Confucian, Islamic, or “Western”/Liberal).
How will I be grading it?
I will use the same rubric I used to evaluate the midterm papers for this essay. You can consult your midterm papers for details on this.
Where do I start?
Here are a few pointers on how to get started. (None of what I say here is necessary for the paper, just suggestions).
1. Start with a specific human right or moral claim. The UDHR is a great place to begin.
2. Pick a human right. For example, the UDHR guarantees the right to freedom of religion.
3. Pick two or three of the traditions we’ve covered. In my case, I’d compare, say, a liberal perspective on freedom of religion and an Islamic perspective on freedom of religion.
4. Formulate a thesis. For example, “in this paper, I will argue that freedom of religion, conceived of as a human right guaranteed in the UDHR, is both (a) a non-negotiable element of human dignity and (b) incompatible with basic Koranic obligations and the Islamic tradition of commanding and forbidding.” This thesis should be argumentative. You ought to take a stand, and argue in favor of one perspective’s interpretation or for your own new perspective. Papers that simply list what each tradition would say on an issue would be inadequate. In formulating your thesis, remember that the narrower your thesis, the easier it will be to defend. Narrow theses are the bread and butter of philosophy papers!
5. Assemble the textual support for this thesis. Go through the syllabus and compile each of the articles that we’ve covered that is relevant to this thesis – both the required and supplemental readings.
6. Reference your notes for broad outlines of arguments that are relevant to your thesis. In this case, I’d want to use at least Kant, Rawls, and Singer to put together an argument for (a) above, and Cook’s work to put together the argument for (b) above.
7. As you’re putting together these arguments, refer back to the texts we’ve covered to draw useful quotes that support your claims.
How do I cite it?
You must include a bibliography and in-line citations for any direct quotation or paraphrase. I recommend APA format, though any recognized format, applied consistently, is acceptable. Failing to properly cite your sources could lead to, in the extreme, failing the paper, and therefore failing the class, with no opportunity for a rewrite.