common sense would probably also add W r i t i n g

common sense would probably also add W r i t i n g

Brooklyn College

Introduction to Philosophy

Prof. Moris Stern

Paper Assignment 3

Due: Monday, December 20th, midnight on Blackboard.  

I will make announcements on Blackboard about the email address and the date to which you need to email the claim you will work on and the breakdown of it into the necessity and sufficiency components.  I will work with you during this initial process to assist you in getting it right.

In this paper, you will articulate, defend, and evaluate a claim.  

Here are the claims you can choose from:

**** The claim and counterexamples should include and demonstrate mastery of what we studied with Rauhut.  Use Rauhut to generate justification for the claim and the counterexamples.  Do not respond to these questions just using common sense without employing Rauhut’s thought. ****

On Morals

1) Utilitarian maxmization of happiness in the world is required for morality

2) Kantian respect for autonomy of each person is required for morality

3) Developing and acting according to virtue is required for morality

Use the claim in question 4) of the paper.

Instructions: write a six-part part (but responding to twenty one questions) paper.  In Part One, you introduce the topic – What is the topic that is relevant for thinking about the human being.  Part Two consists of you articulating a claim relevant to the topic (from the list above, readings, exam, or review questions), that you want to spend time thinking about in this assignment.     In part three, you  defend that claim, or offer reasons why it makes sense.  In part Four, you offer a criticism of the claim from Part Two – you offer reasons why the claim is not likely to be true.  In Part Five, you evaluate your claim in light of the criticism – you state, after the consideration of the criticism, the reasons why the claim is or is not likely to be true.  In Part Six, you reflect on what you have done: a conclusion about what you have learned and what you think about the topic in light of your consideration of the claim and its criticism.  

Do not just sit down and write “from your head” without cracking your book, notes, quizzes, review questions open.  I would set apart some time during at least three days to write the paper.

IMPORTANT: There must be twenty one labeled parts in your paper.  Do not hand in a text that is not divided into sections.  You will receive four points for the successful completion of each section.  

START BY WRITING PARTS II, III, IV, AND V FIRST – AND THEN DO THE INTRODUCTION AND THE CONCLUSION. But the parts should be in their natural order (I-VI) in the final version that you submit.  And you should consider revising your paper after you have written the introduction – you may think of something in the introduction that you have not taught of while writing the other parts and revise your paper accordingly (especially, perhaps, the conclusion).

The Paper (Do the following tasks)

Part I: Introduction

Introduce the topic (the broader issue that has to do with a human being is – for the sake of which you are investigating the claim that you choose) and briefly discuss what it involves. What is the puzzle with regard to this topic?  [For example: “The topic is that of the relation between knowledge and power, and their role in the life of a human being.  Human being is distinguished from other beings by their capacity for knowledge – that can be as complex as books and that can be passed down from generation to generation and improved upon by succeeding generations.  To a large extent, it is this capacity for knowledge that makes human beings more powerful than any other on our planet.  But, when it comes to individuals, individuals can choose how much to make knowledge a part of their lives.  How much knowledge do specific individuals need in their lives?  Is a person better off doing other things with their time then dedicate it to pursuit of knowledge? ” ]

Discuss your relation to the topic.  Do you have a position on the topic?  Do you have a history of engaging the topic in any way?  How are you affected by what happens with regard to what is thought on this topic?   [For example: “I am very affected by this topic.  On a daily basis, I ask myself whether I devote too much or not enough time to learning, or participating in and acquiring knowledge.  Should I change my life and devote less time to activities that  are simply pleasures or simply social interaction with others and have little learning involved in them? ” ]

What is the importance of the claim that you bring up in part II with regard to the topic?  Why is examining this claim important – in order to make sense of the topic?  Is it a controversial issue – what are the reasons for each of the sides?  Does it run counter to common sense?  What does the common sense say?  You will have to complete 4) before you can complete 3) here.  [For example: “The common sense agrees with the thought that knowledge is power.  But common sense would probably also add that there are different kinds of power – and the one acquired by knowledge is not the only one.  Common sense may also question the very desirability of power – whether everyone needs to have power in order to be happy.  But, the question is a good one to explore in order to have deeper insight into what a human beings is – since knowledge and power are, arguably, what distinguishes human beings from other kinds of beings.” ]

Part II: The claim

Part III: The justification for the claim 

Explain to the reader of your paper why what is claimed in 4) makes sense.  What can you say in support of 4) to convince the reader?  Give general reasons or use examples to persuade your reader.  Make sure that you explain your answer here and show an understanding of the discussion of the issue in our readings.  Use Rauhut’s actual reasons for this conclusion – if appropriate.

[For example, not related to our class: “We often hear the slogan that knowledge is power. Everyone is encouraged to become educated, attend college, etc. as a means to better careers and personal growth – the sorts of things which we can think of as growth in power.  The world is becoming increasingly more complex and technologically advanced – and so it would seem that greater knowledge is required to navigate such a world.  It seems that people in professional careers are the big earners, and they also tend to be educated.  It also seems that the persons that we go to for advice, or whose opinions we want to pay attention to – are the ones with knowledge.  It would also seem that the sorts of things we often greatly enjoy or find to add meaning to our lives (watching serious films and engaging other fine arts and literature, discussion of and participation in politics, many hobbies, collaborating on projects with our friends, watching and playing serious sports, etc.) – require knowledge.”]

Part IV: The challenge to, or criticism of, the claim: the refutation by means of counterexamples and explanations

Part V.  Interpretive Evaluation of the claim – after considering its challenge.

      However, while it is possible that knowledge is not necessary to have some power, as shown by examples above, knowledge will increase whatever power one has without knowledge.  A person who inherits wealth, works a simple job, has strength by nature, etc. will be more powerful if they acquire knowledge.  That person will increase and put to good use (as opposed to foolish and destructive or even self-destructive use) the wealth or strength they have inherited.  A person who works a simple job, due to acquired knowledge, can take a more complex and rewarding job.

     But, more importantly, it is very probable, and not only possible, that knowledge is not sufficient for power.  Knowledge must be applied in order to be actual power.  It is required for application of knowledge that a person chooses to do so, has the discipline to continually do so, and does not live in unfortunate circumstances (oppressive social and political circumstances, unsupportive family and friends, poor health, etc.) in which they do not have the opportunity to apply that knowledge, as hard as they might try.  Right choice, discipline and circumstances are needed – in addition to knowledge – in order for knowledge to be power.”]

Part VI: Reflection

Grading criteria: in addition to evaluating how adequately you have fulfilled the task of each part of the paper, you will be graded on the depth of your writing.  What you write must not be overly simplistic and obvious, but must show an effort to explore the topic.  Depth means that you discuss what you are writing about in detail and with explanation that is made possible by what we learn in this class.  Your paper should show mastery of what we learn (such as applying concepts and arguments that we learn in a way that shows comprehension of those concepts and arguments.).  The paper should not be such that could have been written by an intelligent person who never took this class – but must be such that is written by an intelligent person who applies what is learned in this class with some depth.  The paper must be informed by what we learned.  If a response to what you are writing has been addressed by one of the authors we read, you need to address that author’s response to you.



Please do not use secondary sources – just read our textbook and think really carefully about the paper using the arguments and examples from the textbook.

hHave to write good discussion, good claim, counterclaim, example, counterexample, everything have to be perpefct, 

Paper 3 Assignment has been posted on Blackboard.

Look at the Paper 3 Assignment as soon as possible.

I will walk you through the initial stages of this paper. Please email your answers to questions 4, 7, and 12 by midnight of this Sunday, December 12th

I will tell you if you are on the right track and tell you what to do next.

You should try to email me with 4,7, and 12 before Thursday – so that you have more time to think about the next steps.


You will only know what I mean by 4, 7 and 12 after you look at the paper.

all of these should be one line only.  Not paragraphs.
Type out 4,7,12 from my knowledge/power example.  Then put your 4,7,12 under that – imitating what I did.  

Line  4, 7, 12.  Use the claim from the paper assignment.  Have my 4,7,12 on top and yours under. 

If you do something wrong about this assignment  you have to rewrite your paper, according to the requirements of the paper assignment. 

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