Phil 205 S14: Fourth Essay Prompt

General Instructions: Your assignment is to write a 3-5 page paper on the following topic. The paper should be typed, double-spaced in a 12 point legible font. It is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, April 24.

Prompt: This paper will lead directly into your final research paper, and will serve as part of the pre-writing for that paper. Consequently, you should exercise great care in selecting a topic, as you will be working with this topic for the remainder of the semester. Your assignment is to pick a Supreme Court Case, and explain the issues that motivated the case as well as the arguments presented by the Court in favor of its decision. You may use one of the cases discussed in class, or any other case from the text. If you want to pick a case not discussed in our textbook, you will need to check with me first. 

A successful paper will do the following:
  1. Lay out the history of the case, accurately describing the issues that gave rise to the case in the first place.
  2. Articulate the argument made by the Court in favor of its decision. 
  3. Evaluate the argument by explaining what type of argument it is, and explaining whether it is valid/strong and sound/cogent.
  4. Include at least two non-Wikipedia sources (other than the case itself) including one non-internet source.
  5. Cite all sources using the CMS citation style as discussed in Appendix B in Writing Philosophy.
Clarity/Style: Your paper should be written such that a person who is entirely unfamiliar with the subject could understand it and follow it with relative ease. This means that you avoid excessively long sentences and you keep it simple. Once again, imagine that you are writing your paper to a reasonably intelligent friend who is interested in what you have to say but is unfamiliar with the subject. Also, your paper should not digress from your thesis. This means that your paper constantly keeps its objective in sight and does not change the subject or veer off course.

Mechanics: “Mechanics” here refers to the presentation of your paper as well as grammar, spelling, punctuation, and proper citation. Paper should be double-spaced, 12-point font, one-inch margins. Paper should be AT LEAST 3 pages, but more appropriately, you should accomplish your objective. Further, all of your citations should be done properly according to the Chicago Manual of Style or MLA. If you are unfamiliar with these methods of citation, please consult Writing Philosophy, Appendix B.

Grading: This essay will be graded using the attached rubric. Each column in the rubric will count equally.
Ian Duckles,
Apr 2, 2014, 11:53 AM