Grade 12 Philosophy ISU Assignment - Draft
This independent study will consist of two written parts (report and essay) with a presentation and defense of your ideas. Your topic is to be an ethical question that is presently controversial (for example, freedom of speech versus spreading hate messages).
Thus, it must meet the following criteria:
a. ethical – there must be a question of which way to act is the most appropriate by the individual and/or society. Example, suicide for no reason – not an ethical question; assisted suicide to avoid the final stages of a painful, debilitating, and terminal disease is an ethical dilemma.
b. presently controversial – people need to be passionately debating it today. Medieval scholars would fight over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; today, who cares! Likewise, evolution versus creationism was not a big topic 200 years ago, whereas there are court cases and even violence over teaching those topics in the present day USA.
Report: Your report has two different sections: section one will briefly describe the controversial situation as it exists today and section two will present the views of 3 different philosophers on your topic. Note: Your philosopher may have not addressed your topic directly so you will need to do research and some related inferences. For example, any pre-2000 A.D. philosopher will have no statements about government monitoring of electronic communication. However, you should have his/her views on privacy and the rights & responsibilities of the individual versus the government. From those points and a little more research, you should be able to figure out what the philosopher would have said if he/she was brought to today, informed on the topic, and asked his/her opinion.
Conditions: 1. Each philosopher must be from a different century and/or radically different school of thought from the other philosophers. Your object is to present 3 distinctly different views of your topic. 2. You have 1200-1500 words. 3. It is report format so you may not express your opinion. You may use pictures and diagrams if they add to your explanation. 4. The report must be properly research, referenced, and cited in MLA format. 5. Make use of primary sources (your philosopher’s words) plus primary sources on your topic. Use secondary sources to deepen your understanding.
Essay: Now it is your turn to be the philosopher! Your essay should convince the reader of your interpretation of your topic/problem and that you have arrived at the best solution. You may use other philosophers for support for parts of your idea, but this is not a simple restatement of someone else’s views – it’s your thinking! You do not need to have the specifics associated with other disciplines – it’s the ethical side that counts! For example, you do not need to address the screening or harvesting process – but, you would spend your time on the ethical dilemma of forcing people to be organ donors (after they have died…). Note: a clear cut case for just one side is unacceptable. For example, killing people in order to harvest their organs is not a dilemma, it’s clearly wrong. Likewise, letting people choose to be organ donors or not upon their deaths is unacceptable as it has no controversy.
Conditions: 1. Length: 800-1200 words. 2. It must be a logical extension of your report (the report’s information should be the major influence on your essay’s opinion.) 3. The essay is to be your own work, not a restatement of someone else’s beliefs. 4. The essay is to also be properly research, referenced, and cited in MLA format.
Presentation: You will have 20-25 minutes to present your topic and solution to the class in a multimedia presentation that involves the class. This presentation is followed by 5-8 minutes of questioning (and your answers) by your classmates who will review your essay and report and will question your findings. The object here is to have great questions and great answers….
Topics: Each person’s topic is to be unique – so it’s first handed in and approved, first to own that topic. The topic is an ethical dilemma – a question that society has not resolved about how individuals or society should act. If you’re unsure of a topic, ask.
Stages: Note: You are to hand in the previous stage with each subsequent stage. You will need to restate my comments into your own words (e.g. your Questions will include your Proposal and a restatement of my comments in your own words). If you did not complete a previous stage by the deadline, you will need to hand it in with the next stage….. even though you will receive no marks for that previous stage.
Proposal: October 3rd. Hand in a piece of paper with your name, a statement of your topic (1sentence), and then 3 to 5 sentences to explain why you wish to examine this topic and why it fits the criteria of “ethical dilemma”. Include a works cited page with 2 sources that overview your topic (sources that require 10 to 20 minutes to process).
Questions: October 16th. Hand in a list of 15-25 distinctly different questions about your topic. You will not need to hand in the answers to these questions. I will be examining the questions to see if you are considering as many angles as possible about the topic and that you have done some critical thinking about the topic based on some limited research into the topic. (at least 3 additional sources that you include in a works cited page).
Report and essay plan: October 30th. Hand in a point form plan that includes the following:
a. Your thesis paragraph for your essay.
b. For your report, a list of the 3 philosophers you will use. For each philosopher, in 40-60 words, identify the main position he would take on your topic. Include a list of at least one primary source you will be using per philosopher.
Report rough copy 1: Hand in a rough copy of your report and I will check it for all aspects except grammar. November 18th
Report rough copy 2: Peer edit. December 8th
Essay rough copy 1: Same conditions as the report. November 20th
Essay rough copy 2: Peer edit. December 10th
Report good copy. December 15th
Essay good copy. December 15th
Presentation – peer conference with partner. December 17th
Presentation to class. January 6th ….