Philosophy 302: Argumentative Paper 1 – Homosexuality
Due Monday, June 22 at the beginning of class
4-5 pages, double-spaced, typed, 12 pt. font, stapled, with your name, email, class time. No cover pages.
First, read the sections on how to write a philosophy paper in the Vaughn book and/or read Jim Pryor's "Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper": http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/guidelines/writing.html
In this paper I want you to consider the issue of homosexuality and argue for one of these conclusions: homosexuality is wrong (i.e., impermissible), or homosexuality is not wrong (i.e., morally permissible). Do not consider the question of whether homosexuality is “right,” because that sounds like you are asking if homosexuality is morally obligatory. And do not discuss homosexual marriage because that too is not the issue.
You should explain what you mean when you morally evaluate homosexuality: are you speaking of actions, or feelings, lifestyles, relationships, or all (or some of the above)? This needs to be carefully explained so we understand the arguments’ conclusions.
Your paper should have a short introductory paragraph, culminating in a thesis which should either be this (or something close to it):
"I will argue that homosexuality is wrong, i.e., morally impermissible."
"I will argue that homosexuality is not wrong, i.e., morally permissible."
You need to give reasons in favor of your conclusion, consider objections to your reasons and respond to these objections.
You might then structure your paper in either of these ways:
1. You could present at least five of what you think are of the most important or strongest arguments from the books to think that homosexuality is wrong, and then critique these arguments, i.e., argue that some or all of them are not sound because they have some premises that you will argue are false. (You will also need to present an argument[s] for the view that homosexuality is morally permissible). These arguments should be explained and evaluate in prose, but they should also be presented in valid premise-conclusion format.
2. You could present at least five of what you think are the most important or common or influential arguments from the books to think that homosexuality is not wrong, and then critique these arguments, i.e., argue that some or all of them are not sound because they have some premises that you will argue are false. (You will also need to present an argument[s] for the view that homosexuality is not morally permissible). These arguments should be explained and evaluate in prose, but they should also be presented in valid premise-conclusion format.
At least one of the arguments you discuss must be arguments from the Bible and/or God’s commands (see EMP Ch. 4 on the divine command theory).
If you’d like, you can do some independent research to find additional arguments for the wrongness of homosexuality beyond the 40+ from the handout. But, you must apply the logical skills we have developed to these arguments. And you must defend your view from the best objection(s) you can think of. To do this, you must think of the objections and respond to its. DO NOT IGNORE DISCUSSION FROM THE BOOK; IF THE BOOK DISCUSSES AN OBJECTION OR RESPONSE AND YOU IGNORE THIS, THEN THAT’S A PROBLEM BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ENGAGING THE CRITICAL DISCUSSION: YOU ARE IGNORING IT.
Your paper must have a short concluding paragraph also.
Your intended audience has not read the readings or discussed these issues so you must explain things so that they understand. Put yourself in their shoes and make everything clear and well-organized for them.