Paper 1

Part I: General Guidelines

1. Each essay should be no longer than the specified length and must be typed or word processed in a font size between 10 and 12 points with approximately 1-1.5 inch margins all around and stapled once in the upper left corner. The paper must be written in both upper and lower case letters, as appropriate. Your name should appear ON EVERY PAGE. Put it in the header or the footer if you know how.

2. A professional appearance is recommended for your cover page. Avoid a lot of flashy cover art. It won't help your grade and wastes your print cartridge unnecessarily.

3. Do not use plastic report covers or folders of any sort when handing in your papers. Such accouterments are cumbersome, annoying, and will not help your grade. Simply stapling your pages together in the manner suggested above will suffice. Unstapled papers will not be accepted.

4. You ABSOLUTELY MUST, when summarizing or directly quoting the words of others, use a quotation format (either quotation marks or block quotations will do) and cite the source from which you are drawing those words in an appropriate way (Chicago/Turabian is preferred). Failure to do so leaves you open to a charge of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use of another's words or academic work without citation or permission, and it is a serious academic offense. See my page Plagiarism and How to Avoid It. I take plagiarism seriously. If you commit plagiarism in my class I will take the strongest action possible under the Marygrove College Academic Honesty Policy, in this case, you will fail the course.

5. Late papers will be penalized at the rate of one letter grade step (e.g. from B- to C+) per day late, beginning immediately after the end of class on the day the paper is due.

6. Any paper not turned in by the end of class, in class, will be counted late. This includes papers left in my mailbox, under my office door, or conveyed to me by any means other than by hand in class at the appointed time. Turning in your paper early is permissible but you MUST see me first so that the proper arrangements can be made.

7. I do NOT accept papers via e-mail or on floppy disks or on any other electronic media— EVER. (Do not ask, the answer is NO.)

8. I do NOT recognize computer or printer failure, malfunction, or unavailability as an excuse for late papers. Such events can be overcome by good preparation on your part. Do not wait until the last day before the paper is due to begin writing. While you write, save your paper often on a portable medium, like a floppy disk or a CD. Make sure that the media you use to save your papers can be accepted by a College computer lab just in case you can't print your paper at home. The College has computer labs with up-to-date computers and printers at which you can write and print papers. Also, print out and save your rough drafts, even if they are covered with corrections. In the event that an act of God (e.g. tornado, etc.) prevents you from printing out the finished product, the instructor will be more likely to give you a full hearing should you be able to produce a rough draft with corrections on it as evidence of your work. Your planning is your responsibility. Failure to manage time effectively does not warrant special treatment in my class.

9. I set my page limitations and/or word counts according to how much work I think it would take a reasonable person to write a paper which adequately addresses all parts of the topic in keeping with the goals of the assignment. Your mileage may vary. All papers will be graded on quality, not on quantity. How much you write is in no way connected with getting a higher or lower grade (unless, of course, you write nothing).

10. Your ability to write a clear, concise, coherently structured, well-written essay in grammatically correct English is directly connected to your ability to be successful at written assignments in this class. This is College. It's time to get serious about developing your ability to express yourself clearly, effectively, and efficiently in both spoken and written media. There is a page of this wiki, Writing Philosophy Papers, designed to help you improve your writing skills. Take advantage of it. If you have difficulty writing or need to brush up on your English skills, it is also highly recommended that you take advantage of College resources (e.g. tutoring programs, academic success centers, or writing centers, etc.) for doing so. For general questions on the bare minimum requirements for standard written English you should refer to the book Elements of Style, by Strunk and White.

11. I am always happy to meet with students to discuss strategic, substantive, or any other aspects of your paper either in my office during office hours, by appointment, or via e-mail. I do NOT, however, give or suggest provisional grades to rough drafts.

12. You are expected to turn in finished work. The instructor reserves the right, at his convenience, to return ungraded any paper that has clearly not been proofread, whose pages are not stapled, or which is in any sort of violation of the guidelines given on this page. Such papers will have to be redone, and the penalty for late submissions WILL be applied to them as described on this page.


Part II: Specific Instructions:

  1. Each paper must be between 700 and 1200 words long, and conform to all standards given in the general guidelines (see Part 1, above).
  2. Peer review is a part of our writing process. You are strongly encouraged BOTH to proofread your own paper AND to have a colleague read and honestly evaluate it as well.

Background: The Blue Nation has recently suffered an ethic separatist movement within its borders. This movement calls itself the Yellow Insurgency. Though small, it has effectively used a campaign of guerilla warfare, terror and "ethnic cleansing" to take effective control of the mountainous northeast region of the country.

Several Blue army units are encamped around a remote mountain village, where they have cornered an important and elusive leader of the Yellow Insurgency and a smaller but still significantly strong contingent of his troops. The Yellow Insurgents have refused to surrender, and the townspeople have refused either to give up the head of the insurgency or to leave the town. It may be that the Insurgency is preventing them from leaving in order to use them as human shields. It may also be that this town is loyal to the Insurgency. Intelligence is sketchy so there is no way to be sure. (In other words, you may not weigh the intentions of the townspeople in your analysis.) Time is of the essence, and the Blue commander decides not to risk losing the chance to capture or kill the Yellow Insurgent leader. He orders a heavy bombardment of the town to proceed his ground attack. 4 hours before the bombardment, he orders helicopters to dispense leaflets over the more populated areas warning the town residents of the impending bombardment and urging them to leave.

The commanding officer of the Blue forces reaches this decision by means of the following argument:

P1. A house-to-house battle with the Insurgents would predictably inflict a high number of casualties both among Blue army soldiers and civilians.
P2. A heavy bombardment of the town prior to our attack will destroy the insurgents, but predictably kill and injure many civilians as well.
P3. As the insurgents are proponents of ethnic cleansing, there is a moral obligation to defeat them.
P4. he good of winning the war will be advanced by the destruction of the bombardment of the insurgents.
P5. The good of winning the war is more significant than the forseeable bad of killing and injuring civilians.
P6. We have attempted to minimize civilian casualties by warning them of our attack.
C7. Our bombardment of the town is morally justified, and thus a morally permissible act of war.

In your paper you must do all of the following things:

  1. Critique the commander's argument according to the principles of the Doctrine of Double Effect. Does the Doctrine of Double Effect justify his decision? Why or why not?
  2. Using what you know about the Doctrine of Double Effect from the readings and our class discussions, raise a possible objection that could be made to the Blue Commander's argument. IF you think the commander's decision is justified, say how the objection could successfully be met using the premises of his argument. IF you think the commander's decision is unjustified, explain how the objection you raise cannot successfully be met using the premises of his argument.

You are permitted, but not required, to do outside research on the Doctrine of Double Effect in order to complete this paper. All outside sources must be properly quoted and cited using either APA or Chicago style references. Do not shirk this responsiblity!

Plagiarism will result in automatic failure of the course!


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