PHIL 338.† FINAL PROJECT (Research Paper 5-6 Pages)

(110 Points Total:† 10 Points for Draft Introduction and 100 Points for the Final)

Research Paper (5-6 Pages, 300 Words Per Page.† There is no penalty for length per se, but papers exceeding the page limits will be penalized, if they could have been shortened by careful editing.† Footnotes, photos, and other graphic material do not count in the page limits.† Although papers are evaluated chiefly on their philosophical merits, grammar, spelling, and diction will also be evaluated.† You are expected to express your thoughts in clear, grammatical, English sentences.)†

The U.N. has asked our class for suggestions on updating the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.† You are to pick a human rights issue involving the rights of normal, human adults that is currently a live issue.† Some sample topics are listed below, but you are not limited to those on the list.† There are two limitations:† (1) you should not write on the same issue that you discussed in Homework #4; (2) you should not write on a topic (e.g. abortion) that would be covered in a standard contemporary moral problems course.† One way to be sure you are not overlapping a contemporary moral problems course is to pick a human rights issue with an international dimension.† If you have any questions about your topic, discuss them with me.† You are to write a report in which you introduce an important real-world human rights issue by describing a real-world situation in which the issue has arisen, present the best arguments you can on both sides of the issue, and then make your own recommendation on how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be updated to address the issue.† Your recommendation could be to add a new right to the Universal Declaration, to eliminate one of the rights currently included in the Universal Declaration, or to clarify one of the rights currently included.† Make it clear in your paper what your recommendation to the U.N. is.

Because you will be graded on your presentation of the arguments on both sides of the issue, you should pick an issue where a good case can be made for both sides.† Make sure you explain the issue for the reader before you turn to the arguments pro and con.† In your report, you should refer to at least two of the readings for this course.† In addition, you should show that you have done your own research by citing other sources outside the course readings.† At a minimum (this is only a minimum), you should cite at least four Web sites with information on the relevant issue.† You should include in your report your evaluation of the reliability of any Web sites that you cite.† You may read ahead and write on an issue that has not yet been discussed in class, if you wish.† But you are not limited to topics discussed in this course.

The Final Project is an opportunity for you to explain how you would resolve a human rights issue.† I expect you to give reasons for your position.† Please keep in mind that this is a philosophy course, so the reasons that you give should not include an appeal to a religious or other authority.† In preparing your Final Project, I want you to exercise your moral judgment based on your consideration of the reasons pro and con.† I want you to evaluate the reasons yourself.† Even if you rely on a religious authority in your personal life, an appeal to that authority is not appropriate for this assignment.† Also, the issue cannot be settled by what the law is today, because I am asking you to consider what the law should be.†

Be creative.† On the Web, you will probably be able to find photos and other graphic material that will make your Final Project more compelling.† Possible research paper topics:†

Conflicts between group rights and individual rights (e.g., individual freedom of expression vs. a group right to respect for its beliefs or to protection against "hate" speech; group self-determination vs. individual self-determination; or the right of children to an education vs. the right of religious or cultural groups to limit the education of their children).

Conflicts between national or group sovereignty and the enforcement of human rights (e.g., interventions to prevent human rights violations or the role of the International Criminal Court).†

These are just examples.† There are many other issues that would make a good research paper.†

 

FINAL PROJECT DEADLINES

 

(1) Topic.† You must obtain approval for the topic of your final project by the end of class on Monday July 15.†

 

(2) Draft of Introduction to your Final Project posted on PHIL 338 GoPost site for your section by midnight on Wednesday July 17 (10 Points).† The Introduction should include a statement of the issue you will address and an overview of the paper as a whole, including a statement of the position that you will take on the issue.† (For research papers, it should include a statement of your proposed amendment to the UNUDHR.)† A good introduction will typically be 2-3 paragraphs long.

 

(3) Vote for the best Final Project Introduction by noon on Thursday July 18.† Send me an email message with the name of the person whose Introduction you rank the highest.† Ties are permitted.† Donít vote for your own work.

 

††††††† (4) Final projects are due by midnight on Monday July 22.† There is no penalty for length per se, but papers exceeding the page limits will be penalized, if they could have been shortened by careful editing.† (Footnotes, photos, and other graphic material do not count in the page limits.)† Although papers are evaluated chiefly on their philosophical merits, grammar, spelling, and diction will also be evaluated.† You are expected to express your thoughts in clear, grammatical, English sentences.

 

BEFORE TURNING IN YOUR FINAL PROJECT, MAKE SURE IT HAS ALL THE ITEMS ON THE FINAL PROJECT CHECKLIST, WHICH IS POSTED ON THE PHIL 338 WEB SITE.