Essay #2 (Philosophy 1100)

Due Date: Monday June 10 (in class)


Read Alan Brudner's paper, "Retributivism and the Death Penalty" (pp.156-169 in your textbook). 

Choose any 2 arguments or claims that Brudner puts forward, and critique them. That is, choose 2 of his arguments and show what is wrong with them, or provide counter-arguments to them. (You may feel free to choose small, specific arguments, or larger arguments that perhaps run through his paper.)

[Hint: There are a handful of ways in which his arguments might go wrong. They might rely on false assumptions; they might use true assumptions (premises) that don't actually provide sufficient support for his conclusions; they might be based on faulty interpretations of someone else's arguments; etc.]

Note: This is an exercise in picking out the weaknesses in a given essay. It doesn't matter whether you personally agree or disagree with Brudner...looking for the weak points in his article is a useful exercise!

Note also: doing ethics is about giving good reasons for your choices or conclusions. So in this assignment, you should avoid telling me what you feel, and focus on telling me what there is good reason to think

Value: 10% 

Rules & Requirements:

Length: 400 words (+/- 25). Provide a word count (e.g., "word count = 423").  Word count limits will be strictly enforced.
Essays should be word-processed, double-spaced, "normal" font (e.g., times new roman, Arial). Use 12-point font. Staple your pages together. Please provide a cover page with your name, student number, the title of your paper, etc. No binders or plastic covers, please. Papers not meeting these requirements will be penalized.

You do not need to use outside research materials.

Important Warning About Plagiarism:

"Dalhousie University defines plagiarism as the presentation of the work of another author in such a way as to give one's reader reason to think it to be one's own. Plagiarism is a form of academic fraud.
Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence which may lead to loss of credit, suspension or expulsion from the University, or even the revocation of a degree."
    (from Dalhousie's policy on Intellectual Honesty, April 2001)

Note also that cutting-and-pasting phrases, sentences, or paragraphs from the Web into your essay also constitutes plagiarism. If you use someone else's words or ideas, you must give them credit. It's O.K. to make use of ideas you learn from someone else, so long as you make it clear what's been borrowed. If you have any questions about this please contact me! See also the excellent Dal Libraries web-page on plagiarism.