Is Forced Fatherhood Fair

Is Forced Fatherhood Fair.

Topic Article: Is Forced Fatherhood Fair? (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Two Parts:

Part One; Critical Summary:

Summarize the article:

A.) Outline the Major thesis that the author is attempting to establish. (What is the conclusion she is trying to establish?  What’s her Big Point?)

B.) Outline what reasons she gives to support this. (What are her premises?)

Part Two; Critical Evaluation:

Evaluate the argument:

A.) Support Question- If the premises were true, would they support the conclusion? Would the make the conclusion more likely?  Would they give one good reason to accept his conclusion?

B.) Content Question- Are the premises good (clear, true, non-controversial/reasonable)?

Clarity: To be a good premise it must be clear.  It must not contain vagaries and ambiguities which prevent the reader from understanding what is being asserted.  One cannot accept as true what one does not understand. However, note two things:

  1. It is not enough to merely claim that a premise is vague or contains a vague term. If you make such a claim, you must defend it. Why do you say the premise is vague? What is the troublesome term or terms and why are they troublesome? Why does this vagueness prevent you from determining whether the sentence is true or reasonable?
  2. As we discussed in class, where an author uses a vague term, it is appropriate to extend to him or her the “principle of charity” and try to guess what a reasonable, intelligent person might have meant by the term. It is a weakness of the argument is the author is vague, but in the interest of advancing the dialog it becomes the reader’s responsibility to try to “fill in the blanks.”

Truth: Of course the premise must be true.  False premises support nothing. However, be careful here. That a premise is false, in and of itself, is no reason for thinking that the conclusion is false. Only that the conclusion is not supported by this argument.

Reasonableness: Since the work of an argument is to persuade, one must make use of premises that are acceptable to the general public if one is to persuade the general public (you).  It is a weakness of an argument if it makes use of a premise which is controversial, whether, it turns out to be true or not. However, it is not enough to merely claim that a premise is controversial. If you are asserting that this is a claim that the author is being unreasonable and that reasonable people would reject his premise(s), you then must say who the reasonable people are/ or what rational grounds they could give you for rejecting the author’s claim(s).

Stray notes:

I want you to begin your paper with something like this as your opening statement:

The author of the article claims that (insert conclusion here) and offers various reasons in support of this position. In my paper I shall summarize and evaluate the argument. In the end I believe that it is (successful/unsuccessful) and will explain and defend my assessment.

It would be nice to see something similar in the way of a summary at the end to bookend your essay.

The paper should be 4-5 pages in length however, I will not count pages or grade on the basis of number of pages.  I will however grade based on completeness of the assignment. Doing an adequate-good paper would only earn and average-good grade (C-B).  An Excellent Paper (A) will do more than the minimum.  For instance, one might consider implications of the view or how the issue may be resolved.

Here is a rough rubric to follow: You might also look at my colleague’s (Dr. Kenneth Henley) directions to his classes “Writing a philosophy paper for Prof. Kenneth Henley (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” a link to which you will find on the left hand side of his webpage


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Is Forced Fatherhood Fair

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