Reactive Attitudes

Write a new paper on one of the topics in the third unit on Freedom and Responsibility. (1500-2000 words).
Peter Strawson & Watson
Does it make sense to take up the reactive attitudes toward figures of extreme evil such as Robert Harris? Does learning about Harris’s past necessitate withdrawal from the reactive attitudes?

1. Go back to the original text and carefully reconstruct the view of the person you are discussing. (Don’t rely exclusively on lecture notes or slides).

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2. Make sure you answering the question in the prompt.

3. A summary is not enough – you need an argument. If you agree with the philosopher you are writing about, consider a strong objection to that philosopher’s view and then respond on his or her behalf.

4. State your thesis clearly and exhaustively upfront. “E.g. – Doris’s situationist attack on character does not succeed because it fails to take into consideration the agent’s subjective construal of the situation.”

5. Interpret even people you don’t agree with charitably.

6. When you mount an objection, consider how the person you are objecting to might reply.

Grading Rubric:
Mastery of Material (25%)
Does the paper demonstrate a firm understanding of the fundamental issues in the source material? Does it present the views of authors it discusses in a way that is charitable, accurate, and precise?

Thesis (25%)
Does the paper have a clearly articulated thesis? Is it obvious what the paper is arguing for?

Argumentation (25%)
Is the thesis supported by plausible and persuasive arguments? Does it respond to relevant counter-arguments?

Writing (25%)
Is the paper well organized and clearly written?

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