It is VERY important that all of the instructions are followed very closely!
This paper is on a single point that Blackburn argues for in the first half of the book (Ethics A Very Short Introduction by Simon Blackburn) — that is, up to p. 56. It must be 3 double-spaced pages long.
(Don’t “fulfill” the requirements with, e.g., extra-wide margins or extra-large font.) It needs three parts, as follows.
The first part is a very short introductory paragraph that states a single point Blackburn makes in the first half of the book (up to p. 56), and that states whether you will agree or disagree. The point can be any point he makes, as long as he gives a number of reasons why it’s true (since, as you will see below, the first half of the paper is made up of his reasons or evidence for this point). The point need not be a quote. This first paragraph will look something like this: “I agree (or disagree) with Blackburn when he says that elephants are bigger than bread-boxes.” You must either agree OR disagree, but not both. And you must state his point as a full sentence, so that your reader knows exactly what the point is. If you say, “I agree with Blackburn about elephants,” that doesn’t help your reader, as Blackburn may say many different things about elephants, some of them having nothing to do with bread-boxes at all.
The second part takes up the first half of the paper, and consists in Blackburn’s reasons why his point is true — his evidence or back-up or support for his point. You can choose any point he makes in the first half of the book, but you should make sure to choose a point for which he gives enough reasons or evidence to fill half the paper. (So if he makes a quick comment about something but doesn’t explain much about why it’s true, this point will not be one that helps you to fulfil the requirements for the paper.) Even if you disagree, you must still give his evidence in his part, giving him a fair hearing, just as in a law-court where both disagreeing parties get to speak. You must explain his reasons in your own words. You may use a few short quotes with the page numbers in brackets after the quote, though these should also be explained in your words.
The third part takes up the second half of the paper, and is your own reasons why his point is true if you agree, or why his point is false if you disagree. If you agree, your reasons must be different from his. I would recommend that for this second half of the paper you forget about his reasons, and imagine you are explaining to a 10 year old child with a big vocabulary why she should believe you.
The grading will be based on just two things: the quantity and quality of the reasons, and how well the reasons stay focused on the single main point. VERY, VERY, IMPORTANT->*****Anything else (e.g., background information about the philosopher, good reasoning supporting other true points) does not contribute to the paper.****
DO NOT USE SECONDARY TEXTS!!!