What moral obligations do we have toward non-human animals?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 16, 2022


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For this assignment, you will take a position and argue why it’s the right one. Chapter 22 “Arguing A Position” on pages 492-559 discusses position essays. Additionally, there are several positions essays at the conclusion of the chapter, including ones that we’ve read. Reference the other position essays that were assigned for this unit.
According to chapter 22, here are the characteristic features of a position essay:
An explicit position
A response to what others have said or done
Appropriate background information
A clear indication of why the topic matters
Good reasons and evidence
Attention to more than one point of view
An authoritative tone
An appeal to readers’ values
Step 1: Brainstorm ideas for the assignment. Think about things you are passionate about. Think about your collegiate experience. Think about what you want to do for a career. Think about what social media you follow. Think about things that make you angry. These are places to start identifying issues that you want to take a position on.
Think about topics that are not well worn, ones that have some nuances. Topics like abortion, gun control, etc. often have calcified positions, and there’s not much nuances to those arguments. In other words, is there something to say that is unique, different, novel? If not, consider a different topic for the your position piece.
Step 2: Craft a question that you want to answer. Do research and start drafting your thesis. Sometimes you may have a topic but not a strong opinion either way. Research may help you arrive at a position about the topic. Here’s a sample:
Should non-human animals be treated differently in CAFOs?
What moral obligations do we have toward non-human animals?
Is animal testing morally appropriate?
Should CEOs and higher level executives be held personally responsible for the actions of their corporations?
Should billionaires exist?
Why a wealth tax should be implemented?
Is capitalism the best economic structure for the world? Are there better economic structures for the world?
Why corporate personhood does not make sense?
Should profits be the most important consideration for corporations?
Should all military operations receive explicit approval from congress?
Should elections be held over a two-period weekend instead of the Tuesday after the first Monday in November?
Why the Supreme Court should have term limits?
Why the Supreme Court should be expanded to 18 seats?
This assignment requires the following:
Scrutinize one side of a controversial issue
Address the ethical and moral aspects of a controversy
Deal with the status quo – the ways things are, the current state of affairs
Aim at changing the audience’s feelings or positions about an issue
Key features of a position argument are and MUST be included in your paper:Deals with controversial issue, one in which there is clear disagreement
Clearly states a position – actual issue may be complex, but claim is stated emphatically and straightforwardly, no ambiguity or waffling
Recognizes other positions and potential objections – accurately and fairly spells out the main points of the opposition and objections that might arise because –You reduce your own vulnerability – don’t want to appear ill informed
You distinguish your own position from that of others, clarify differences
You can respond to opposing views, challenge opponent’s ideas and examine the basis for disagreement
You might also challenge an opponent’s logic, demonstrating where the reasoning suffers from flaws in logic
You might challenge the evidence supporting an argument – if possible, point out unreliable, unrealistic, or irrelevant evidence offered by the opposition
You can gain strength through concessions – admitting weaknesses in your own stand shows that you are realistic and fair-minded
Writer projects a reasonable persona—one that is sincere and willing to consider opposing arguments
Your essay should have:
Its own title.
An introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, offer background/exigency or any additional information that is needed for the audience to understand your position. It should lead to an explicit thesis statement.
Body paragraphs should introduced sub-claims that develop your position with supporting evidence.Body paragraphs also should address counter-arguments by either refuting, accommodating or conceding them
Appropriate sources are well integrated into the essay. Signal phrases are used and the quote explicated sufficiently.
A conclusion that provides a climactic assessment of your argument’s significance as well as heighten the impact on the reader.
For the research part of this assignment, you must include at least one scholarly source and at least one popular source.
: 1,200-1,600 words
Genre: a position essay
Audience: your classmates, your instructor, and academics
Research: at least 1 scholarly and 1 popular source


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