Description Essay Question: You have been appointed head of a television news service. Write a letter to your staff explaining and justifying the standards of objectivity to which they should aspire. Please provide an outline for the essay. as well. Thank you Citation style The Oxford University Standard for Citation Of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is to be used for footnotes and the bibliography. Please use the handout attached. II – Structure 1. Introduction ♣ Cut to the chase right off by saying what the specific problem of the essay is and why it is a problem. “People call sexual practices perverse all the time, but it is hard to figure out what the criteria for perversion are and what difference it makes whether those practices are perverse or not.” ♣ Avoid long-winded, flowery and vague introductions such as: “Philosophy has been studied for a long time….” ♣ Give your thesis up front, saying in the first paragraph exactly what position you’re going to be arguing for. ♣ Set out how you understand and will use the key terms in your essay, especially any that are used in the question itself. 2. Argument. Go for a methodical, point-by-point presentation. The reader should know in each part of the essay what the essay is trying to prove, and how it is trying to prove it. (The reader should be able to use all of his or her brain-power learning from the essay and assessing whether its arguments are plausible—and should be able to spend no brain-power trying to figure out what the essay is trying to prove.) 3. All essays should include critical evaluation of the topic under discussion. It’s not enough just to describe what others have said. By the end the readers should understand the arguments that have led you to your own conclusions about the topic. 4. Conclusion. Avoid glib conclusions such as “this is a very difficult subject” and “there are arguments on both sides”. Your reader knows that, especially as you should have presented just those arguments. Your conclusion should be a considered response to the arguments you have given, challenged and evaluated. At this point, don’t be afraid to give your own personal response to the question, so long as it is based on and follows from the material you have discussed. The examiner does want to see that you have engaged with the material rather than simply regurgitated it. III – Style and economy 1. Clarity is the main virtue of a philosophy essay. It’s better to write a clear boring essay than a muddled entertaining one. 2. Simplicity: Simpler words and short sentences are often clearer. Don’t go for fancy terms or complex sentences unless you absolutely have to. (Note: One almost never has to.) 3. Define the essay’s main terms with precision early on (you may have done this in the introduction). a. E.g. “Act utilitarianism is the thesis that an action is right if and only if it is the action that produces the most utility.” 4. Focus: Don’t lay out more of a view than you need to. There are no marks for simply repeating everything you know about a subject. On the contrary, there are ‘higher skills marks’ available for knowing how to leave out irrelevant material. a. E.g. if your problem is that utilitarianism may be too demanding, you may not have to discuss in the essay the different interpretations of what utility is (whether there is a distinction between higher and lower pleasures, etc.). Focusing appropriately on the question at hand is one of the best ways to get marks in philosophy. Meandering aimlessly is a very fast way of losing them. 5. Depth: Go in depth concerning the problem specified by the essay topic; you don’t need to say everything about everything. Better to explore one subject in detail than two subjects superficially. 6. If you’re arguing against someone’s position, present your opponent’s arguments as sympathetically as possible. Your arguments are only as strong as the arguments they defeat. 7. These essays may not need to use many (or even any) quotes from the readings. 8. Very rarely will you need to discuss the work of more than two or three philosophers in any detail in an essay. It is better to pick representatives of the positions you are discussing and evaluating these in depth than to rattle off a dozen names that you barely mention again. 9. Avoid starting sentences by ‘I feel’ or ‘I believe.’ The point of the essay is to convince others using good arguments, not simply to express oneself. 10. Avoid sweeping and unsupported statements that may be controversial, e.g., “There are no right answers in morality”. Tips: Answer the questions clearly and in a focus way Say one thing very clearly, or if questions asks for two then two things Don’t want a general setting out of theory, pick the way that you want, say there are other ways but talk about the most important ones. Get marks for what you leave out just as much as what you leave in. Always think what is your strongest suggestions. Look for the deepest level of the points, theory. Strong structure Methodical, step by step structure.
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