Dr. Smillie, Fall, 2006
Second Paper Assignment
Shopping at Walmart
Background reading: Chapter 8 of Studying Philosophy: “How to Write a Good Philosophy Paper” and the other chapters references in that one.Readings assigned for Corporate Responsibility and Walmart. Anything else you find in your research. Cite all quotes and references; support all factual claims.
Instructions: Present and defend the most defensible answer to the following question in an argumentative essay.
Is it unethical to shop at Walmart?
General requirements of the assignment: Remembering the basic point of a piece of philosophy writing, to persuade you of something, (Studying Philosophy, pg 63), write an argumentative essay on the above question. Remember, the purpose of your essay is to establish something as true (for everyone); your entire paper should be focused on persuading your reader of this. Every part of it, every sentence, every paragraph, must have play a role in supporting and defending your thesis. Make your thesis—the position that you are taking—very clear to the reader (state it at the beginning of your paper, in your introduction), and offer arguments that are plausible and persuasive. Keep in mind that you are trying to convince your reader to adopt a position, not trying to present or clarify your own personal views on this subject. **
Your essay should include multiple arguments supporting your point; you should make those arguments as clear as you can, including offering examples meant to clarify the reasoning you are using. You must consider opposing points of view, and the arguments that would be offered to defend them; however, you should not stop there and leave those opposing views unanswered—because the view you are defending should be the view that you believe has the strongest arguments for it.
It is expected that you will turn to the readings we have been
looking at for a source of arguments and ideas. Another source of ideas are
that we all share, and common sense ideas and truths. Any quotes or paraphrases
that you include in your paper should be completely and adequately referenced.
Your paper must be 3-5 typed, double-spaced, pages long, following all rules of grammar, and is due on October 24. (More details about my grading and format requirements are available on the course webpages; suggestions about how to write philosophy papers are also available on the webpages and in Ch 8 of Studying Philosophy, both of which I strong encourage everyone to look at carefully.)
I will use the following criteria to evaluate your finished
products (Cf John Arthur, Studying Philosophy, pgs 78-81, for more detailed
b) Mastery of the material
c) Sound organization and structure
e) Good writing
Some more specific directions about this assignment: This is a paper on the general issue of Corporate Social Responsibility, and of course the specific issue of economically supporting Walmart. As we’ve seen, the CSR is the issue of how we expect business and corporations to behave in our society, and how we expect them to contribute to society (some things we demand of them (obligations); others we would like them to do if they can. So the general question concerns when a business behaves so badly that they deserve some sort of censure—in this case, economic censure. Regarding Walmart in particular, note that Bob Brownstein argued that it is unethical to shop at Walmart in his part of “Is it Ethical to Shop at Walmart?” His reasons for this should certainly be something for you think about. We have identified many of the criticisms that are leveled against Walmart; these include their buying practices, hiring and treatment of employees, and in general the effects of Walmart on our economy in general and on local economies in particular. Whether any of them (or some set of them) constitute grounds for a boycott of the store on moral grounds is certainly part of the issue and something you need to rationally decide for yourself. Your paper should exhibit correct understanding of all the facts, as well as understanding of the ethical issues.
Length of this paper: 3 to 5, double-space typed, pages. (More details about grading, and format requirements are available on the course webpages—under the assignments link. Suggestions about writing are also available on the course webpages and in Ch 8 of Studying Philosophy, both of which I strong encourage everyone to look at carefully.)
Due date: October 24, 2006