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Ethics, Fall 2015

Strict Minimum Length: 6 pages
Due: December 14th at Noon
Submit via Turn-it-in on Cougar Courses

Instructions: Write an analysis of the novel Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
that engages with some of our themes in environmental ethics. You are required to
cite at least five essays of your choice from our textbook readings. Use specific
scenes, quotations, characters, or situations from the novel to demonstrate your
points. Your paper should have a clear thesis, position, or argument and this should
be clear in the introduction.

Your paper should address all of the following:
1. Explain what is wrong, from an ethical perspective, with uncritical
anthropocentrism. What might a biocentrist say about Oryx and Crake?
2. How does our attitude towards nature determine our behavior and ethical
obligation (or lack thereof) towards the natural world? Can we distinguish between
what is natural and what is artificial?
3. How does our understanding of what counts as life figure into environmental
ethics? How do we/should we treat other beings? How do we/should we decide
what is alive or has interests?
4. What is the role of science and/or technology in environmental ethics? Should we
use technologies like genetic engineering and agricultural biotechnology? Under
what circumstances? Do these technologies have the potential to improve our lives?
What are some possible dangers?
5. Provide conclusions that evaluate Crakes actions in the book from an
environmental ethics perspective. How would Crake be likely to defend his actions?
What would an argument against Crakes actions entail? Which do you think is a
more persuasive argument, and why? Be sure to explain arguments both for and
against Crake.

Grading Rubric
(50 pts) Use of relevant citations from at least five essays from the textbook

(10 points for skillful use and citation of each essay)
(50 pts) Thorough, reflective responses to each of the five essay prompts provided

(10 points for insightful responses that address all parts of the question)

Citations from the Essays: This is a philosophy paper, which means that you must
use relevant citations from the text in making your points. Citations may be either
parenthetical or footnotejust be consistent in which style you use. Your
bibliography should list the essays from the textbook, and the citations should
include the authors name and the page number. For example, if you are using
parenthetical citations: (Singer, page #).

Some Advice on How to Plan Your Paper:

First, formulate the basic argument or position that you want to defend.
Second, choose themes, ideas, characters, scenes, or situations from the novel that
will help you to make your points. Write these down in a list or outline.
Third, look through the essays you chose from the textbook, and find quotations
from these essays that are relevant to the points you are making. Make sure these
quotations are not taken out of context! They should nicely fit with the examples
you are using from the novel.

Make sure that your essay reads as a consistent whole rather than a list of answers
to the assignment questions.

Papers that do not meet the minimum length will lose points. 10 pages is the
required amount of writing for an upper-division humanities course for CC credit, so
6 pages is already giving you a break.

You are strongly encouraged to make an outline before writing your paperthis
will ensure organization and coherence.

Proofread your paper for clarity and grammatical errors. Consider having someone
else read the paper for you; it is often hard to spot our own errors.

Papers that do not cite the essays from the textbook will not receive credit. This is
an absolute requirement of the final paper assignment.

Avoid plot summary of the novelassume all readers are familiar with the novel.
You will lose points for unnecessary plot summary.

Also avoid fillerdo not begin your paper with excessive preamble like since the
dawn of time, people have considered ethical questions or the like.

Long citations will not count towards paper length! If you are including any long
citations (which is fine), block quote them single-spaced and remember that they do
not count towards minimum paper length. A long citation is a citation that takes up
more than two or three lines of text.

Refrain from using any texts besides our textbook and the novel.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any student who plagiarizes on any class
assignment, or turns in any assignment that is not his or her original work will
fail the COURSE and be reported to the academic authorities as required by
university policy. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, consult
your student handbook or ask me!