Philosophy

Philosophy

Critically discuss Thomson’s case for saying that when the pregnancy does not endanger the mother’s life an abortion may not be unjust

Further explanation of this task:
Word limit:1000

You need to provide a satisfactory discussion of the topic you select (either (1) or (2) above). In order to do this you will need to understand the whole of Thomson’s article and the whole of the critical discussion of it in the Study Guide. But the question is not about the whole of Thomson’s case. You will need to identify those particular portions of Thomson’s case which are relevant to the particular topic you select, and then critically examine those portions. You will be discussing whether the relevant arguments in Thomson’s article are good or bad.

As was the case for Assessment Item 1, you will need to show that you have mastered the relevant Study Guide exercises, and you will need to take care to observe the difficult word limit.

Rationale
The essay allows you to display your grasp of the philosophical discussion of the relevant topic. It requires you to show that you understand this discussion, and that you can critically assess it. (Note that this task is directed towards all three of the learning outcomes for this subject – i.e. it allows you to demonstrate that you grasp the basic philosophical techniques of analysis and argument that you are learning, that you have a basic understanding of the ethical theories being discussed, and that you can apply those skills and understanding in the discussion of the particular moral problems discussed.)

Marking criteria
This task (like the task for Assessment Item 1) involves a number of distinct elements. They include the following:

(1) You need to identify the relevant argument that Thomson seeks to provide.

(2) You need to critically evaluate whether Thomson’s actual argument succeeds in doing what she needs it to do.

(3) You need to present your essay in a well organised discussion written in good clear English.

Overall, you need to do your best to show that you have critically mastered the relevant discussion in the study materials, in the way described for Assessment Item 1 (above). (Note in particular the need to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant to the particular topic you select.)

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