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“When it comes to preserving human dignity, Peter Singer is far more humane than the Catholic Church!”

Ah, you’ve seen this assertion before!  Please write a tightly focused essay in which you take a stand in support of or against this proposition.  In particular, I ask you to focus on the concept of human dignity.  You must make your position and the counterarguments against it crystal clear.  This assignment is meant to accomplish two things: 1) to challenge you to dig even more deeply into your assessment of the subject matter; and 2) to challenge you to hone your skills of persuasion even further.


My usual observations, cautions, and rules apply.

You are writing one paper, not two papers. Make sure you are answering this question and not some other question you would rather answer. Keep counterarguments in mind and address them directly. Explicitly refer to evidence from your two primary readings: Singer and the selections from the Vatican’s Compendium. Be concise and to the point.

When referring to your readings, feel free to use any simple citation form (e.g., author and page). It is fine to use short quotations, but indicate why you are using them. Quotations do not speak for themselves.

Remember the Shaker hymn: “ ‘tis a joy to be simple . . .”  State your argument boldly; justify it in a logical fashion; when you are done, stop.

The Honor Code to which you have affixed your signature applies! It is fine with me if you discuss this assignment with your classmates. However, do not ask them to read or critique the essay. Your essay and argument must be absolutely, completely, and unmistakably your own work.

As with your previous essay, this assignment is both straightforward and challenging. Happily for you, you have already given considerable thought to the topic. But this also means that you are more fully aware of the serious pitfalls of taking one side over the other. I would begin writing and re-writing immediately. Naturally, my expectations are not unreasonable. After our brilliant debate, I simply request you to compose the four best pages of prose that you have ever written in your life.  Easy, no?

Please observe all of the following rules without exception:

Your essay should be no more than 4 (four) typed, double-spaced pages (12 point font) of careful reasoning. It should also have a carefully-chosen title.

Your essay should be in Word format (no PDF or any other mysterious format). Please use the following structure to name your document: [your name].secondessay.doc  Again, please do not send me a document I can’t read or file in the most convenient manner possible.  Okay?

Your essay is due by 9:00 a.m. next Thursday, April 11. (Yes, you may send it in earlier.)

Please send your paper to me through the document file (Second Essay Assignment ) that I have created on Sakai.  Please let me know if you have any problems doing this.


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