Phil 2306

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*********There are 4 different parts to this assignment.*********

**PART 1**

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is incarcerated in Birmingham Jail in April 1963, he defends civil disobedience as a tactic against unjust laws by writing the following:

“How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. **Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.** I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages thepersonality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.

* For each question, please provide a substantial paragraph (3 to 6 sentences) of response.

Question 1:
Is Dr. King’s claim in the starred portion of this passage justified by his argument? Why or why not?

Question 2:
Do you have a personal responsibility to challenge cultural practices which create a “false sense of superiority” in some and “false sense of inferiority” in others? Why or why not?

Question 3

Dr. King addressed this letter to members of the white clergy opposed to his methods. His aim is to use their own moral perspective to convince them of the injustice of segregation. Do you think ethics provides us with the tools to analyze and critique competing perspectives across cultural and racial divides in a democratic society?

**PART 2**

CHAPTER 40: The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan

Blog Entries
You are required to post a blog entry of at least 200 words, in which you do the following:
1. Identify the author’s main point
2. Explain how the author supports that point with argument
3. Raise objections or opposing arguments to the author’s position. The objection or opposing argument you raise depends on the content of the reading. It can be any point about which someone might (reasonably) disagree with the author, even if you do not personally disagree at all. *Even if the main point of an article is not to argue for a thesis, you are still asked to take issue with some point raised in the article.
4. Explain how someone who agreed with the author would respond to your objections/opposing arguments.
5. Express your personal reaction to the reading, including the extent of, and your reasons for, your agreement or disagreement with the views expressed by the author (not how easy or difficult you found it to read)..
6. Comment on the blog entry of three other students for every reading blog. So if the unit contains six readings, you would comment on a total of eighteen other students’ blogs. Your comment does not need to be extensive—you only need to write enough to show me that you have read each blog.

**PART 3**

CHAPTER 41: Why Animals Have No Rights by Carl Cohen

Blog Entries
You are required to post a blog entry of at least 200 words, in which you do the following:
1. Identify the author’s main point
2. Explain how the author supports that point with argument
3. Raise objections or opposing arguments to the author’s position. The objection or opposing argument you raise depends on the content of the reading. It can be any point about which someone might (reasonably) disagree with the author, even if you do not personally disagree at all. *Even if the main point of an article is not to argue for a thesis, you are still asked to take issue with some point raised in the article.
4. Explain how someone who agreed with the author would respond to your objections/opposing arguments.
5. Express your personal reaction to the reading, including the extent of, and your reasons for, your agreement or disagreement with the views expressed by the author (not how easy or difficult you found it to read)..
6. Comment on the blog entry of three other students for every reading blog. So if the unit contains six readings, you would comment on a total of eighteen other students’ blogs. Your comment does not need to be extensive—you only need to write enough to show me that you have read each blog.

**PART 4**

CHAPTER 44: Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism by Elliott Sober

Blog Entries
You are required to post a blog entry of at least 200 words, in which you do the following:
1. Identify the author’s main point
2. Explain how the author supports that point with argument
3. Raise objections or opposing arguments to the author’s position. The objection or opposing argument you raise depends on the content of the reading. It can be any point about which someone might (reasonably) disagree with the author, even if you do not personally disagree at all. *Even if the main point of an article is not to argue for a thesis, you are still asked to take issue with some point raised in the article.
4. Explain how someone who agreed with the author would respond to your objections/opposing arguments.
5. Express your personal reaction to the reading, including the extent of, and your reasons for, your agreement or disagreement with the views expressed by the author (not how easy or difficult you found it to read)..
6. Comment on the blog entry of three other students for every reading blog. So if the unit contains six readings, you would comment on a total of eighteen other students’ blogs. Your comment does not need to be extensive—you only need to write enough to show me that you have read each blog.


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