Philosophy 110B Online

Philosophy 110B Online

Philosophy 110B Online Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Values

Essay Assignment 2

General Instructions

Write an essay on the topic given below. The essay should be 4 – 5 double-spaced pages in length (1200 – 1600 words by computer word count), with 1-inch margins. The assignment is due on Wednesday, March 30, 11:55 pm ET.


You must submit your work online through the Essay Assignment 2 folder in the LEARN Dropbox. Please note carefully that only ONE file will be accepted to the Dropbox. Therefore, you must not use the Dropbox to store drafts or otherwise incomplete versions of your work. Use only supported browsers to submit your work. See below for detailed instructions on preparing online submissions and submitting them to the LEARN Dropbox.

The following pieces of information MUST be on the front page of your assignment:

  • Student ID Number
  • Course Name and Number
  • Assignment Number
  • Date

DO NOT include your name anywhere on the assignment. (This eliminates a source of bias in grading.)

Late policy:

Late essays will be penalized at the rate of 10% per day late. No exceptions will be made without a documented excuse of sufficient weight (e.g., a medical emergency).

Note on plagiarism:

Passing off the work of others as your own constitutes plagiarism and is a serious offence. All suspected cases of plagiarism are referred to the Associate Dean’s office. See the Faculty of Arts webpage on Ethical Behaviour for important information on plagiarism and other academic offences. See below for instructions on appropriate methods of citation for your essay.


Do animals have rights or do only human beings have rights? Discuss Carl Cohen’s critique of animal rights. What are Cohen’s main grounds for denying that animals have rights? Then, consider Tom Regan’s defense of animal rights. Outline those aspects of Regan’s discussion that are most readily seen as critiquing a position like Cohen’s. Does Regan succeed in refuting Cohen’s view, or does Cohen have grounds for a persuasive response? In other words, who do you think has the upper hand in this debate? Argue for your position.

Some helpful hints:

1. Note that this essay topic specifically emphasizes the issue of animal rights. Not everything covered in either Cohen’s or Regan’s articles is directly relevant to the debate about rights. Therefore, you will want to be selective in your choice of material from these readings. Making good choices about what material is most relevant is part of your task in this essay.

2. In arguing for your own position, your reasoning should be responsive to relevant aspects of Cohen’s and Regan’s respective arguments. Your principal aim in the essay should be to provide a reasoned evaluation of the philosophers’ arguments, and to support the conclusions you draw. You should not attempt to support your view in any way that ignores, or radically reframes, the terms of the debate.

3. The articles by Regan and Cohen should be accessed via the links provided in the Module 7 listing in the Course Schedule. These readings are not available in the course’s e-text.

Further Guidelines

  • Your paper should begin with a very brief introductory paragraph, introducing the main issue of the paper as well as indicating your own critical position (i.e., your thesis). A concluding paragraph is optional.
  • You should make an effort to present the arguments of the focal philosophers in your own words. Direct quotations should be kept brief (one or two sentences) and used only for the purpose of illustrating points you have explained in your own terms.
  • You should try to strike a balance between the tasks of (a) presenting the arguments of the focal philosophers and (b) expressing your own critical perspective through your evaluation. It is important to attend to both of these tasks.


This is not a research essay. It is therefore strongly advised that you restrict your attention to the relevant readings from the textbook, rather than trying to find additional sources either in the library or on the web.

The following format suffices for citing readings: For a reference to p. 314 of the Cohen article, for example, simply insert “(Cohen, 314)” after the relevant passage of your discussion. Use in- text references of this format whenever you directly quote, paraphrase, or otherwise represent ideas from the authors.

If and when you need to reference ideas that occur in the lectures, you may do so with an in-text citation. For example, if you make a reference to Lecture 7.2 from Module 7, simply insert “(Lec. 7.2)” after the relevant passage of your discussion.

A Works Cited list is unnecessary if (as is advised) your only sources are the course text and course lectures.

Guidelines for Submitting Papers Online

  1. Only the following file types will be accepted: Rich Text Format (.rtf); Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx).
  2. Be sure to save your assignment in an appropriate folder or on your desktop for easy retrieval.
  3. Ensure that the name of your file does not include special characters such as symbols or punctuation (e.g., \ / : * ‘, ? ” < > |). Such characters may cause problems with the upload.
  4. You will only be able to upload one file per assignment. Please combine all documents into one file. Check to make sure that you are submitting the correct file.
  5. Do not zip your files.

How to Submit Assignments Online Using a LEARN Dropbox

  • Click on the Add a File button within the Dropbox and select My Computer.
  • Click on the Upload button to look for your assignment file on your computer. You can also drag and drop the file from your computer to the upload area.
  • Find and select your assignment file and click Open.
  • Upload your assignment by clicking the Add button. When the file has finished uploading, the name of your file will appear under the Files to submit area.
  • Click the Submit button. If you do not click the Submit button, the file will not be uploaded.
  • After submitting your file, a confirmation message will appear. This message will include a link to your submitted file. Please ensure that your submission is visible on this page.
  • If your submission is successful, you will receive an Email Confirmation Receipt sent to your email address. If you do not receive an Email Confirmation Receipt, please double-check your submission and re-submit if necessary.

If you are having difficulties uploading your files, please try the following:

  • Check the computer requirements.
  • Ensure that your file name does not contain any special characters (e.g., \ / : * ‘, ? ” < > |) and delete any spaces in the file name.
  • Ensure that there is an extension at the end of your file name (e.g., Assignment2.doc).
  • If you are still experiencing difficulties after checking the above items, please contact Technical Support.

Assignment Return: Your graded assignment will be returned to you through the Dropbox. Review the graded file for feedback on your work.

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