An important aspect of philosophical thinking is the ability to do conceptual analysis. Greta Christina‘s paper is a great example of this. Throughout her paper, she proposes a definition of sex, discusses how that definition captures several cases that intuitively count as sex, but then discusses some more complicated cases that either show that the definition is too broad (i.e., it includes or counts some case as an instance of sex when intuitively it should not) or too narrow (i.e., it excludes some case from counting as an instance of sex when we intuitively think it should count).
This paper assignment is divided into two parts.
Expand on one of Greta Christina’s several different definitions of sex and explain how that definition is problematic. For example, Christina says, “Perhaps having sex with someone is the conscious, consenting, mutually acknowledged pursuit of shared sexual pleasure.” You might explain this definition (or one of the other ones that she considers) by giving a (fictional) example and showing how it exemplifies each of the features listed in the definition. Then, you should explain why that definition is problematic. For example, you could explain how there are cases that we intuitively count (or don’t count) as sex but aren’t (or are) counted as sex according to the definition (i.e., state whether the definition is too broad or too narrow, or both, and show how).
This part has two options. The first is less challenging than the second, but the second, if done well, can score higher points than the first.
Option 1 : Clearly articulate a second definition from Christina that attempts to address some of the problematic aspects of the definition you discussed in part one. Then, as you did in part one, explain how even this second definition could be problematic (Is it too broad? too narrow? both? Show how).
Option 2 : Propose your own definition — a definition of sex that Christina does not consider. Show how that definition might handle some of the complicated cases that she discusses. Then, clearly state what the shortcomings of your proposed definition might be. For example, you should clearly state how the definition could be too broad or too narrow (or both) by presenting relevant counterexamples.
You should take as a clear example of good writing the last two pages of Christina’s essay. Notice how she structures the discussion. She considers a definition. Then she discusses how some cases clearly fit that definition, then some cases that don’t (AGAIN either because the definition is too broad, i.e. it includes cases that do not count as sex, or because the definition is too narrow, i.e. the definition excludes cases that do count as sex).
With that in mind, this paper will be graded according to the following rubric:
(10 points) Part One: Clear presentation of definition from Christina. Persuasively shows why definition is unsatisfactory.
(10 points) Part Two: Clear presentation and discussion of a definition of sex that follows up on the definition in part one (either from Christina or your own). In the case that the presentation is another definition from Christina, make sure that the discussion of it is clear and that any problems with it are clearly stated. In the case that you present your own definition, it is important to demonstrate BOTH an understanding of how the proposed definition captures several complications discussed in the reading AND recognizing potential difficulties with the definition.
(2 points) Overall structure: Is the discussion well-ordered and easy to follow?
(1 point) Grammar and spelling: Are there errors in spelling and/or grammar?
(2 points) Style: Is the writing clear and concise (that’s good), or is it obscure (that’s bad)?
Choose only ONE of the three submission options:
1) Submit your paper as an attachment in PDF FORM.
2) Submit your paper as an attachment in WORD (doc or docx) FORMAT.
3) Submit your paper by copying and pasting it in the INLINE submission.
Papers should be 3 pages double spaced, 1″ margins, 12pt font (preferably New Times Roman, but anything that’s easy to read is acceptable). To be clear, formatting is not nearly as important as the content of the paper. If you happen to go over or under by a few lines, don’t fret. Especially DO NOT try to make it appear as if you’ve written more than you have. Again, it’s what you’ve said and how you’ve said it that matters, not how the words on the page appear.