Media Analysis Essay Overview
Throughout this class, you have applied three main sources of ethical information: the philosophical readings and summaries of philosophical readings, the application of ethics in The Good Place through the characters and their behavior/arguments, and your own perspective and experiences. All of this interacts to provide lessons and insights about the nature of ethics and what constitutes ethical or desirable behavior.
Now, you will write a paper on these three sources of information and how they can help us reflect on ethics and live more ethical lives (or lives more in tune with our own ethical expectations of ourselves and others). This paper should demonstrate your understanding of the basic philosophical theory we have read, the link between theory and praxis, and how both are expressed in The Good Place. Limitations of these three sources of ethical information should also be discussed. Extensive documentation of sources and arguments will be required for this paper, and you should expect to use quite a few class readings/viewings for the paper.
These papers will be 5 full pages, double spaced, in 12 pt. Times New Roman, excluding the properly formatted references page at the end.
Main Prompt Question: How do media (The Good Place), theory (the philosophy readings and summary videos), and praxis (experience and actions) come together to help us better understand ethics and be more ethical?
Recommended Outline (with rough length guidelines)
· Introduction (.25 page)
o This should summarize your paper and give a brief answer to the main prompt question. Tell me what you are about to do in the paper and how you will do it.
· Discussion of Theory (.5-1 page)
o This section should examine how reading and understanding ethical philosophy (Plato, Kierkegaard, etc.) helps us understand ethics and be more ethical.
o It should also explain the limitations of theory without praxis for helping us understand ethics and to be more ethical. What else do we need? Use this to transition into the next section
o Good Sources: All the philosophy readings/videos, the The Good Place focused textbooks that demonstrate the usefulness of theory
· Discussion of Praxis (experience, action) (.5-1 page)
o This section should examine how our experience, instincts, and actions are important to understanding ethics and ethical behavior
o This section should also discuss the limitations of praxis without an understanding of theory for learning about ethics. Perhaps use this as a chance to preview the next section
o This is a little harder, but the relationship between theory and praxis is explicitly explored in some of your assigned readings (Benko Ch. 10, for instance)
o Good Sources: The The Good Place textbooks, some of the videos, The Good Place examples from the characters
· Discussion of Media (specifically, The Good Place) (.5-1.25 pages pages)
o This section should tie together the previous two sections by exploring how well written and thought provoking media like The Good Place can serve as a heuristic (education term for a tool that helps you learn by example) for learning about ethics. How does the show help us understand both theory and praxis in ethics if we allow ourselves to think about the show more deeply?
o This section should also include some of the drawbacks and pitfalls to look out for when using media to think about bigger issues like ethics. What essential role does an understanding of theory and praxis have in successfully using media for this purpose?
§ This might include briefly reflecting on your personal experience in this course in cases where the show may have helped you understand a reading or how ethics works in practice. Save most of this for your self-assessment though!
o Good Sources: I expect heavy reference to the show and the textbooks that focus on the show for this section.
· Synthesis Section/Conclusion (tie it all together) (.25-.5 page)
o In this section, you should provide a brief synthesis of the previous sections that examines these three together. It should include your final answer to the main prompt question listed above and summarize your conclusions.
o You have gone through each aspect of the paper individually, relating each section to the previous one. Now, tell us how all three work together to help us understand ethics. If this is your last section, this should end with a solid conclusion paragraph that tells me what you just did in the paper and how you did it.
3 pages, typed, single spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font. While I am concerned more with the content of your paper than the exact length, I will check formatting for kerning, font, and spacing inconsistencies if I suspect that you have inflated your paper length using these settings and reset them before grading. These length tricks are not worth the time it takes to do them! If you followed the directions for the portfolio and changed nothing about how this document is formatted and typed the paper in after these instructions you will have done it right.
Comments and edits will be provided using the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word (A tutorial of this feature is on Moodle) or using the comments feature in OneDrive if you used a OneDrive invite to submit the portfolio. An “as if” grade will also be provided to tell you what you would get on the paper if you did no edits and turned in the paper as it currently is for the final draft. These comments will demonstrate exactly what you need to do to get a 100% on the paper when you turn it in again.
Such grades do not go in the gradebook and are not official until you turn in your portfolio at the end of the course.
What I am Looking For
Tips and examples on these can be found in the “Paper Writing Guide” on Moodle
1) A clear thesis making an argument or point of analysis about the readings and the debate within them (this is NOT just your opinion!)
2) Clear presentation and comparison of the arguments from ALL the relevant applied theory readings
3) Clear links drawn between the themes of the media analyzed to the meta-ethical or normative theory readings
4) Your critique and analysis of the perspectives presented
5) Consideration of objections and alternatives to your argument
6) A conclusion which restates your thesis and how you got there in the body of your paper
Analysis Paper Rubric
Use of Sources
7) College level writing: Spelling, grammar, language usage, formatting, and citation use
Start writing your paper on the following blank page.
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