For this week’s discussion, you are tasked with the following:
1. Read and annotate “The Radical Moral Implications of Luck in Human Life,” then compose a reply to the reading of no less than 300 words that: introduces the title and author, summarizes the reading briefly, defines one of the arguments or persuasive points within the reading that the author is making, responds to that argument in relation to one of our class themes using specific evidence from the text (i.e. Do you agree or disagree? Is there something you would add? Is there something you object to? Is the argument derivative of a logical fallacy in the author’s work?), and uses proper MLA in-text citations* for your quoted evidence.
If you are unsure about your response to the reading, or if you are unsure where to start you response, you may consider any of the following questions to help you get started:
1. Given the author’s stance that “nature and nurture both happen to you,” and examples you can think of that apply to that, would you say that contemporary Western and U.S. culture is organized in a way that privileges some and not others, or some more than others? Why and how?
2. The author posits that our “system two”-thinking, acting in a way to regulate our “system one”-thinking, could be the “mechanism through which meritocracy works” because if we repeatedly do the right things for self-improvement, we should get what we “deserve,” and therefore “the moral implications of luck” are moot because everyone has system two thinking and can thus will themselves to prosperity, but, the author says, there are two reasons why system two-thinking does not absolve us from the moral implications of luck. One is that using system two to regulate system one thinking is difficult and our ability to do so is based highly on where we were born, how we were raised and the resources to which we had access, and two is that the obligation to self-regulate is also not equally distributed because the privileged have more of a safety net and less obligation to self-improve while the less privileged have less of a safety net and more obligation to self-improve. In light of this thinking, are we all, in Western/U.S. society, treated equally where it concerns the criminal justice system, local, state and federal governments, as well as employers, and is equal criminal, social, and economic justice a worthy goal for Western and U.S. society? Why or why not?
3. The author posits that there is no reason to try to equalize “market outcomes” for every individual, but that we should use some of the wealth generated by market competition to guarantee more equal opportunity for everyone, and that, in fact, if we do, “earned mobility” could flourish in what would be a more true meritocracy. What would guaranteeing a more equal opportunity look like in terms of sociopolitical policies, and how would those policies grant more opportunity to the less fortunate? Do the current inequities that exist in Western/U.S. society imply an imbalance of power in contemporary U.S. and Western society, and in what way would solving these inequities balance out the power structure? What would the results be of more power in more hands?
*(Remember, in-text citations are the “parenthetical” references in the text of a work that include either the author of a source and the page number you are citing, just the author for a non-paginated work, the title of a source and the page number you are citing for works with no authors, or just the title of a source for non-paginated works with no authors. In-text citations should appear at the end of the sentence, before the period, in which the quoted material is used).
2. Match each of the following numbered sentences with one of the lettered logical fallacies below and briefly explain, in your own words, why the sentence pertains to the fallacy you paired it with.
1. Legalization of medical marijuana will lead to increased marijuana use by the general population.
2. Twenty-one is the best age limit for drinking because people do not mature until they are 21.
3. If you teach birth control methods, more teenage girls will get pregnant.
4. The culture wars of the 1960s were a result of parents being unable to control their children after the post-world War II baby boom.
5. Al Gore claims that climate change is a dangerous trend. Al Gore is a liberal. Therefore, there is no climate change.
6. Advocates of universal healthcare in the U.S. desire a totalitarian-socialist federal government.
a. ad hominem
b. false dichotomy
c. red herring
d. ad populum
e. ad vericundiam
f. begging the question
g. confusing cause and effect
h. post hoc
i. straw man
j. slippery slope
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