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Moral Obligations in a Computer Simulation: An Analysis of Greene’s Article Through Act-Utilitarian

Moral Obligations in a Computer Simulation: An Analysis of Greene’s Article Through Act-Utilitarian




1st Paper

Due: Monday, February 10th

800 words maximum

In the article “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out”, Preston Greene argues that, while it is likely that we are living in a computer simulation, we have a moral obligation not to perform any experiments to test this theory. Would an act utilitarian agree with Greene? Do you agree or disagree with the act-utilitarian assessment? In this assignment you are required to discuss and reference both “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out” by Greene and “Utilitarianism” by Mill. You can also use “The Debate Over Utilitarianism” by Rachels. Page references for Mill’s article must be to the most recent edition of our textbook.  Papers that fail to reference the required readings will not be graded.

NOTE: This is not a paper on whether or not the universe is a computer simulation. Assume we may be in a simulation and structure your argument for our moral obligations on that basis.

  1. Have a clearly stated thesis.
  2. Explain the theory you are appealing to or arguing against clearly in terms of the concepts we have encountered in class and the course readings.
  3. Argue for your thesis concerning material we have encountered in class and the course readings.
  4. Anticipate an objection to your thesis.
  5. Reply to this objection.
  • Papers must be in complete sentences (not in point form) and must not include appendixes.
  • Always cite the readings and not the course notes when the material referenced is in our textbook.
  • Papers are due on the dates assigned on the course outline. Late papers will not be accepted.
  • Your papers must not exceed 800 words each. You must include your full name and student number, as well as your final word count (excluding citations and bibliographic listings) in the top right-hand corner.
  • ALL PAPERS must include complete citations and a bibliography in MLA format. Papers without a bibliography and properly referenced sources will not be graded. If you are unfamiliar with how to cite your sources it is your responsibility to contact the instructor or writing center for guidance. If you think your paper does not need citations or a bibliography, you have not completed the assignment correctly.
  • Papers must be stapled in the top left corner (no unstapled papers will be accepted). Do not use folders or other enclosures for your paper.
  • Papers must be double-spaced and in Times New Roman or a similar serif font.
  • Papers that fail to meet these requirements will be penalized at the instructor’s discretion.

Paper Sections:

  1. Introduction: Keep it brief and to the point. What are you going to argue, and how are you going to argue for it? What theory will you appeal to/argue against? What major point will your argument make? Your thesis statement is normally the last sentence of your introduction.
  2. Exposition: Here you will explain the view that you are either supporting or arguing against. Assume that your reader is intelligent but knows nothing about the theory or view you are explaining.
  3. Argument: Here you will begin the argument for your thesis. Stick to the best reason(s) in support of your thesis. Do not introduce more claims than you have the space to develop adequately.
  4. Objection: Here you will consider a strong objection against your argument. How might an opponent criticize your argument? You will likely want to stick to one strong objection in this paper.
  5. Reply: Here you will continue your argument for your thesis by answering the objection raised in section 4. It is important that this section brings something new to your argument, and is not just a restatement of claims you have made earlier in your paper.
  6. Conclusion: Here you will briefly sum up how you have argued for your thesis.

Moral Obligations in a Computer Simulation: An Analysis of Greene’s Article Through Act-Utilitarian


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