Argumentative Paper on Philosophy

My Topic: People with first offenses, especially having to do with drug possesion should not have a longer sentencing then people with more dangerous or more major criminal charges.


The most important part about the paper is that it should contain your original thoughts and arguments. In other words, this is an argumentative opinion paper, not a research paper. It is easily ascertained when you have taken concepts, reasons, and discussion from some other source.The only things that you are allowed to research are facts, which must be documented. The length should be 5 – 7 pages.


A single well-worded declarative statement.

Common problems: Vague claims; claims posed in the form of a question;too broad or too narrow claims; more than one issue in the claim.

Explanation of the claim:You should explain very carefully and in common-sense vocabulary what you mean by the claim itself and by the terms involved in the claim.Common problems: assuming that the terms your use are self-explanatory.The reader of your paper will assume no prior knowledge of your subject on his part,If your do not explain your terms,concepts, relationships you will start losing points.Arguing in the explanation part of the paper, rather than explaining what you mean by your claim.

Reasons For the Claim: Each reason for the claim should be numbered with Arabic numerals (1), (2), (3), (4), (5).You should provide at least four reasons for your claim, if you are aiming for an A. Each reason must be unpacked in a whole paragraph.

Common problems: sketchy arguments; insufficiently developed arguments; argument borrowed from other sources (even if documented); weak or not well-thought out arguments.

Reasons Against the Claim: Here you step into the shoes of your hypothetical opponent and think of reasons why your claim doesn’t hold.Each reason against the claim should be numbered with Roman numerals (I), (II), (III), (IV).You should provide at least four reasons against your claim. Each reason must be unpacked in a whole paragraph.Reasons Against the Claim should not be parallel to Reasons For the Claim.

Common problems: same as above; attempting to rebut the arguments presented in Reasons For the Claim – this belongs to the Rebuttal section.

Decision: At this point in the paper you must decide which set of reasons (i.e., Reasons For or Reasons Against the Claim) is a stronger set.You must explain why you think a particular set of reasons is stronger.This part must be a full paragraph rather than a couple of sentences.

Rebuttals: At this point in the paper you must provide a counterargument against each reason in the set of reasons that you found to be weaker (in the Decision part of the paper).For example, if you found Reasons For the Claim to be a weaker set of reasons, you must counter-argue against (1), (2), (3), (4).Conversely, if you found Reasons Against to be a weaker set, you must counter-argue against (I), (II), (III), (IV).Each counterargument must be unpacked in a whole paragraph.