Perspective Paper – Husak, “Four Points about Drug Decriminalization”


PHIL 202: Ethics

Perspective Paper: Requirements

Topic: Decriminalization or legalization of drugs in the US. You will need to specify whether you’re writing about decriminalization or legalization, and specify which drugs you’re addressing.

Readings:       Alexander, from The New Jim Crow

Husak, “Four Points about Drug Decriminalization”

Marneffe, “Against the Legalization of Heroin”

Sher’s reply to Husak (recommended, not required)

Shapiro’s reply to de Marneffe (recommended, not required)

Requirements: Papers missing any of these elements will not receive credit.

  1. ****Most important**** Use one of the two paper structure outlines on the next page. Don’t skip anything—all 8 paragraphs are required in exactly the order given. Don’t skip any paragraphs and don’t add any.
  2. Formatting requirements:
    1. Do not include your name anywhere on the document or the file name.
    2. Minimum word count: 750. Maximum: ~900 words. Aim for this maximum, but don’t worry if it goes over a bit.
    3. Proofread for grammar and spelling (max. 5 mistakes).
    4. This paper should be a formal, professional piece of writing. You may use ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘my’, but do not use slang.
    5. Indent the first line of each new paragraph. Do not include Roman numerals.
  3. Quotations:
    1. Required: Include at least 2 quotations from at least 2 of the readings listed above. The quotations should be relevant to your case and should not be taken out of context. DO NOT use any sources outside these 4 readings.
    2. Quotations should be followed by the author’s name and the page number in parentheses, like this (Husak 221).
    3. You don’t need a Works Cited page.
  4. In the introduction (first paragraph):
    1. Specify whether you will talk about legalization or decriminalization, and specify which drugs you’ll talk about.
    2. Have a clear thesis statement as the last sentence of the first paragraph. The thesis statement will state what you’re going to do or prove in the paper (ex: I will show that Husak’s arguments in favor of drug decriminalization fail.).
  5. Arguments must address the moral dimensions of this issue rather than merely the factual. What this means: every time you give a fact, you must connect it to a value. (For example, if you believe heroin shouldn’t be legal because it’s highly addictive, you need to explain why addiction is bad or wrong, and why our government ought to control it.)