Essay #2: Synthesis Essay
Readings: “The Cost of Relativism,” David Brooks
Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City, Kathryn Edin & Timothy Nelson
Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, Kathryn Edin & Maria Kefalas
One of the most controversial subjects debated today is the idea of “moral relativism.” Moral relativism is the belief that one’s values, one’s sense of right and wrong, are culturally based and, therefore, an individual’s choice. In other words, “You decide what’s right for you, and I’ll decide what’s right for me.” Conservatives argue that such thinking leads to a world devoid of morals, where people act according to their desires without any sense of law or order. On the other hand, liberals argue that it is dangerous to impose one’s moral standards on others.
What would Edin and Nelson or Edin and Kefalas say to David Brooks about “The Cost of Relativism”?
Reflect on the following questions about the readings:
On what points might the 3 authors agree? In what ways might they concede to each other’s arguments?
What cultural norms are at play in the book you read?
What would the sociologists Edin, Kefalas, and Nelson say to Brooks’s contention that social norms are necessary to “guide the way” to a healthy nation? In what ways would they want to complicate his thinking?
4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, MLA format
An introduction that explains the problem and ends with a clear thesis that guides the organizational structure of the essay
Strong insights that effectively link readings
Write for an audience NOT in our class; this means you’ll have to explain unfamiliar terms and concepts as well as provide examples to illustrate your ideas
Discussion of the implications of the debate. So what? Why does this topic matter?
Works Cited page
Thesis and Plan Due: Friday, Nov. 6
Draft Due: At the conference
Final Draft Due: Sunday, Nov. 16 to turnitin.com by 11:59 pm
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