For your assignment, write a 1500-page essay that is either a claim of fact, claim of value, or a claim of policy. Of course, you choose what you are trying to claim.

Reading the World: Ideas that Matter provides examples of these three claims:

Claims of Fact
A claim that asserts something exists, has existed, or will exist, based on data that the audience will accept as objectively verifiable. In “Warfare: An Invention–not a Biological Necessity,” Margret Meade says, “I would like to propose another way of looking at war. Warfare, or ‘organized conflict between two groups as groups,’ is an invention that, like cooking food, trial by jury, or burial of the dead, has not always existed in human cultures.” She is making a claim of fact.

Claims of Policy
A claim of policy asserts that a specific course of action should be instituted as a solution to problems. In “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor.” Gerrett Hardin argues against helping the needy: “Lifeboat ethics require those in the lifeboat to refuse to help other people who have a desperate need. Though this may seem cruel, it is the only way for the people in the lifeboat to survive. The lifeboat is the metaphor that we should use to examine the problems of overpopulation and hunger.” This is a claim of policy.

Claims of Value
A claim of value asserts that some things are more or less desirable than others. Unlike claims of fact, which attempt to prove that something is validated by reference to data, claims of value make a judgment. They attempt to prove that something is right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, worthwhile or undesirable. In “On Beauty and Being Just,” Elaine Scarry argues that when we experience aesthetic or ethical dissymmetry, we immediately perceive that the system is out of balance. We notice that something is wrong–and we feel compelled to do something about it. This is a claim of value.

Please note: If you are interested in writing a Claim of Value about art, see Essay III: Art Analysis (Claim of Value) It gives advice on structuring the topic.

Of course, I am not endorsing the preceding claims; rather, I am merely citing them as examples. In regards to potential topics, I recommend avoiding the hazards of smoking, drinking and driving, capital punishment, or gun control. Why? These are important issues, to be sure–but can you shed new light on these subjects, something beyond the common talking points? If not, consider avoiding them.

Wikipedia entries, dictionary quotes, blog entries, or wikiquotes–these things do not fulfill the requirement for using MLA citation in this final essay. Your cited material must be relevant and necessary. Improper MLA format will lose six points. Essays without any MLA citation will lose ten points. Essay III must be submitted on time.

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