Blog Assignment 1: Summarizing and Defining Key Words

This blog post will consist of two parts, but you should integrate both parts into a unified piece of writing (ie, composing each part in paragraphs, using transitions between the paragraphs to explain how they relate to one another).

Part 1 – Summary

First, write a summary of Hoffman’s essay “Empathy, Justice, and the Law.” As you will see, this essay is longer than either Bloom’s “The Baby in the Well” or Cummins’ “Why Paul Bloom is Wrong about Empathy,” and will prove more challenging to succinctly summarize. But summary is a vital skill in scholarly writing, so it’s important to practice it now.

Part 2 – Key Term

Another thing you will notice about Hoffman’s essay—and much scholarly writing—is the use of language that is specific to the discipline in which Hoffman is writing (in Hoffman’s case, psychology). This may mean one of two things: either that the writer is using terms that are familiar to scholars in the discipline but unfamiliar to those outside of it; or that the writer is using familiar terms but is careful to use them in precise ways specific to his/her discipline.

For the second part of your blog post, I want you to identify a single key term used in one of these two way in Hoffman’s essay (you might choose Hoffman’s use of the term empathy, but you could choose any number of other terms from the essay, as well). In identifying this key term, you will do three things:

  1. Quote one instance in which Hoffman uses the term.
  2. Define the term in the way Hoffman uses it, using your own words.
  3. Explain why it is important for Hoffman’s essay that he use the term in the specific way that he uses it. This might be because it is a key concept, to ensure that the term’s meaning is not confused with a similar term, or some other reason. It’s up to you to read the essay and determine why this use of the term is important for Hoffman’s essay.