PHIL 224, Assignment 2, Value Map 2


This assignment is due Thursday, Oct. 27, 11:30 a.m., in class. It is worth 9 marks out of 100 for the course.

Late assignments will be accepted until Nov.1 at 11:30, in class, but will receive a maximum of 7 marks.

After Nov. 1 at 11:30, assignments will not be accepted, except for documented reasons of illlness or family emergency.


Students will analyze an important issue in environmental ethics using value maps, a kind of cognitive-affective map.

Choose ONE of the two topics below.

Hand in a single page, two-sided, consisting of:

  1. Your last name, first name, student number.
  2. Title: topic question.
  3. Value map of the yes view.
  4. Value map of the no view.
  5. Discussion, 150-200 words, of the similarities and differences between the yes and no views. Provide a word count.
  6. Conclusion, 50-100 words, on why you think the yes map or the no map is ethically superior


1. Is a carbon tax a morally right way to reduce the effects of climate change? Yes or no.

2. Is the Keystone XL pipeline a morally right way to export oil sands products? Yes or no.

Drawing Value Maps

Instructions for drawing cognitive-affective maps is available here.

Each map (maximum 1/2 page) must include:

  1. A node for the topic, e.g. CARBON TAX, KEYSTONE XL. This will be positive in the yes map and negative in the no map.
  2. At least 5 positive concepts, represented by ovals.
  3. At least 5 negative concepts, represented by hexagons.
  4. Marker of *C* for consequences or *R* for rights for all positive and negative concepts.
  5. At least 3 positive links between concepts, represented by straight lines.
  6. At least 2 negative links between concepts, represented by dotted lines.
  7. Green circles and red hexagons, if you use colour (optional).
  8. Support for a positive concept (oval) by complimenting it (solid line) with other positive elements.
  9. Support for a positive concept (oval) by having it conflict (dotted line) with negative concept (hexagon).
  10. Counter-support against negative elements (hexagon) by solid lines to other negative elements or dotted lines to positive elements.

Tools for drawing value maps.

  1. EMPATHICA (requires a gmail account) will be the easiest for many students. Known bugs: does not work with some laptops. Avoid the SAVE button; just use the DONE button.
  2. Any computer drawing program, e.g. Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, OmniGraffle, Illustrator, etc.
  3. Hand drawing - a stencil will help.


  1. Confuse emotionally positive and negative concepts, or complimentary and conflicting links.
  2. Have the same node both positive and negative.
  3. Have nodes that are completely unconnected to other nodes.
  4. Have connections that don't make sense, e.g. having LOVE OF ANIMALS linked supportively with ANIMAL SUFFERING.
  5. Present both the pro and con side in the same map.


1. Pro-vegetarian value map

2. Anti-vegetarian value map


Each value map will be worth 3 marks.

The discussion will be worth 2 marks, and the conclusion 1 mark.

Phil 224

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Oct. 10, 2011