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INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY– TERM PAPER You must write a 4-5 page term paper and submit it in the eLearn drop-box by 11:59pm on May 3rd. Rough Drafts are due by 04/27 at 11:59pm. Since on tests you are

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY– TERM PAPER

You must write a 4-5 page term paper and submit it in the eLearn drop-box by 11:59pm on May 3rd. Rough Drafts are due by 04/27 at 11:59pm. Since on tests you are required to demonstrate your knowledge of the philosophers we have studied, this is meant to be an exercise in your critical thinking about these philosophers and express your own thinking on matters we have discussed. HOWEVER, you must present your opinion using premises that lead up to and justify your conclusion. You cannot argue “this is just how I feel” without any supporting reasons. This is unacceptable in philosophy. Listed below are the guidelines for how you must write. Also listed below is the list of acceptable topics you can choose from (choose 1). You can also choose your own topic if you like as long as you run it by me first. Philosophy Homework Help.

The first half to two-thirds of the paper should be an explication of the philosopher’s arguments. TRY TO PRESENT THEIR ARGUMENT AS ACCURATELY AS YOU CAN! (Don’t straw-man.) The last half or third of the paper should be your argument in support of or against the philosopher’s position. Your paper should contain an intro paragraph, a body (comprising the bulk of the paper), and a conclusion. Your intro paragraph should contain a clearly stated thesis (a thesis is a one or two sentence proposition which clearly states the argument of your paper). The conclusion should restate the thesis in a more nuanced way once your argument has been developed and defended. PLEASE PROOF READ

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GUIDELINES

4-5 pages.

12pt. Times New Roman font.

1-inch margins.

Double spaced.

In text citations are fine.

Minimum 3 citations

If a quote is more than 40 words, it must be turned into a block quote (no more than one block quote for the entire paper).

Number pages.

Use the Oxford Comma.

Have a creative title.

Your name at the top of the paper along with the title only.

Only submit using a word file or a .doc or .docx file! NO PDFs or other files! If you use google docs, you must download it as a Word file and then upload it to the dropbox.

USE THE TEXTS FROM CLASS. You do not need to do research. However, if you would like supplemental information for your paper, these cannot be cited: WIKIPEDIA, SPARKNOTES, YOUTUBE, AND OTHER NON-ACADEMIC SOURCES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE. But you can use them to help you grasp an idea.

GRADING RUBRIC

10 points: Grammar, sentence structure, etc.

10 points: Following all the guidelines.

40 points: Presentation of the philosopher’s position.

40 points: Strength of the argument for your position

LIST OF TOPICS

Choose your own topic. But consult me first!

Meta-philosophy

Write about meta-philosophy: What is Philosophy primarily concerned with? For Aristotle, he was concerned with necessity, with causes. Philosophy Homework Help.  In a way, he sought to de-mythologize philosophy. But for Plato, mythology is an essential aspect of philosophy. Plato’s philosophy is, therefore, perhaps more human than Aristotle’s because myth plays a role. Should the primary focus of philosophy be this concern with necessity, “First Philosophy,” or should it be a concern with the human and bringing the person to examine themselves and “know thy self?” Or are these two not so different? This assignment is far more interpretive than the others but I still want to make sure you reference the philosophers and try to grapple with them intimately.

Epistemology

Write about meta-epistemology: What is knowledge/truth? We have seen Plato discuss possible definitions of knowledge in the Theaetetus. We have seen Descartes argue that for something to be true it must be absolutely certain. James has also argued that one can be said to have knowledge of something if it simply works. What criteria must be met for an idea to be true? Argue for or against a certain philosopher’s position. DO NOT TALK ABOUT ALL OF THEM. Only present the one or two relevant to your argument.

Write about epistemology: Can we have knowledge or how is it obtained? What is the criteria necessary? What is your position on this question of knowledge? Be sure to present the argument of one or two philosophers (Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Descartes, Hume, & James). Can you defend any of their philosophies in answering this topic question? Defend, criticize, or make your own argument. DO NOT TALK ABOUT ALL OF THEM. Only present the one or two relevant to your argument.

Ethics

Write about historico-moral philosophy: Is there moral progress? We have seen competing arguments about the question of moral progress. Rousseau has argued that political society has led to the regression of morality with the promotion of amour propre. Kant has argued that there is moral progress because we can look at the promotion of enlightenment values spreading beyond the borders of France during the French Revolution. What do you think? Present the arguments of each and argue which you think is correct.  Philosophy Homework Help.

Write about normative ethics: Buddhism argues that, since there is no self, we should be moral because we have an obligation to be benevolent to others. To be moral means to give others’ welfare no less weight than one gives one’s own welfare. However, Mandeville argues that we should be self-interested, and that in being self-interested we indirectly make society better. Should we be altruistic, as Buddhism argues, or self-interested, as Mandeville argues?

Write about applied ethics: Is Physician-Assisted Suicide morally acceptable? For this topic, you will need to argue the positions of Kant’s deontological ethics and Mill’s utilitarian ethics in order to provide an answer to this philosophical question of whether physician assisted suicide is ethical or not. Consider the argument each would make with this dilemma and then argue which one you think is correct. *(See further description at end)

Political Philosophy

Is government justified? We have seen arguments in favor of government with Hobbes arguing government is justified to stop people from descending back into immoral beings, Locke argues it is necessary because it protects private property and so makes possible justice, and Rousseau argues government is only desirable if it promotes the General Will. With Marx we have seen the argument that government is not an end in itself but, since it is used to serve the interests of the ruling class, it should be sued only as a means to an end in collapsing the class distinction. And with Bakunin we have seen extremely critical arguments against it since its power is inherently arbitrary. Which philosopher do you think makes the best case? Present the argument of that one and then either defend or criticize it. Would you bring in another philosopher and mix their arguments? What is your opinion? DO NOT TALK ABOUT ALL OF THEM. Only present the one or two relevant to your argument.

What does it mean to be free? We have seen the argument that freedom from external interference is freedom, known as negative liberty (in Locke and Rousseau); we have seen that the ability to think for one’s self in tandem with rational, political laws is freedom (in Kant); we have seen that freedom requires a combination of negative liberty – guarantee of non-arbitrary use of authority – and positive liberty – the ability to be materially self-sufficient (in Marx and Bakunin). Philosophy Homework Help. Which philosopher do you think has the best argument for freedom? Pick one and defend their philosophy. Or, if you think none of these philosophies adequately describes what freedom is or how it can be attained, present a philosopher’s argument to criticize, and then state what you think is required for freedom; give your own argument while presenting and arguing against any one of these philosophers. DO NOT TALK ABOUT ALL OF THEM. Only present the one or two relevant to your argument.

Is inequality ultimately desirable? Mandeville argues that while we might publicly decry exploitation and inequality, and that we should still punish these things, that it is precisely these things that make society better. Through frugal industry where people try to better themselves at the expense of others, everyone’s livelihood is overall improved and the standard of living is raised. This is a kind of proto-pro-capitalist argument. Marx, however, argues against what he calls the internal contradictions of capitalism. He is against the exploitation of the working-class arguing that only once the inequality between the bourgeoisie and proletariat is dissolved can the greater welfare of all be achieved. Who do you think is right? Is inequality a necessary evil? Or is abolishing inequality desirable?

*For the Kant/Mill topic:

When addressing Kant’s ethics, be sure to take into consideration:

Whether suicide can be willed into a universal law (is it contradictory?)?

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Would loss of mental faculties, brought on by an ailment, reduce the capacity to reason and so the categorical imperative would not apply to this person?

Whether this kind of physician-assisted suicide is a different action from what we would normally consider suicide to be – so could this kind of suicide be applied categorically without contradiction?

When addressing Mill’s ethics, be sure to take into consideration:

The reduction of pain for the individual this would affect.

Would the pain loved ones experience by this kind of death outweigh the pain reduced by the individual?

If this were to be completely legal at the federal level, would the general happiness of society improve or not?

First, what exactly do we mean by the term physician-assisted suicide?

Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing yourself with the aid of someone who provides the knowledge or the means to do so. Many people prefer the term “physician aid-in-dying” simply because the word suicide has negative connotations. (Suicide isn’t illegal, but some people consider it immoral.) Physician aid-in-dying is distinct from euthanasia. Philosophy Homework Help.  In states that have approved physician aid-in-dying, doctors can provide patients with the medications that will end their lives, assuming they meet certain strict criteria, but physicians can’t administer the medication. A patient has to be able to take it on his or her own. Euthanasia is where a doctor, or another person, administers the medication. That’s illegal in the United States, although euthanasia is legal, with certain restrictions, in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

In states that allow physician-assisted suicide, which patients qualify?

Patients have to be terminally ill, which by definition means their doctor believes they have six months or less to live. They have to be able to take the drug themselves. They must have the mental capacity to know what they are doing and what the consequences are. They have to make two verbal requests, 15 days apart, and one written request with two witnesses. And two doctors—an attending physician and a consulting physician—must verify that the patient meets all the criteria. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. It’s not an easy process. The rules are there to try to make sure patients aren’t coerced, and that they know what they are doing.

You can find more information by following this URL: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-community/health-care-policy/article/physician-assisted-suicide-ethical . Philosophy Homework Help.

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