Online, Spring 2015
The list of topics below is a starting point. You are free to come up with a topic of your own that you think would be more interesting to you; I have always believed that people do better work when they get to decide what they're going to be working on. If you want to use your own topic, by noon EST on Sunday, March 1 you must e-mail me a one or two page typed abstract or outline (it can be longer if you want) clearly explaining what you will be writing about and how you plan to write the paper. This will include your thesis (what you're writing about and what your argument will be), the evidence you'll be offering to support your argument, and your conclusion(s). The amount of detail you offer is up to you, but the more detail you give the more feedback I'll be able to give you and the better your final paper is likely to be. The outline will not be graded; however, if your outline is late or clearly inadequate it will negatively affect the grade of your final paper. (You can submit this outline/abstract even if you're doing a topic below and I will give you feedback). I am happy to look at paper drafts and give feedback, and you can also use the Writing Center for help.
If you want to use one of the topics below, you do not need to submit an abstract/outline, although I will be happy to look at it if you do choose to submit one. The paper is due by noon EST on Sunday, March 8. It must be submitted to SafeAssign via Blackboard. It must be at least five full pages in length. General information and guidelines for the paper can be found in the "Essay Expectations" handout. If you have any questions about requirements for the paper, please ask me rather than guessing – it is better to be safe than sorry. You may use sources outside the course readings if you wish, but you do not need to do so (though it will be impossible to answer some of the questions below if you don't).
Please note that the instructor cannot help you with Blackboard or SafeAssign problems – these must be directed to the Help Desk. If you cannot submit your paper to SafeAssign for technical reasons, send it as an e-mail attachment, let me know the problem you are having, and submit it to SafeAssign as soon as possible.
Pick any two characters and explain the beliefs that each character has which lead them to come into conflict with one another. In your opinion, which of the two of them is more correct and why? You can also say they're both wrong if you explain your answer, but not that they're both right.
Socrates tells the jury why he has avoided politics his whole life. What reasons does he give? On the other hand, in Plato's Gorgias, Socrates says that he is the only politician in Athens – go here (http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/greek/plato/gorgias.html) and search for the phrase "Then to which service of the State do you invite me?" and read from there forward to the end. What do you think? Has Socrates been a politician? (You can't answer that without a clear idea of what you think "politics" is, and it wouldn't hurt to read the rest of the Gorgias if you are going to write about this).
True or false: "The contemporary United States is a good example of the kind of regime Aristotle would call polity." Explain your answer. (You will probably want to explain Aristotle's definition of "polity"…