1. Proofs of God’s existence. Choose EITHER Aquinas’ first way, Anselm’s ontological argument or Paley’s design argument. (Write on ONLY ONE!!) Explain the argument, giving the premises and conclusion(s), and explain two MAJOR objections to it. Be sure to explain HOW the objections work (e.g. by attacking a particular premise.) Then respond to the objections on behalf of Aquinas, Anselm or Paley (as appropriate.) How well do your responses defend the argument? Do they make it convincing or do they leave doubts? Why? (Argue for you view here.)
2. The problem of evil. Explain the argument from evil. (Give the premises and conclusion of this argument.) Then explain in detail Augustine’s and Aquinas’ theodicies. How well do their responses to the problem work? Do they successfully address the problem of “natural evil?” Why or why not? (Argue for your view. Note: ignoring natural evil will seriously weaken the paper and cost many points!)
3. Epistemology. What are Descartes’ arguments against empiricism? Explain them in detail, applying the method of doubt and giving the steps for each stage of doubt. (See the First Meditation.) What are Hume’s arguments against rationalism? Explain how his arguments use the empirical criterion of meaning. (See the sections of Lawhead where Hume attacks the concepts of substance, self and cause and effect.) Which arguments do you find more convincing? Why? (Argue for you view here.)
4. Personal identity. Explain the somatic theory of personal identity. Which is the best version of it and why? What are Locke’s objections to it? Explain Descartes’ view. What is Locke’s objection to it? Explain Locke’s view. What are the objections to it? (Raised by Hume and by me.) What do your intuitions about Leonard tell about the strengths and/or weaknesses of the different views? If you had to choose a theory, which would you choose and why? (Note: Kierkegaard’s theory is fair game here, but you should think about any problems Leonard might cause for this view also.)
Other topics are possible, but must be discussed with me. General Form: Introduce your topic, defining terms and ethical criteria where necessary, and then signal what your thesis will be. Succeeding paragraphs should clearly state the major reasons supporting the thesis, and supply evidence for them.