Argument and Philosophical Theories Essay

Submitted By thacud
Words: 858
Pages: 4

Intro to Phil Essay Instructions: Write a 3-4-page paper taking a position on one of the issues we have discussed. This paper must be typed and double-spaced, 12-point Roman font, one-inch margins. It must include your name and page number on every page, and be stapled in the upper-left-hand corner. Be sure to be clear about what your position is, and how you are supporting it. You may have to appeal to evidence outside of Lawhead, depending on your topic. Be sure to cite any outside sources you use! No plagiarism will be tolerated! Papers that fail to adhere to these instructions will be returned unread until the format is corrected. Guidelines: your paper must explain and use elements of the theories we have discussed. You must then take a stand on one side of the debate or the other, and explain why you think as you do. This explanation is your original contribution to the debate, and is therefore all-important. Consult with me on a topic and basic argumentative strategy before you begin writing!! Failure to clear your topic with me will most likely result in a disastrous grade on this assignment. Paper Topics
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.