Posted: November 9th, 2015
The audience is the same as before: a friend who doesn’t know any philosophy. Make
sure to clearly explain key terms; give examples wherever possible; offer textual
support for your interpretive claims; acknowledge your sources; and consider
reasonable objections to your critical claims. The recommended structure is the
same as before, except that you must include a thesis statement at the beginning of
your paper. Ask your TA what a thesis statement is. 1. Write 4 pages that addresses
one of the topics below well.
TOPIC A Briefly explain what Glaucon’s challenge is to Socrates at the start of
Book II of the Republic, and then briefly explain how Socrates’s analogy with
bodily health at the end of Book IV of the Republic is supposed to respond to that
challenge. Is the response a good one? Why or why not?
TOPIC B Explain Callicles’s view of what’s good and admirable in a human life. Is
his view the right one? Why or why not?
TOPIC C Explain Aristotle’s “function argument” from Book I of the Nicomachean
Ethics. Is the argument a good one? Why or why not?
TOPIC D Explain why the Dalai Lama thinks that universal compassion is a necessary
condition for real happiness for human beings. Is the Dalai Lama right about this?
Why or why not?
TOPIC E Explain Mill’s criterion for one kind of pleasure being qualitatively
superior to another kind. Is Mill right that pleasures of the intellect are
qualitatively superior to the kinds of pleasure that a pig could enjoy? Why or why
TOPIC F Is pleasure the only intrinsic good? Why or why not? (In writing on this
topic, you must explain and critically discuss the views of at least one of the
philosophers we have read.)
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