PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy Term Paper Topics: The point of these pap

PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
Term Paper Topics:
The point of
these papers will be to focus on one particular argument or theory. The goal is not to do research
(looking up stuff in the library) but to focus your thoughts on one argument or one position and dig
deep. Your grade on these essays will be primarily based on the clarity of your writing (that means
grammar is important), the command of the material and the “depth” of your explanations. Which
side of the issue you are on is completely irrelevant, what matters is how well you state your
case. Please consult the course calendar and syllabus for the due date. Please upload your essays
into Blackboard through the appropriate dropbox.
Please choose one of the following topics:
1. Is the human being purely material, or is there an immaterial component? If the human being is
purely material, what does that imply about free will? If there is an immaterial component, what
does that imply about free will? In other words: address the question “are human beings just
complicated machines, or is there something more to us”? and explain what is implied on both sides
of the argument. Don’t just give the argument you happen to agree with; consider objections to it
and respond to those objections.
Note: students often write essays relying on emotion or sentiment in response to the topic above
(“How bleak the world would be if we didn’t have souls” and the like). That is not what you are
supposed to be doing: rather, you should write an essay that argues for a specific position and
responds to counterarguments.
2. Is there a basis in nature for morality? Is there such a thing as a natural right, natural law,
or natural justice? Can human beings know something about right and wrong through the use
of unaided reason (i.e., without the help of revealed religion)? Is morality relative to culture, or
does morality transcend culture? Explain.
3. Explain, what Socrates might have meant when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth
living.” Do you agree with this position? Why or why not?
4. When we say that pursuing knowledge or wisdom for its own sake has intrinsic value, what does
that statement mean? If you disagree, please explain the grounds for your disagreement.
5. Explain the cosmological argument for the existence of God. What objections might be raised to
it? How might a proponent of the cosmological argument respond to those objections?





Get 30% off your first purchase