Introduction to Philosophy
1) Research Kant and Mill (and/or Utilitarianism); develop your explanations of their conclusions and the reasons that they give in support of them; and develop your own reasoning and views on the issues dealt with over/against Kant’s and Mill‘s theories.
2) Aristotle has a different approach to Ethics than either Kant’s, or Bentham’s and Mill’s approach. His approach has been referred to as “virtue ethics,” as opposed to “deontological ethics,” or “teleological ethics.” The emphasis is on “virtues” as character traits. Read Aristotle in the Kessler text, and add your research on Aristotle and “Virtue Ethics.” Evaluate Aristotle’s and virtue ethicists’ reasoning, and evaluate “virtue ethics.”
3) Choose one of the arguments for the existence of God that we have studied (Ontological, Cosmological, Teleological) and do further research on the argument, including possible problems cited by critics. For example, for the Teleological Arg. (aka, the Design Arg.)do further research on classic and contemporary statements of the argument by Wm. Paley and Richard Swineburn, and the classic critique by David Hume. Explain the argument as fully as possible and critique it “on its merits,” considering possible problems cited by critics.
4) Explain and critique Confucius/Confucianism as it is found in the Analects, and research Mozi and Mohism. How do Kongzi and Mozi differ? Explain and critique their positions. Who has the better reasons for their position, in your view, and why?
5) Research “Theodicy,” the Greek philosopher, Epicurus, and the “Problem of Evil” argument against the existence of God. Explain and evaluate this argument.
6) Research, explain and critique the relationship between contemporary theology and the concept of the “evolutionary cosmos” in the sciences, as it is seen, for example, by the theologians, scientists and philosophers who participated in the film, “Faith and Reason.” (The position of the Christian thinkers in the film is usually referred to as “evolutionary theism,” “theistic evolutionism.,” or “guided evolutionism“)
7) Research the “Conflicting Truth-Claims Problem,” or the “Problem Of Many Religions.” Describe the “Problem ;“state the skeptical arguments that arise out of it and some possible replies. Describe your own position and support your conclusions.
Notes: (1) You need 4 sources, including articles from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which are on Reserve in Pfau Library and can be accessed online (the access number is r1s12190), and the Kessler text. And you need to refer to your sources in the body of your Term Paper. So, you need what is called a “Works Cited” page, a “Sources Cited” page, or a “Bibliography” page at the end of the Paper ; and notes in the Paper that refer to the books and/or articles on your “Works Cited” page. Kessler always provides lists of books and articles for further reading. There is a lot of literature on the above topics. Use the school Library, and you can use the Internet, along with the Kessler text. You need to demonstrate that you have actually read the “Sources” that you cite by explaining their contents.
(2) The above topics are “pre-approved.” If you want to do something else, then you need to provide a typed request, with a Topic; a Thesis regarding it, and a list of Sources for approval. It can be on anything covered in class, or in the text. There are no exceptions to #2.
(3) In any case, you must (1) give reasons in support your position/thesis ; (2) consider objections to your thesis cited by critics, and (3) give replies to those objections.
(4) Papers are to be written in accordance with relevant “handouts.” They should typed,
double spaced, and a minimum of one thousand words long.
Your Term Paper should have three sections.
1) in the first paragraph briefly state the topic or issues that you will be dealing with and /or the argument(s) that you will discuss in your paper. And briefly state your own position or Thesis regarding the Topic.
2) the main body of the paper should do what you say you will do in the opening paragraph—here is where you display your research and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the material: explain positions, lay out arguments, objections, replies, and you give your own defense or support for your Thesis regarding the topic or issues that you are dealing with.
3) in one ending paragraph briefly state what you have accomplished in your paper
Introduction to Philosophy