An argument maybe defined as a group statements in which one statement is implied to be true by the other statements. The statement implied to be true is called a conclusion and the other statements are called premises. Philosophical positions are defended with arguments. In this assignment, analyze, criticize, and defend a position. A position must be clearly expressed in order for this essay to be regarded as argumentative. This assignment is focused and definitive. It should be at least 650 words (including bibliography), but may be longer without penalties. However, if it is less than 650 words, the overall grade will be reduced proportionately. Words should be carefully selected and sentences carefully constructed in order to make the most efficient use of your writing space. Use good examples, present counter-arguments to your arguments when useful, and be specific. In this assignment you must demonstrate critical thinking skills by plausibly implying that your position is true.
Select one topic from this list.
What is your view on love? Present and defend a position love. This topic is broad so narrow it down to one idea for this short assignment. Do some research for definitions and issues. Some areas to consider: define and defend a position on unconditional love, love between a mother and daughter, romantic love, love among friends, plolyamory love, love of god, sexual love, love of animal as opposed to love of people, and love of self (if such a thing exists).
Develop a position on sexual ethics. You could formulate a position on extramarital sex, premarital sex, celibacy, homosexuality, lesbianism, polygamy, polyamory, swinging as a lifestyle, prostitution, exotic dancing, the role of religion, the role of the government, the role of parents, and sex crimes. A strong paper includes research for definitions and a strong opinion defended by good examples or theories. This topic works well with surveys of friends, family, or coworkers. You may use your survey result as one of your sources.
What is your view on beauty? Do you have a definition that you are willing to defend? Or can you argue against or for the view that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” You may also focus on one area: the arts, nature, or people. Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to define our concept of beauty and some women’s entire life surrounds the one idea that she may not be beautiful enough. Are we obligated to believe in societies view of beauty? This is a real crisis for some people. What is your position?
What is your view on the theory of evolution? Consider the now social debate of Intelligent Design vs. the Theory of Evolution. Can you defend either side on this issue? Some research will be required for this topic, so please provide your list of references. You may choose to write on a very small aspect of this debate as long as you can formulate a position to defend.
What is your view on the existence of god? Defend a position. For this topic, you should do some research and provide a list of references with the submitted essay. There are some good arguments already written on this topic and you could write a great paper reviewing and criticizing or supporting these arguments. In either case, all outside sources should noted in your list of references. You may also choose to write on a very small aspect of this issue as long as you can formulate a position to defend.
Choose a topic from Thomas Nagel’s work, “What does it all mean?” and develop a position for which you can argue. Do not use any chapter that has been used elsewhere in this course.
Some Suggestions for a Great Paper
Always consider your audience.
Use simple but clear examples to illustrate concepts or theories.
You may attempt to show that the view being studied is inadequate (or bad) by presenting several possible situations that the view cannot adequately address. Or, you try to show that the view would not work in today’s modern society, even if it is logically valid. Or, you may look for an internal inconsistency among the basic principles of the view under study. Or, you may assume that the theory is true and attempt to show that if it were true we would be engaging in a contradiction if we tried to use it.
You may attempt to show that the view being studied is strong (or good) by presenting several possible situations that demonstrate how well this view works. Or, you may attempt to show how our society would benefit if it adopted this view. Or, you may generate an analysis of the principles and illustrate how well the principles hold together and that this cohesion suggests that the view is valid. Or, you may attempt to show that proceeding without the view would go against the best interest of the individual or society.
Write your philosophy paper in first person. When you do your paper in first person, you are telling your reader that you are one hundred percent responsible for all information that it contains. In essence, you are directly accepting responsibility for the rational content of your paper. After introducing your topic or position in first person, you do not need to constantly use it to present your work. But, you must maintain constant control of the analysis and not let any particular source or author use you as a mouthpiece. If you agree with someone’s view, say so. If you wish to use someone’s argument to defend your position, use it. In either case you merely need to mention the source of the argument. In general, you do not need to come up with original arguments, in order to be in charge of your paper. You maintain your control because you are the one who chose to present that particular author in your paper and you are the one vouching for his or her credibility.