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Three important sub-disciplines of philosophy are addressed in this course; ethics, epistemology, and religion. For this paper you will develop an argument that includes your own view on one specific topic relating to one of these sub-disciplines. A list of topics to choose from is listed below. It is recommended that you choose a topic to write on that you have already encountered, or that you have thought about previously. (One way of thinking about this is to think of an issue that worries you, interests you, or enrages you.) For instance, if you choose to write about whether children should be spanked (this is only an example), you would present the argument for spanking and against spanking; you would then state your position relative to this issue and defend your own view. You would also utilize the theories that we saw in the ethics chapter to provide support for your position, and draw on those theories to clarify the debate itself. You may choose a topic from ethics, epistemology, or religion, but you will need to make sure you do the following for whatever topic you choose: Identify the specific issue Make clear one basic dispute over this issue Clarify the arguments on both sides of the issue State which side of the issue you find to be better defended Explain why you find that side of the debate superior State your own view, and defend it with an argument Provide at least two references for each side of the debate
In order to write a strong paper, you will need to clearly and specifically present both sides of the debate using at least five (5) academic resources in addition to the course text. Possible topics: Ethics The death penalty Assisted suicide Reinstating the military draft Pornography Inheritance taxes School prayer Stem cell research Obligations to future generations Gay marriage
Epistemology Is Astrology a science? Teaching evolution in public schools Confirming scientific hypotheses Are science and religion in conflict? The limits of skepticism What are the differences between the mind and the brain? Evaluating evidence and global climate change Is radical relativism defensible? Is there evidence for ESP (extrasensory perception)?
Religion Do people need to prove that God exists? The ontological argument for the existence of God The argument from design and evolutionary theory Can one be moral and not believe in God? Can God and real evil be reconciled? Can I be certain I have a soul?
Can strong determinism be justified? Does the Turing test challenge the uniqueness of human beings?
Published on Jan 16, 2014