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Assignment Instructions

 
Philosophical Essay: You will write a two-part 5-6 page essay using our Library Guide for PHIL101 and our Online Library to answer one of the following questions:  
 
     Please be sure to carefully read the syllabus assignment instructions prior to submission, as well as review the example in the syllabus of the Philosophical Essay Part 1.
 
 
1.  According to Socrates, must one heed popular opinion about moral matters?  Does Socrates accept the fairness of the laws under which he was tried and convicted?  Would Socrates have been wrong to escape?
 

2.  If God exists, is murder immoral?  Can those who do not believe in God be highly moral people?  Can people who practice different religions agree about how to resolve a moral disagreement?

 

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3.  Consider the following philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” (1) How is this philosophical puzzle an epistemological problem? And (2) how would John Locke answer it?

 

4.  Evaluate the movie, The Matrix, in terms of the philosophical issues raised with (1) skepticism and (2) the mind-body problem. Explain how the movie raises questions similar to those found in Plato’s and Descartes’ philosophy. Do not give a plot summary of the movie – focus on the philosophical issues raised in the movie as they relate to Plato and Descartes.

 

5.  Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?” (1) How does this question relate to the Divine Command Theory of morality? (2) What are the philosophical implications associated with each option here?

 

6.  Explain (1) the process by which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, and (2) what first principle does this lead him to? (3) Explain why this project was important for Descartes to accomplish. 

Part 1: At the end of week 4 you will turn in (1) a clearly articulated thesis statement, and (2) a selected list of appropriate sources using our Library Guide for PHIL101 and our Online Library, as indicated below:
 
1.      Identify at least one encyclopedia, or similar work, providing a big picture overview of key issues your topic needs to address.
 
2.      Identify at least one secondary source, an interpretive work, addressing your topic which was written by someone other than the philosophers identified in your topic.  This secondary source should be located through the journal article database available in the APUS Online Library, where contemporary philosophical articles pertaining to your topic, can be located.   For instance, use EBSCO’s Academic Search Elite.  This is a searchable database of scholarly articles from many academic disciplines, including philosophy.  It should be used to locate contemporary scholarly articles pertaining to epistemology, perception, Locke, etc.  It also contains the full text of many of the articles. 
 
3.      Identify at least one primary source, from a major philosopher identified in your topic choice. Be sure that the primary source selected pertains to the issues raised by your topic.

 

Provide a complete reference in MLA style for each work selected, and explain briefly (annotate) how the content of each source will assist you with your Philosophical Essay Assignment..  Attach as a correctly formatted MS Word document and submit. See the syllabus for additional instructions and an example of what is due week 4.

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