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Write an essay on one of the following For see.docx
Write an essay on one of the following For see.docx
Write an essay on one of the following For see.docx
Write an essay on one of the following For see.docx
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Other means of persuasion, propaganda, & fallaciesWhat concept.docxOther means of persuasion, propaganda, & fallaciesWhat concept.docx
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Write an essay on one of the following For see.docx

  1. Write an essay on one of the following topics. For guidance, see the page “Essa Write an essay on one of the following topics.For guidance, see the page “Essay Writing Suggestions,”1. According to Descartes, you are most essentially a mind with lots and lots of thoughts, housed temporarily in a body. Not only are you a mind, but you are a non-bodily or non-material mind. That is, your mind and your thoughts exist separately from, and in an entirely different way from, your body and your brain. Despite these huge differences, your thoughts somehow interact with your brain and body, sending messages and causing things to happen. Much hinges on this “somehow.” Is Descartes basically right in this picture of the mind? What are his main arguments to support it, and are they plausible? Do you, and can you, regard yourself as a split up and composite being, made of two completely different things, one (your mind) lasting much longer than, and in a totally different way from, the other (your brain and body)? Do you agree or disagree – and why?2. Locke thinks that you were born a cognitive blank slate, and that everything you know ultimately comes from experience, and from your surrounding environment and upbringing; and almost all of it comes through your five doors of perception. But Locke also characterizes your doors of perception as few in number, mostly passive (at birth), narrow in range, and not entirely reliable in how they represent the world that is on the other side of your experience. Is this what you really were many years ago – a mere and mostly passive blank slate? How did you get all the way from there (a little blank slate newborn or fetus) to here (a smart and savvy university student), given such an unpromising starting point? Discuss with respect to Locke’s blank slate theory. Are his arguments plausible? Do you agree or disagree – and why?3. Epicurus thinks that you were born a pleasure seeker (and a pain avoider), that all your pleasures are good (although some are more worthy than others), and that everything you do is ultimately done for the sake of pleasure. But he also thinks that most people – possibly you too – are confused about who they are, and how they should live; and that they are too easily distracted and alienated from their true nature. Are you essentially and innately a pleasure-seeker? Is this how you regard yourself, and is it how you conduct your life? What exactly does Epicurus mean by this? Are his views or arguments plausible? Do you agree or disagree – and why?4. Rousseau thinks that all humans are born free but everywhere they are in chains; and that it is society and civilization that corrupts their otherwise benevolent, freedom-loving, and compassionate dispositions, and thus alienates them from their true nature. Life in the state of nature – prior to and independent of society
  2. and civilization – was our optimal condition. How does Rousseau arrive at this unusual view? What are his main arguments to support it? Are his arguments and his strategy plausible? How could humans be so vulnerable to such alienation? Do you agree or disagree – and why?5. Schopenhauer thinks that you are born into misery and suffering, and condemned to the roller coaster of desire-satisfaction-letdown-more-desire-more- satisfaction-more-letdown and so on, from day one to the bitter horrible end. Conflict, suffering, and dissatisfaction are inevitable: it is how you are built. Is he right? Are you a prisoner of your desires, cravings, wants, and volitions? Is his explanation of how this prison comes to be – it’s all because of the way the human mind is hardwired to think and experience in terms of spatio-temporally discrete individuals – on the right track? Is this how you think about yourself? Are his arguments plausible? Do you agree or disagree – and why?6. Descartes thinks that your pet dog is no more than a mindless machine, and that you are different from your pet (and all animals) in a number of huge ways, most crucially in the possession of language and a suite of extraordinary reasoning and problem solving skills (that is, a mind). Long before robotics and AI and ChatGPT appeared, Descartes predicted that it would one day be possible to build a machine that looks and behaves so much like your pet dog that it would fool you into thinking it was a real animal; but, he argued, it will never be possible to build a humanoid robot or AI machine that would fool you like this – you’d always be able to spot the differences, sooner or later. Is he right? What are his main arguments? Are they plausible? Do you agree or disagree with him – and why?7. Long before Darwin devised the image of the tree of life to illustrate the common ancestry of all forms of life, Locke used the traditional image of the great ladder or chain of being, with all creatures ranked in terms of degree of perfection from lowest to highest, with God at the top (but not Him/Her/Itself part of the chain). Oddly, Locke claims that humans are much closer to the lower end of the great chain of being than to the top end, and he uses a number of arguments to make his point, not least of which is the idea that there must be creatures (or “persons”?) with many more, and many more accurate, senses than humans. What are Locke’s main arguments to support his view that humans are low down on the ladder? Are they plausible? Do you agree or disagree – and why?8. It’s an endless and mostly empty universe out there, with bits of stardust drifting randomly, occasionally colliding with other bits of stardust, and occasionally forming larger clumps and even planets, and occasionally on those planets forming animals and plants and micro-organisms, and then – lo and behold – you; and all of these events happening without any sort of plan or intelligible order to it all, or any overseeing all-powerful divinity designing it. The chances of you never putting in an appearance at all in this mostly empty and entirely random universe are trillions of times (and more) higher than the chances of you putting in an appearance here and now. That is, the chances of you coming to exist at all are staggeringly small. Put another way: you have won the most amazing lottery in the universe – the existence lottery. This fact alone should put a smile on your face every day. This is one of the central components of Epicurean joy (and it finds imperfect expression in the motto carpe diem). Do you agree? Is knowing that you won this lottery enough to get you through the day, including a bad day, a bad month, a bad year, or a bad life?9. When you bite into an apple, according to Locke, a lot of what you experience is not really there in the apple itself:
  3. the colours, tastes, smells, and sounds of the apple are not in the apple, although you think they are. If Locke is right, there is just not much of a resemblance between a lot of your sensory experience and the real causes of your experience (with the one exception being your experience of the shape, size, weight, mass and motion of the apple). And other creatures with different sensory equipment – like your pet hound dog – get a very different experience of the same apple. Do you agree with this picture? Does this mean that you can never really know the taste of an apple? What are Locke’s main arguments for this view? Are they plausible?10. Schopenhauer claims that life is a business that does not cover its costs, that life is full of unremitting and completely pointless suffering, and that ultimately human life is a mistake. His conclusion: it is better not to be than it is to be; it’s better to never have been born. How can anyone make a comparative claim (about being and not being) like this without being able to examine and evaluate both sides of the comparison, and without using a common measure of some sort – which, clearly, cannot be done with the state of not-being? Does his conclusion even make sense? What work-around strategies could Schopenhauer possibly use to support it? Are they plausible? Does he have a point?Essay Writing SuggestionsThese essay topics are built around weighty philosophical positions or ideas, followed by a handful of weighty questions. The questions are posed in such a way that you will need to think about them carefully, then take a stand on them, then explain your stand and defend it with your best well-reasoned arguments.There isn’t a one- size-fits-all formula for writing philosophy essays. There is plenty of room for individual variation, and plenty of room for finding your voice. Don’t be too creative: please, no plays, dialogues, stream-of-consciousness reports, or short stories. If you are having difficulty, or are new to writing philosophy essays, here are some suggestions you might want to consider.One way to start out the essay is to combine careful exposition and analysis of the philosophical position or idea you are addressing, at least insofar as it is relevant to the main question/s. What exactly is so-and-so saying? Why is he saying it? What does he mean? Following that section will be your answer to the question/s. How much exposition and analysis? Consider making the exposition-analysis section about 40-50% of the paper. It should be focused only on that part of the philosophical position or idea that is relevant to the question at hand; there is no need to cover everything (e.g. all aspects of Epicurus’ philosophy, or all of Locke’s epistemology).Of course, make sure your exposition is accurate and fair; steer clear of the strawman strategy; steer clear of absolutizing; steer clear of paraphrasing other peoples’ work (it’s boring – put it into your own words); and don’t assume that a question that is rhetorically posed (e.g. “Who could possibly believe that?”) counts as an argument with any weight. It isn’t and it doesn’t.The latter part of the essay – say 40-50% – consists of your answer/s to the main question/s, and the arguments you develop to support your answer/s. Consider this analogy. Liken your role to that of a criminal trial defense lawyer who must argue his/her case in front of a jury and a judge and a courthouse packed with friends and foe alike. You have to win them over. To do so, your argument has to be clear and easy to follow; it has to be streamlined rather than bulky (that is, limited to your 2 or 3 best arguments); it should anticipate objections from the prosecuting lawyer, and address the head-on; it should steer clear of fancy rhetorical devices; it should avoid unnecessary detail and fluff; and it should play fair with the facts (or
  4. the text in question).As for citation style, both MLA and APA will work. Footnotes are ok, too, but not pages and pages of them.Perhaps the most important thing is to keep in mind at all times that the jury and judge and prosecuting lawyer (or legal team) who are listening to you are wondering “why should I believe this?” and “what exactly is he/she saying?” And keep in mind at all times one of the most common responses of the jury and judge: “ok, but why?” This last question typically shows up when you make an important move in your argument and instead of defending it, you leave it hanging in mid-air, as if it is so obvious that it needs no further defense. Too many of these mid-air suspension moves and you won’t win your case. Naturally, a brief introduction in which you state your intentions and goals is helpful. But keep it brief, and avoid unimportant statements such as “X was a great/important/pioneering/etc philosopher who lived and worked in Paris, Texas.” A brief conclusion is helpful, consisting of a succinct retrospective. Even a brief prospective account of what is missing in your answer and what needs to be done next (if only you had the time and willpower) might also be helpful, but it is not absolutely necessary.Finally, you do not need to go out and do research on these topics; you can rely on the text in question, the lectures, and your own thoughts. That is probably how Descartes and company intended it to be anyways: they were writing directly to you, the reader, one on one. There is of course no rule saying you should not do research. But beware: there are hundreds of books, thousands of journal articles, and hundreds of websites, all professing important insights into Epicurus, Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, and Schopenhauer. Some are good and some are not; some will say X about Descartes, some will say the very opposite; some will be confusing and some clear as a bell. If you use these secondary sources, make sure you cite them in a bibliography.
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