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Paper Topic #1
Due: October 13, 2015
Requirements:
1. Papers are to be typed, double-spaced.
2. Papers are to be at least 1000 words in length (though you can write more if
you want).
3. If you refer to any outside text in any manner, it must be properly documented.
4. No plagiarism.
5. For each day the paper is late one full letter grade will be marked off.
In addition to writing a 1000 word essay on capital punishment (our first case study)
which draws upon our class discussions and the course text, you can also write on one of
the following topics:
1. Why does Socrates conclude that the wise man knows he knows nothing. What
leads him to this conclusion? How is Socrates’ conclusion different from the
attitude most others have concerning knowledge? In the context of this essay, be
sure to lay out what it means for Socrates to know, how he goes about attempting
to gain knowledge, and why his presupposition of ignorance is a good thing.
2. Socrates argues that "injustice is never more profitable than justice." Glaucon
explains that for many, injustice sometimes is more profitable than justice.
Explain why this is generally believed, and explain why Socrates feels the way he
does. How does Plato's analogy of the cave help to justify what Socrates is
saying? And finally, how can Plato’s arguments be used to clarify the debates
concerning the ethics of capital punishment? Explain.
3. Aristotle argues that only human beings can be happy (in particular rational
human beings). What is Aristotle’s argument that leads to this conclusion. What
are some common misconceptions concerning happiness from Aristotle’s
perspective? And finally, what are some specific virtues that Aristotle believes are
a necessary part of the good life (happiness)? Elaborate.
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