3rd essay topic - San Diego Mesa College

PHIL 108
FALL 2012
Worth max. 50 points. Late papers are accepted Dec.6 with -3 points penalty. Papers cannot be submitted by e-mail. You
must keep a copy of the paper for your records.
Identify the essay as ESSAY #3. Write min. 3 pages, maximum 5 pages, typed and double-spaced, about one of the
following questions. You must have at least two outside research sources, in addition to the textbook (except #3), and a
bibliography at the end of the paper. One source must be a scholarly acceptable Internet source. You must include
references (MLA, APA or Chicago Manual of Style). Question #3 requires independent research. You may submit this
essay as a joint project if you wish, working together with one other student in the class. You will both receive the
same grade for the essay; it is up to you to divide the workload.
1. THE ETHICAL ANIMAL [This topic is only available if you didn’t write about it in essay #2!]
Describe Antonio Damasio’s theory of the origin of morals and compassion. Your essay should include an
analysis of his concept of homeostasis. Is he right, in your view, based on what you have seen, read and
heard in this class? Explain why or why not. (Your paper should take into consideration not only the
assigned Damasio text in the Course Reader, but also the Keim text. You may use the following article in
the Reader as an outside source.)
2. PLATO’S IDEAL STATE Give an account of Plato’s political theory (Ch.9). What does it reveal about his
theory of human nature? In your view, what are the positive and negative elements of Plato’s political
fantasy? If you were to design an ideal society, what would it look like?
3. HOBBES/LOCKE VS. ROUSSEAU Compare and contrast Thomas Hobbes’ OR John Locke’s and JeanJacques Rousseau’s theories of humans in the state of nature, and the Social Contract. (You may
compare all three thinkers if you wish.) In your view, which thinker has a more accurate view of social
existence? Which social world would you rather live in? Explain. (Refer to Ch.9)
4. THE FUTURE OF HUMAN SOCIETY? Imagine one or more aspects of American society in the year 2060.
Choose one or several areas of human social life/activity and speculate about its/their future
development, citing researched works by philosophers, sociologists, and/or other scholars. Topics
may include, but are not limited to the following: Gender roles; humans and the environment; race
relations; parenting; moral values; religion; war and other armed conflicts; positive/negative
consequences of technological advances; space exploration; expressions of art; attitudes toward death;
medical advances. Your paper should involve descriptive as well as normative elements.
This topic requires you to do independent research. You may use a science-fiction film or novel as your
2nd outside source if you like.
Advice: Spend some time exploring the subject before writing. This topic is for those who want to have some serious
fun with their research as well as their imagination! Mere speculation is not enough! You will be graded on how well
you integrate research and speculation.
What is plagiarism in a research paper? Copying from someone else’s paper; having someone else write your paper;
copying/quoting from an outside source (such as a book, a journal, or a webpage/other Internet source), or from the
textbook, without stating the source. Changing a word here and there is not sufficient! Whenever you quote or use
information from a text other than your own, the proper procedure is to reference it. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, and will
be reported according to SDCCD policy.