For this paper:
“You must use two (2) of the texts we’ve read over the course of the semester. You must also use two (2) outside sources: secondary literature from scholarly journals or books (depending on your topic you may also use reliable magazines and web sources). (“The Meno” and Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics”)
Use Chicago format (or, if you really prefer, MLA) for citations. You should have quotations from each text you refer to, and you should introduce each author.
I suppose you must use books and academic journals that are available online. The library subscribes to many journals and you can access most articles online. Google scholar isn’t a bad place to look, either. Many books are available as PDFs online, or you can read them for free on google books. Especially for academic books, check for free PDFs. I recognize this kind of research is maybe less familiar but do your best. (If you’re citing a book from a book on google books, just use the normal print citation; if it’s an online PDF, use the format for web citations.)
This is a thesis paper like the last two we wrote. You should state an argument in the first paragraph and then demonstrate that argument in your body paragraphs. You must use quotations from all your sources. Your thesis, however, should not be about the secondary literature; the secondary literature should support your thesis.
I’m going to provide a few questions but please choose your own topic if you’d like, as long as it follows the above guidelines – two philosophers we’ve read, two secondary sources.
A good final paper would draw a specific and peculiar/important comparison or contrast between two of the philosophers we’ve read. This means offering an interpretation of each philosopher and then showing how their two philosophies are importantly similar or different. As always, the more detailed and specific or technical the comparison, the better.
Choosing your own question:
You may also use any other two philosophers we’ve covered this semester and pursue any philosophical question that interests you. You’ll want to make a comparison, have a thesis and use citations to support your arguments, but if there is a point you want to make, this is the time.
ALSO, if you have a particular ethical topic in mind – environmental justice, prison reform, economic inequality, abortion, euthanasia – you may certainly write about it. What is your argument in favor or against in a controversial ethical debate?
To do this you must present 1) your main argument, 2) the counterargument, and your 3) rebuttal of that argument. It should have a general introduction, stating your thesis, and a general conclusion. You should still follow the guidelines of the overall paper. Your thesis should still be based in a philosopher’s idea – “I believe euthanasia is wrong because Kant said xyz,” etc. But you should use any of the philosophers from the semester as support for your argument, or as support for the counterargument. Your secondary sources can be about your topic, from magazines and newspapers perhaps, and don’t have to be about the philosophers themselves.
Though they are both materialists in a way, who want to overturn the history of western philosophy, why would Nietzsche disagree with Marx about the direction of human history?
How does Nietzsche ‘overturn’ Platonic philosophy; how is his genealogy of morals a challenge to Plato’s theory of forms?
How is Kant’s categorical imperative like Plato’s theory of Forms, and how is it different? What is the key difference?
Considering our discussions of oppression, and reflecting more specifically on the problem of racism, who do you think offers a better understanding of justice: Kant, with his universal rationalism and autonomous agency, or Nietzsche, with his idea that power determines the Good, and there is no universal good, but the Good and True are relative?”
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