University of St Martin - Fall, 2006 - PHIL232

Final Paper
Midterm Essay
Monday, Sept. 4 - What is philosophy?
Wednesday, Sept. 6 - Aristotle (1)
Monday, Sept. 11 - Aristotle (2)
Wednesday, Sept. 13 - Aristotle (3)
Monday, Sept. 18 - Nietzsche (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 20 - Nietzsche (2)
Monday, Sept. 26 - Abortion (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Abortion (2)
Excursus 1: Historical overview
Excursus 2: Abortion in Judaism and Christianity
Excursus 3: Abortion in Islam
Excursus 4: Pro-choice argument
Monday, Oct. 2 - Suicide (1)
Wednesday, Oct 4 - Revision
Monday, Oct 16 - Suicide (2)
Wednesday, Oct 18 - Paradigm shifts
Monday, Oct 23 - Brave New World (1)
Wednesday, Oct 25 - Philosophical Anthropology (1)
Monday, Oct 30 - Sexual History of the USA
Wednesday, Nov 1 - Philosophical Anthropology (2)
Monday, Nov 6 - Race, death, tragedy, and bad faith
Wednesday, Nov 8 - Race, Biology, and Culture
Monday, Nov 13 - Racism and culture
Wednesday, Nov 15 - Existentialism
Monday, Nov 20 - Political Obligation, Moral Duty, and Punishment
Wednesday, Nov 22 - Kant and Moral Obligation
Monday, Nov 27 - War and Peace
Wednesday, Nov 29 - Non-Western Philosophies (1)
Monday, Dec 4 - Non-Western Philosophies (2)
Wednesday, Dec 6 - The End
Final Paper

Terms of the assignment
  1. Choose one or more articles from the Reader.
  2. Write a 5 to 7-page paper on the text(s) of your choice.
  3. You must submit your paper by Dec 9, 2006.
  4. Include the following headings:


0. Introduction 

Tell me which text(s) you have chosen to write about and how you will go about doing it.

1. Summary of the text's or texts' main ideas

This must be done in your own words.

What are the metaphysical (about being), epistemological (about knowing), and ethical (about doing) ideas being put forward in the text(s) that you have chosen to write about.

2. Presuppositions and consequences

First, every idea that an author suggests is based on said (explicit) or unsaid (implicit) presuppositions. What are, according to you, the presuppositions behind the ideas presented in the text(s)?

a) What are the metaphysical presuppositions of the text(s)

b) What are the epistemological presuppositions of the text(s)

c) What are the ethical presuppositions of the text(s)?

Second, philosophical ideas have consequences. For instance, if you say that a foetus is a living being but not a human being, destroying it can never be qualified as "murder." It will amount to killing a living being, but not a human being.

To what consequences would the ideas espoused in the article(s) of your choice lead if they were followed through? Mention more than two.

3. Critique

At this point, you must offer your own critique of the above.

Tell me what you agree with and why, as well what you disagree with and why.

4. Questions arising

What questions would you still like to ask about the subject matter dealt with in the article(s) on which you are writing your paper?

This is your chance to show me that you can raise philosophical questions of your own from the viewpoint of being, knowing, and/or doing.

Good luck!



For tips on how to write a philosophy paper, see:

To think about       

"Any society that values creativity also needs to enable criticism. If we cannot question the way we are doing things and thinking about things at present, it will not occur to us that they could be thought of or done differently. (...) So philosophy is important partly because cultural criticism is so important."

CHRISTENSON, Tom (2001). Wonder and Critical Reflection. An invitation to Philosophy, p. 37. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.


This page was updated on Nov 21, 2006
at 10.00 PM St Martin Time (-4 UT)