engaging the philosophers we have been studying by setting down


Unlike the quizzes and exams, this paper gives you a chance to express your own ideas and arguments, engaging the philosophers we have been studying by setting down some appreciations and some disagreements. The paper must show understanding of several philosophical positions and arguments; that is, it must be the sort of thing you could have dashed off in an evening before you even took this course. Additionally, it is not to be merely a report of someone else’s ideas. It is to represent what you – at this time, after having studied Plato, Aristotle, Russell, Kant, Anselm, and the rest – truly think on the topic assigned. This is your chance to play the philosopher!

Here is the topic. Many of you may be looking forward to being parents some day; some of you are already parents. Those of you who are not sure you want to be parents have a stake in the way your neighbors’ and family members’ children are reared. So, by making use of what you have learned, address the topic: What philosophical ideas do I want my children (or my neighbors’, sister’s, [etc] children) to grow up to embrace and/or avoid. For example: am I persuaded that the next generation will live a more flourishing life if they are atheists or theists? Believe in Absolute Truth or Not? Rationalists, Empiricist? Libertarian, Determinist, Compatibilist? Dualist, Materialist, Idealist? Duty, Utility, Virtue, Relativism, Moral Absolutistism? Communist, Classic Liberalism, …. ? (… and so on).

You are to articulate various positions adequately, the major representatives of the positions, explain the consequences of holding to a particular philosophical perspective, and why the position should be embraced, avoided, or modified. You must deal with at least THREE of the major areas discussed in this course (Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, and Political Philosophy)