Philosophical Essay Outline

Assignment Instructions
Goal: Students will create a detailed outline of your Philosophical Essay due in two weeks.

Details:

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You will pick one of the following topics only to do your paper on:

1.  According to Socrates, must one heed popular opinion about moral matters?  Does Socrates accept the fairness of the laws under which he was tried and convicted?  Would Socrates have been wrong to escape?

2. Consider the following philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” (1) How is this philosophical puzzle an epistemological problem? And (2) how would John Locke answer it?

3. Evaluate the movie, The Matrix, in terms of the philosophical issues raised with (1) skepticism and (2) the mind-body problem. Explain how the movie raises questions similar to those found in Plato’s and Descartes’ philosophy. Do not give a plot summary of the movie – focus on the philosophical issues raised in the movie as they relate to Plato and Descartes.

Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?” (1) How does this question relate to the Divine Command Theory of morality? (2) What are the philosophical implications associated with each option here?

4. Explain (1) the process by which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, and (2) what first principle does this lead him to? (3) Explain why this project was important for Descartes to accomplish.    

What you are submitting now is your outline (not the full assignment) for your next week Philosophical Essay (not the actual paper – that is due in two weeks). There is a Word file marked Outline Template for your use that is provided in transitional form to walk you through mainly doing the paragraphs.  Please download it and use it for this assignment, if you like, or use your own Word format.  

In two to three full pages you need to include the following:

I. Your rough draft introduction with a clear thesis. How to Write a Thesis Statement 

The following is an example (do not copy/paste and use) of a thesis statement/beginning introduction:

Thesis Statement:

In this essay, I evaluate the philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  In my evaluation, I explain that this question raises the epistemological problem of how a subjective experience, such as sound, relates to what can be known of reality. I demonstrate that this question is a puzzle because it exposes the limits of what we can claim to know based on sensory experience. Lastly, I will explain how the empiricist, John Locke, would evaluate and answer the puzzle.

II-IV. A list of three or more body paragraphs with transitioning sentences. This is just an outline of three or more body paragraphs.  You are not writing the entire paragraph here.  Just the outline.

For example:
I.  Discuss morality:

Explain morality.
Then a sentence that transitions to your next paragraph such as:  The next area for discussion is skepticism.

Your next paragraph outlines like above and so forth.

V. Your rough draft of a conclusion

VI. Your Works Cited of at least three reliable/scholarly resources

Remember:

Purpose: Clearly articulated thesis statement of appropriate scope that (1) tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the question, and (2) tells the reader what you intend to accomplish in your essay.   Body paragraphs with transitioning sentences. Conclusion. Works Cited in MLA formatting.

Support: List of three or more reliable/scholarly resources.    

Syntax, Style, Grammar, and Formatting: The writing contains sentences that are always complete and grammatically correct, and free of confusion and ambiguity. The essay follows MLA formatting and adheres to the additional guidelines detailed in the syllabus.    

Looking Ahead: The 4 – 5 full page (not to exceed 6 pages) Philosophical Essay you will be writing due in two Weeks is designed to be a thoughtful, reflective work.  It will be your premier writing assignment focused on the integration and assessment relating to the course concepts.  It is 4 – 5 full pages of text. This does not include a cover page or a Works Cited page.

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