Assignment 5

For your philosophical essay we would like you to address a philosophical issue in the form of a dialogue.  Your goal is to explore the issue through a discussion between two individuals.  Allow their discussion to frame the debate, establish your premises, and then prove your stand on the issue.

Start with a big philosophical question (What is the meaning of life? Is there meaning in life? What is the self? What makes me, me? More big questions here and here) and then narrow it down a bit to your specific interest. Or, start with your interests and work backwards to the larger philosophical dilemma (How do you know someone is really your friend? Is it possible to hold a fair race? What’s the difference between telling a lie and keeping a secret? Is it ever ok to steal? When did you start to think? Do we have to be sad sometimes to be happy at other times? If you had a different name would you be a different person? Do we all have the same rights? What is imagination?). Review both Plato and Skinner, and see how they use the two debating figures.  Both Glaucon (and the other characters you will read about later) and Castle serve different purposes for their authors, so decide which way you would like to use your characters.

Then begin to outline your exploration of the topic.  First chart your train of thought, from premise to conclusion or conclusion to premise, then work to divide it up into different speakers. Remember to address counterarguments, define terms, and provide illuminating analogies or examples.

You must choose and bring your topic to class on Wednesday.

The essay will be due by email Saturday, August 11 at 5:00 PM (any late work will lose a point for every 15 minutes that it is late).


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