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Professor Rozemond, Winter 2017
Topics for Paper Assignment
Deadline: The paper is due on Blackboard on Friday March 3. Late penalty: 5 % for the
paper per day. For the full late policy, please see the syllabus. Note: the late policy
does apply for students registered with the AccessAbility Resource Centre.
— The paper should be about 1500-2100 words. State how many words your paper
contains. Your paper must be typed and double-spaced.
— Your paper must be in .docx (or .doc) format.
— Make sure that you proofread your paper carefully. Use the spelling check.
— Make sure your paper really addresses the questions asked. You will be penalized
severely for failing to do so, even if you say good, intelligent things in the process.
— Make sure you explain any unusual terms.
— You are REQUIRED to use at least 3 quotes from the original texts, and explain them
in your own words.
You can use texts by Descartes (or More) other than the ones I mention, but you must
provide references. Use the procedures for references used on the Reading Schedule.
— You are allowed to use secondary sources on Descartes or More (or other literature).
But it is crucial that you cite them in the text when you use them, or else you are
— Your paper will automatically be submitted to Turnitin.com by Blackboard.
— You must also submit the signed Academic Integrity Checklist, which will be posted
on the course website. You can either submit it electronically to BB, or submit a hard
copy. You will not get credit for the paper until you have submitted the form.
By university regulation, plagiarism will automatically be reported to the Dean.
Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s ideas or words as if they are your own. You
may use ideas and examples that come from others, but you must make clear that you
are doing so. It is acceptable to quote, but when you do so, you must clearly indicate
that you are doing so, and quotes must be relatively short.
Write your paper about one of the two topics below.
(i) Descartes thinks there is an important connection between the laws of motion and
God. What are Descartes’s basic laws of motion? How does Descartes use claims about
God to establish these laws? Consider both texts from The World and The Principles.
(ii) There is much controversy over the question whether Descartes held that bodies
have causal powers. Discuss this controversy in light of Descartes’s treatment of the
laws of motion. In doing so, consider reasons for and against the view that bodies have
causal powers for Descartes, reasons that derive from his discussion of the laws of
(iii) What do you think is the best view to take on this controversy? Explain why you
think this view is the best. Or, if you think the evidence is balanced, explain why. In
this part of the paper, you can also draw on other aspects of Descartes’s views, that is,
ideas that do not directly derive from his discussion of the laws of motion.
Important: do not offer a long list of considerations. Offer only 1- 3 considerations that
you work out in some detail.
(1) Descartes claims that extension in the essence of body. Explain what it means for a
body to be extended for Descartes.
(2) Henry More argued that all substances are extended, yet he was a dualist. How
does he distinguish between immaterial and material substances and their extension?
(3) What problems and advantages do you see for More’s views? Consider how he
might address any problems.
Important: do not offer a long list of considerations. Offer only 1- 3 considerations that
you work out in some detail.
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- Following Taylor, what do you make of the myth of Sisyphus? Do you think that the story is a proper analogy for our lives as a repetitive meaningless struggle? Why or why not?
- What do you think is the meaning of life? (b) If there ends up being no meaning to life, do you think that life can still be meaningful? Explain.
- I hope that you have enjoyed the quarter, it was a pleasure having you. In a few sentences, what was your favorite topic in the class and why? Did you have a least favorite topic by chance? Please be thorough.
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DIRECTIVES: Follow the 5 steps for writing Argumentative Essays:
Reference book: Power of Critical Thinking By Lewis Vaughn 4th edition
Sources if needed.
Chapter 2 was about obstacles to critical thinking and attached are the Fallacies as stated in chapter 5.
A: Introduction [2pts]
Thesis or Objective. (Thesis = Main claim or conclusion); you can also state it in terms of an Objective to be achieved in the paper or both) [4pts]
Main Body of the Essay. (Devote 1 or 2 paragraphs to each main point with supporting evidence and illustrations or examples etc.) [8pts]
Discussion of actual or hypothetical questions and your response.[4pts]
Conclusion (Summary, highlight of main points, lessons learned for now or the future. Etc; but no new topic or issues not treated in the body) [2pts]
Q1. Imagine you have been invited by the Chairperson of the Democrat Party or the Republican Party to advise the party and their presidential candiadte on how to deal with the violent and often deadly conflict between unarmed blacks and the police and gun control laws in the country. What advice will you give to the Party? [NB: Be sure to use ideas from chapter 2 and and fallacies from chapter 5]
Q2. Many people think that now that we have a Black President and a Black Family in the White House, Affirmative Action for Blacks is no longer necessary. Show why you agree with the criticism on moral or legal grounds.
Summarize and Critique Essay#1 on page 476 and 477:
Q3. Death Penalty Discriminates against Black Crime Victims. Show why you agree or disagree. (Be sure to use fallacies from Chap 5)
Length: 3-pages plus end notes or bibliography in line with APA, MLA or Chicago formats, depending on your major or minor.
Philosophy Short Essay – 10 Points Each
1) What is the Law of Non-Contradiction, and what role does it play in
Gensler’s approach to ethics?
2) Describe “Coherentism.” Be sure to include its relation to systems
such as geometry.
3) Explain how Gensler’s approach to ethics relates to axiomatic systems.
4) Describe the Golden Rule as Gensler approaches it, and distinguish
it from the other approach to the Golden Rule that he rejects. Be sure
to explain why he rejects the other form of the Golden Rule.
5) Lay out and explain the main points presented by Kreeft and
Boonin in their debate on abortion. Be sure to include the points they
raised in their opening statements as well as the responses in their
6) What is consequentialism? Be sure to include its relation to utilitarianism.
7) Explain how pragmatism is associated with consequentialism.
8) What is the difference between consequentialism and non-consequentialism?
Book; the ethics of war, Reichberg, syse, begby, 2006 to answer this questions : –
- How does Aquinas (16) answer the following: “It would seem that it is always sinful to wage war.”? (Include objections and replies). (Question 40).
- Cajetan (22) specifically makes a distinction between defensive and offensive war. What is this distinction? (You may have to dig around a bit).
- Machiavelli (23), cites Livy, “for war is just to whom it is necessary, and arms are pious when there is no hope but in arms.” Based on the selections from Machiavelli’s The Prince, does he (Machiavelli) relate this to morality or not?
- Regarding the few selections from More (24), how did he describe the concept of war held by the Utopians? Specifically discuss (develop) the idea of the relationship between economy and warfare. Is this relatable to modern concepts?
- How does de Pizan (19) treat the issue of anyone starting a war? (213, para. 3++) Under what conditions may a prince undertake a war? (213, para. 3, 4; 214).
- Luther and Calvin (25) both discuss war. Do they see “the use of military force mainly as a political rather than a religious tool?” (213, middle of last para.) Use appropriate citations (clearly indicated) to demonstrate the accuracy of the above statement.
- Based on your reading of Th. More (24), Utopia, Bk II, how does he view the use of mercenaries by the Utopians (of course, from an ethical standpoint)?
#1Write on “nothing.”
- How is the concept or notion of “nothing” important to philosophy in general and the philosophy of religion in particular?
- Does “nothing” serve a discernable role that we should take seriously? E.g., of what significance is it for Aquinas? Hint: You may want to begin by looking online at things such as this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing
- Suggested starting strategy: offer a brief etymological background for the term and its various uses throughout history; compare and contrast closely related concepts; explain what you find interesting, annoying, shallow, deep, etc., about “nothing”; respond to the claim that it is merely a “mental game” to keep philosophers and theologians employed and does not have any meaningful use at all.
- You are free to interact with the material as creatively as you see fit, but do so with clarity and precision.
Note: while it is helpful to consider specific philosophers (e.g., Martin Heidegger, who is well-known for having lectured and published on “nothing”), be sure to include your own thoughts and reasons on the matter.
- You are expected to write two, 2300-3000 word essays (excluding endnotes) for this essay.
- Make sure you describe your topic at the beginning of the essay
- Present a clear thesis statement.
- Every idea, argument or fact that is not your own, i.e. derived from another source must be correctly referenced using MLA style.
- Use endnotes rather than footnotes. Google “how to make endnotes” or try here
http://facstaff.bloomu.edu/hickey/ENDNOTE%20FORM.htm#How to Make numbers
- You may use the personal pronoun “I” but avoid “you” and “we” (too general).
- Avoid contractions, e.g. “don’t” or “can’t”. Use “do not” or “cannot”
- DO NOT USE TOO MANY QUOTES AS IT WILL INDICATE PLAGERISM.
PHL 317.81 : Philosophy Questions
Study Guide 1 Summer B (Jn-Au) 2016
- In the introductory comments we discussed the idea of war in general. Specifically, define the following terms, and some of their components, as found in the just war theory: jus ad bellum; jus in bello; and jus post bellum, as they relate to the concept of ethics in war.
- Again, in the introduction to the course, we discussed (perhaps briefly), three traditions that dominate the ethics of war and peace. These are as follows: a) Realism, b) Pacifism, and c) Just War Theory. Describe these traditions.
- The early Greek historian, Thucydides (1), was the first Western writer to connect ethics and war. Illustrate this connection as he developed it in his History of the Peloponnesian War. Did he make direct and explicit connections?
- Plato (2) wrote about war in Greek Life. Specifically, he wrote “The recurring point in Plato’s dialogues is that war should not be considered apart from justice.” Support this statement.
- Aristotle (3) in Politics (Book I) discusses two kinds of slavery – “natural slavery” and “slavery by convention”. How does he relate these kinds of slavery to the idea of just vs. unjust war? Develop your discussion.
- Augustine (7) writes about war. One of the headings under which some excerpts are organized is the one that deals with the use of “force in the service of religion.” How does Augustine develop his argument?
- Gratian (10), in Questions IV and V, addresses the issue of “the legitimacy for Christians of exerting punishment…” Even though the discussion deals with concepts of retribution and jurisdiction as they (and others) apply to more personal issues, they can be applied to the issue of war. Elaborate on this.
- In n.7., “The pope may grant indulgences …, even though the Saracens occupy it.” How does Innocent lay the base for this statement and how does he justify the statement.
(Pope Innocent IV; nn 1-4, 7-10).
Augustine’s conception of a just war
Use the book the ethics of war, Reichberg, syse, begby, 2006
to answer this question
*Discuss (define) Augustine’s conception of a just war, focusing on “right conduct”.
Reason & Reality
Answer any three questions.
- What is cultural relativism? Give an argument for cultural relativism. Given an argument against cultural relativism. Is cultural relativism acceptable?
- Distinguish psychological egoism from ethical egoism. Discuss one argument against psychological egoism. Give an argument against ethical egoism.
- Distinguish act-utilitarianism from rule- utilitarianism. Discuss and criticize one formulation of act-utilitarianism.
- How do two moral laws conflict with one another with regard to Kant’s theory of morality? Is Kant able to deal with the problem of moral conflict? What would be a utilitarian response to this problem?
XBR105 Good Thinking
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Take-Home Exam 2016
Instructions Answer all 7 questions
There are a total of 100 points available on the exam. Questions in parts A and B are worth 10 points each. Question 7, in Part C, is worth 40 points. Submit your answers as a single document in the “Take-Home Exam” dropbox on MyLO. There is no need to submit a coversheet You must do this exam entirely on your own. Do not discuss the problems in it with anyone else, look at anyone else’s work nor allow anyone else to see your work. PART A Question 1 (10 Marks) Consider the following passage: If human induced climate change was real then it would be right to implement a carbon tax. But human induced climate change is not real—If it was real, global temperatures would have continued increasing over the last 15 years, and they haven’t. So it is wrong to introduce a carbon tax. (a) Standardise the argument (b) State the form (eg affirming the necessary condition) of any conditional arguments and subarguments (c) State whether the arguments and subarguments are valid or invalid Question 2 (10 Marks) Consider the following argument from analogy and then answer the questions below Almost everyone would throw a life raft to a drowning person; indeed, someone who refused to do so would be regarded as immoral. The same thing applies to people who live in affluent countries when a famine occurs in a Third World country. We should all be prepared to contribute to suitable charities in order to help those dying of hunger, for they too are in desperate need. Yet many people in affluent countries never give to such charities. Surely we must regard such people as immoral. (a) What is the Subject? (b) What is the Analogue? (c) What is(are) the known similarity(s) mentioned? (d) What is the property being analogically extended? (e) Is the argument normative or descriptive? (f) How might the argument be criticised? PART B Question 3 (10 Marks) The following is an excerpt from a recent Daily Mail article by David Wilkes Five trillion to one! Punter scoops second lottery win with the same numbers THE odds against being so lucky were mind-boggling – more than five trillion to one. But yesterday, punter Mike McDermott was planning retirement to the sunshine island of his dreams after winning the lottery for the second time with the same numbers. ‘I really am in disbelief,’ the 50-year-old electrician admitted as he toasted his success with champagne. ‘I thought it was simply impossible to win twice like this – I can’t believe such incredible luck.’ In June, he and his wife Helen were ecstatic when the numbers – 15,16,18,28 36, and 49 – came up as five numbers plus the bonus ball, scooping £194,501. Mr McDermott kept doing the same numbers, but more out of habit than any real hope of another small fortune. So last Saturday he was staggered when he checked the lottery result on Teletext at his home in Gosport, Hampshire, and saw he had won again with five numbers plus the bonus ball – this time, his prize was £121,157. The odds of his first win were 2,330,636 to one. But the second time, the odds shot up to 5,400,000,000,000 to one. Yesterday, Mr McDermott celebrated aboard a yacht at the Port Solent marina near Portsmouth – symbolising the fact that he and his wife are soon heading off to the island of Kerkenah, off Tunisia, where they have bought a house. ‘We really can’t believe our incredible luck,’ he said. We thought winning twice with the same numbers would be impossible but, obviously, it really can happen – as it’s happened to us. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-142457/Five-trillion-Punter-scoops-second-lottery-winnumbers-By-David-Wilkes.html#ixzz49SBOIObt How surprising is it that someone can win the lottery twice? Question 4 (10 Marks) Alice and Bob are both keen chess players they both play in some local and some national tournaments. Bob claims that he is the better chess player as he has a higher overall percentage of wins. Given the table below what do you make of Bob’s claim? What statistical paradox is this an example of? Who do you think is the better chess player? Alice’s win percentage Bob’s win percentage Local tournaments 80% (40 of 50 games) 75% (60 of 80 games) National tournaments 25% (20 of 80 games) 20% (10 of 50 games) Overall 46% (60 of 130 games) 54% (70 of 130 games) Question 5 (10 Marks) Consider the following graph which resoundingly establishes a strong correlation between percapita cheese consumption and death by entanglement in bedsheets during the period 2000-2009. Does this graph provide evidence that eating cheese will increase your chance of subsequently dying in tangled bedsheets? Include in your answer the relevance of the “per-capita” proviso and how this may affect the situation. Does this graph provide evidence that other people eating cheese increases your chances of dying in tangled bedsheets? Explain your answer. What general statistical fallacy is at play here? How may we reasonably use this fallacy to explain this otherwise somewhat surprising graph? Question 6 (10 Marks) At UTAS, a first year calculus class undertake a test in the second week of semester to determine student abilities. Those students who perform particularly poorly on the test are then put in an additional weekly tutorial class with the aim of providing extra help to get up to speed. In the sixth week of semester another whole-class test is conducted and it is found that the individual students in the remedial class perform significantly better this time around. From these observations can we conclude that the remedial classes are effective? What statistical phenomenon could explain what is going on? PART C Question 7 (40 Marks) Read the introduction and the article “Internet Censorship Erodes Civil Society” provided below, then do the following: 1. Provide a brief summary of the main arguments presented in the article. Remember, a summary must include a statement of the argument’s main conclusion, and the main reasons given for that conclusion (see Chapter 5 of the studyguide for details of summarising an argument). A standardisation is not required, but you can give one if you wish. 2. In around 400 words (and no more than 1000), provide an evaluation of the argument. Are the inferences valid/strong? Are the premises acceptable? Have any fallacies been committed? Make use of any of the tools from the unit that you think are appropriate. Don’t get bogged down in discussions of the premises of the arguments—that, after all was not the focus of this unit. If you disagree with a premise, then by all means point this out, but don’t spend all your time discussing that. You should spend at least equal time on the strength of the inferences—how good would the argument be if you assumed that the premises were true? Chapter 10 of the study guide include an analysis of the text “Why Beazley should be given a go with the jigsaw puzzle” by Peter FitzSimons. You should refer to this analysis as an example of the kind of thing that is being asked of you in step 2. Given your word limit, you will not be able to be quite so comprehensive as the example. Focus on the points that you feel are most important for your conclusions. Introduction: Internet censorship in Australia (paragraphs 1 and 3 of which were shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia) Internet censorship in Australia currently consists of a regulatory regime under which the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a “black-list” of overseas websites which is then provided for use in filtering software. The ACMA is the body that classifies books, movies, TV shows and such as “G”, “PG”, “MA15+”, “R”. Work that is to be banned in Australia is “Refused Classification (RC)”. When in government, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) proposed to extend internet censorship to a system of mandatory filtering of overseas websites which are, or potentially would be, “refused classification” (RC) in Australia. This means that internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to block access to such content for all users. The mandatory filter was not enacted as it was not supported by the Coalition or the Greens. Article: Internet censorship erodes civil society When he was Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Labor Senator Stephen Conroy expressed his wish that the Australian Government should promote “a civil and confident society online” and claimed that the ALP’s “Cyber Safety Plan,” with its controversial Internet censorship regime, was a necessary part of that inspiration. On SBS’ Insight program, Senator Conroy invested significant effort into attempting to clarify that he only wants to ban “almost exclusively Refused Classification” material from the Internet. Almost exclusively. So has the Classification Board provided us with guidance about whether banning content promotes the maintenance of a civil and confident society? Consider the voluntary euthanasia debate that has been raging in Australia for many years: opinions are clearly divided, with each side offering impassioned arguments based on strong principles and personal morality. Supporters of civil and confident societies would agree that it would be untoward for a Government to intervene in a political controversy of this kind to tilt it one way of the other. Better to let the voters decide for themselves. And yet that is not what happens in practice. In 2007 the Classification Board Refused Classification for “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart. The book describes practical options for the terminally ill, including travel to countries where voluntary euthanasia is legal and jurisdictions where useful drugs can be legally obtained. The Classification Board determined that the book “incites, instructs or promotes” a criminal act, namely assisting with suicide, and banned it for sale or distribution in Australia. Place yourself in the position of a politically active participant in the voluntary euthanasia debate. If you support legal assisted suicide, you will know that there is a limit to how far you can take your participation in the debate before you are charged with the criminal act of distributing a Refused Classification (RC) publication. And you’ll always know that even if you don’t distribute The Peaceful Pill, your political opponents will be agitating to retrospectively ban more of your literature. So you will chill your political expression, ensuring that you stay well away from anything that could conceivably fall victim to the Classification Board. Meanwhile, your political opponents will know that they can say anything they wish and distribute any promotional material they choose. The vocal minority has always known that censorship quells robust dissenting speech by projecting doubt and fear of prosecution onto the fringes of legality. Our classification system is so broad that it cannot help but hoover-up political expression on the margins, and it inevitably influences and shapes political debate in this country. Addressing censorship, Senator Conroy says, “the ALP does not view this debate as an argument about freedom of speech,” seemingly believing that the statement will become true if he repeats it often enough. If banning RC material leads to such antisocial free speech outcomes, where will banning “almost exclusively” RC lead? Senator Conroy has repeatedly argued that the main point of the internet filter is to protect people, especially children, from viewing content, such as child pornography, that would be damaging or offensive. But in twenty years of using the web, I have never once stumbled accidentally (nor intentionally!) across such material. And if anyone were purposefully seeking such material, the proposed internet filter is easily bypassed. The reference to child porn is surely just a distraction. After all, it was Adolph Hitler who said: The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. The truth is that the only thing that will help families feel safer with their children on the net is Parental Responsibility. The ALP has no mandate, and the filter is not supported by the Australian people. Getup.com has received over 120,000 signatures against the filter. Another petition hosted at TakingItGlobal.com shows over 35,000 signatures. Electronic Frontiers Australia has collected 14,000 signatures on its website. I support a civil and confident society. I want to live in a country where we are all confident enough to speak freely and civil enough to let others say things we disagree with without demanding that the government shut them up. If the ALP is serious about combating online child abuse then let them police existing criminal law to clean it up. Censorship is neither sensible, workable or desirable for supporting civil confidence.
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