All papers must be double spaced, four pages in length. Papers are to be written in 12 point font with one inch margins on 8.5 by 11 inch pages. All scholarly references must be formatted according to the scholarly conventions. The opinions of authors that are cited must be accompanied by the appropriate page number references. An extra page should be added for the bibliography. No endnotes please: in-text citations only. Every essay should have a separate title-page that states the (a) title, (b) course, (c) student particulars along with (c) the instructor’s name, (d) the TA’s name and (e) the essay question reprinted verbatim. I or your TA do not want to be in a position to have to guess which essay question you are responding to. Title pages that exclude this information, or essays submitted without title pages, may be docked 5% from the final grade (that is, assuming that from the essay itself we can discern which topic you chose to write on).
Essays without bibliographies or proper citation may be docked 10% or the percentage equivalent of improperly included material. Essays over four pages in length (excluding the title page and the bibliography) may be docked 5% per extra page, or the extra pages may not be read: which measure is adopted is up to the discretion of your grader. Citing the whole article will often not be specific enough, unless it is an internet source with no page numbers, in which case referring to the source without the page numbers will suffice. Internet sources must be properly cited with in-text citations and the appropriate entry in the bibliography that states the URL. All wording used from other sources must be in quotations with references provided.)
Essay Composition Rule. When writing your essay, do not copy material from other sources without putting the words in quotations and also copying the reference information—even when making your notes for a paper. Any material that is copied from another source and makes it into your essay without giving proper credit constitutes plagiarism. Proper credit consists in putting quotation marks around borrowed wording while citing the author, or citing an author if you are using their ideas. Even if you change the wording of the quote, you ought to give credit to the original author. Failure to give credit to the original author while changing the wording also constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism is a type of theft and deception: theft and deception do not go along with learning and personal accomplishment. Aside from any penalty imposed for plagiarism, papers that violate the essay composition instruction may be docked 5%.
Please structure your paper with the following headings: (1) Introduction, (2) Explication, (3) Main Argument, (4) Response to Objections, (5) Conclusion. Essays without these headings are harder to read. Your grader has the right to give a paper without headings a grade of C or lower if he or she cannot make out the paper’s argument structure. Rendering the argument structure clear is the student’s responsibility. Please make sure you understand what an argument is, before writing and submitting your paper.
Write an essay on one of the following topics.
1. Is the unexamined life worth living? According to Socrates, it is not. Socrates does not consider any counterarguments to his famous claim in the Apology. In this paper, defend or criticize the claim that the unexamined life is not worth living via philosophical argument.
2. According to Krishna, the reality of persons and their relative lack of control over outcomes implies that they ought to find valor in doing their duty and worry not about outcomes. In this they find a life worth living. Defend or criticize this thesis by philosophical argument. (Hint: you might want to address the question of whether a soldier can think about fighting without contemplating outcomes or whether thinking about such outcomes is not relevant to the duty of the soldier?)
3. According to the early Buddhist, most of us are like junkies, fuelled by desire into addictive behavior. The particular addiction that we suffer from is self-authorship. We are however in the final analysis fictions who would live better lives if we gave up desire and were motivated by compassion instead. Defend or criticize this thesis by means of philosophical argument.
4. According to Lao Tzu, ambition is a vice, while flexibility and humility are virtues. Moreover, according to Lao Tzu, the more meaningful life is lived by deferring to the great Way through meekness. Is this a meaningful life? Defend or criticize Lao Tzu’s thesis with philosophical reasons, making use of the primary text.
5. Is everything in life determined by an outside force? Descartes toys with the idea, Īśvarakṛṣṇa in the Sāṅkhya Kārikā defends the idea. How do Descartes’ arguments for personal freedom stack up against Sāṅkhya Kārikā hard determinism? Explore and defend your argument by way of the primary texts.
6. According to Nagel, life is absurd. According to Berit Brogaard and Barry Smith in their, “On Luck, Responsibility and the Meaning of Life,” life can be meaningful. Which is correct? Explore and provide your response to this question.
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