PHLA10 Reason and Truth
Essay 1 Topics
Select one of the following topics to write your first essay
on. Please keep your essay between 1000-1200 words
(no more, no less).
A philosophy essay is concerned with presenting
and analysing arguments using reason. You do not have to pick
a side. If you choose to defend one side of the argument,
it does not matter which side of the argument you pick. What matters
is the quality of your analysis of the arguments and the quality
of the new arguments you advance. It is always important to look
at both sides of the question and consider counter-arguments that
could be made against your own position. It is usually a good idea
to devote more of your essay to analysing arguments than simply
explaining the position. Too much exposition makes for an uninteresting
and unoriginal paper.
On the course webpage you can find links to some guides to writing
a philosophy essay which might be of help.
I do not advise looking at
secondary sources for such a short paper but if you are stuck
secondary material can help generate ideas (but remember to
cite all your sources, including of course Sober).
- First Cause Arguments. The first two ways of Aquinas
(as presented by Sober) involve causation. Explain how these
arguments work and consider their strengths and weaknesses.
Assess their overall level of success in the task of proving that God exists.
- Divine Design. What is the basic structure of the
argument from design? Explain how you think the argument
works and consider its strengths and weaknesses. You might
also consider the significance of Sober's claim that the
argument is abductive rather than analogical.
- Evolution and Creation. What is the basic conflict between
these two views? Explain how evolution forms an alternative
hypothesis to the design hypothesis. What are some of the
reasons that Sober considers in favour of evolution? Can
you develop criticisms of them?
- The Problem of Evil. Carefully outline the argument
against the existence of God which is based on the evident presence
of evil in the world. What kind of argument is this? How strong do you
think it is? Why? Try to give an overall assessment of whether
the argument works, defending your assessment with arguments.
NOTE ON PLAGIARISM
: Plagiarism is when you use the words
or ideas of another person without citing the source and pass them
off as your own. It the most serious academic
offense. Penalties for plagiarism are severe.
For more information see the Academic Integrity website
. If you have any questions about academic integrity,
please ask me or your tutorial leader.