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Question

Answered

Question:

Students are required to write an essay that responds to ONE of the topics found at Appendix 1, pp. 19-22 below. In consultation with their lecturer and tutor, students must:

  1. Attempt to develop coherent, unbiased and well substantiated arguments to address the topic, considering more than their own opinion on the matter;
  2. Attempt to engage with the concepts and arguments of relevant philosophers on the topic chosen;
  3. Provide a precise exposition of the philosopher’s concept and/or argument;
  4. Attempt a wider secondary literature search to help answer the question (consult bibliography provided, or seek guidance from your lecturer and tutor);
  5. Engage with examples that are relevant and which seek to exemplify the argument you are making

Essay - 1800 words (includes footnotes, excludes bibliography)

Assessment criteria:

  1. Demonstrates understanding of the issues addressed in the reading, and of the author’s position on these issues (40%);
  2. Analysis of the author’s argument (30%);
  3. Clarity of response to the argument of the reading (20%);
  4. Proficiency of written expression and structure (10%).

Students are welcome to research a relevant question of their own choosing in consultation with their lecturer and/ tutor.

PART A- Moral, Social And Political

Topic 1

Themes: Soul, Justice, Individual v’s Community, Common Good, Action

“For even if the good of the community coincides with that of the individual,
it is clearly a greater and more perfect thing to achieve and preserve that of a community; for while it is desirable to secure what is good in the case of an individual, to do so in the case of a people or a state is something finer and more sublime.”

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I, p. 64

Students MUST answer both parts of the question:

  1. (i)  Explain how this quotation of Aristotle’s relates to his theory of what it is to be human.
  2. (ii)  Discuss Aristotle’s main argument in the quote with reference to one other Author or philosophical perspective from the unit.

Topic 2

Relates to Lecture 5
Themes: freedom; the individual and community; free-will and determinism

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” Rousseau, The Social Contract, p. 49

Students MUST answer both parts of the question:

  1. (i)  Explain the apparent contradiction in the quotation of Rousseau’s
  2. (ii)  Discuss in relation to ONE other theory of being human from the unit

Topic 3

Relates to Assessment 1 & Lecture 7 & 10
Themes: the individual and community; freedom; meaning and value; God; morality; will

  • What does Nietzsche mean by “the herd”? Explain

Students MUST only answer (ii) or (iii)

(ii) What are the moral and political consequences of this concept? DISCUSS

OR

(iii) How does Nietzsche’s theory relate to Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection? Discuss V

Topic 4

Themes: reason and the passions; freedom; the individual and community; mind, body and soul; God; life and mortality; ideas of progression; animality

Aristotle says:
“He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a God: he is no part of a state

Aristotle, The Politics, Book I, Ch ii

Explain this quote of Aristotle’s, and Discuss in relation to ONLY ONE of the following questions/topics and directly engage with one or more authors from the Unit:

  • Is human nature essentially ‘biological’ or ‘constructed’?

OR

  • The Transhumanist Vision

OR

(iii) The moral or political implications for non-human animals.

OR

(i) The Judeo-Christian view that humans are imperfect.

Imagine that the human race has been reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature in a post- apocalyptic world and In your reconstruction consider the position(s) of an author from the course and directly engage with Aristotle’s quote.

Topic 5

Part B- Metaphysical, Biological and Transhumanist

Relates to Lecture 8
Themes: reason and the passions; mind, body and soul; free-will and determinism; meaning and value; life and mortality; ideas of progression; gender and sexuality

  • Explain Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection.

AND answer only (ii) OR (iii)

(ii) What do you think this tells us about the possibilities and limitations of being human? DISCUSS in relation to one other theory in the course

(iii) What are the moral implications of Darwin’s theory? Discuss in relation to one other theory in the course

Topic 6 Themes: mind, body and soul; problem of the self; gender and sexuality; self-knowledge and personhood

  1. (i)  “What is a man?” Explain how Descartes answers this question in the Second Meditation.
  2. (ii)  What are the strengths and/or weaknesses of this view? Discuss

Topic 7

Part C- Meaning & Existence

Themes: body mind problem; identity; reality

Discuss the theme of the ‘Body’ by selecting one philosophical approach below.

Your answer must critically engage with at least one philosopher’s perspective from the Unit. [Note: you may choose two to critically compare]. For example:

  • Thomas Nagle
  • Materialist Theories of Mind (i.e. physicalism)
  • Transhumanist Perspectives (cyborgian ventures, human enrichment, immortality etc) \
  • Descartes

Your answer must attempt to:

(i) Describe what the role of the body is for the selected thinker in their approach (ii) How do they use the body to argue for their view of being human?
(iii) What other themes than the body are addressed?
(iv) Do you agree or disagree with this view?

Topic 8

Themes: freedom; free-will and determinism; gender and sexuality

Simone de Beauvoir states:

“Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in relation to herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being.” (15)

“He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – She is the Other.” (16)

(De Beauvoir, “Introduction” The Second Sex [Fr. 1949; En. 1956])

What does de Beauvoir mean? Discuss her understanding of what a woman is with respect to ONE concept of human nature within the history of Western philosophy that was discussed in this course.

Topic 9

Themes: freedom; mind, body and soul; problem of the self; free-will and determinism; meaning and value`

Students MUST only answer (i) or (ii) below:

(i) Sartre says: “Man is condemned to be free.” Explain first and then Discuss the consequences of such a claim with respect to one other theory on human nature

(ii) Sartre says: “Existence precedes essence.”  Explain First and then Discuss the consequences of such a claim with respect to one of the theories on what it is to be a self or have an identity.

IDEC8011 Research Essay

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