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Describe and discuss general areas of philosophy (Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Problems within Non-Western Philosophy).

Objective 1 – Describe and discuss general areas of philosophy (Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Problems within Non-Western Philosophy).

Objective 2 – Describe and discuss various philosophical problems, such as the nature of reality and appearance, the problem of mind/body, standards of truth, conditions and limits of human knowledge, free will/determinism, arguments concerning the existence of God, the problem of evil, moral principles, and political principles. Objective 3 – Re-present and formulate different types of arguments and answers which have been offered in response to philosophic problems.

Objective 4 – Clearly engage in critical summary, analysis and/or evaluation of a philosopher’s argument, by explicitly employing the methods of argument through writing, (identification of assumptions, identification of premise/conclusion relationships, evaluation of logical validity and overall soundness within an argument’s inferences).

Objective 5 – Clearly draw conclusions on the basis of explicit presentation of supporting arguments. When appropriate, these conclusions should emphasize ethical implications of issues and situations.

Description: Students will write seven papers. Use the instructions given below for this essay. The essays are worth 50 points each.

Method of Assessment: In addition to demonstration of the course objectives listed above and the unit objectives associated with the unit for this essay, student essays will be assessed on how well the student demonstrates the following:

  • complete all parts of the essay
  • objectively analyze and evaluate the topic under consideration
  • cite and use sources
  • originality of writing

Your essay will not be evaluated on whether I agree with what you are saying. I will be looking at your understanding of the issues, but, mostly, I will be looking at the amount of depth, development and thoughtfulness that you bring to your answers. I will also look to see that you develop arguments for your conclusions, and that you avoid dogma and unsupported opinion. To this end, avoid expressions such as “its true for me,” and, “I feel.” Provide thinking rather than feeling, and arguments rather than opinions.

Due Dates: Check the Course Schedule for Due Dates.

Essay Instructions: A copy of this essay is available to download by clicking: “here“.

Consider the following situation: 

Your tour of a nation, whose repressive regime is putting down a rebellion among its people, takes you into a village in time to witness the army lining up 30 villagers to be shot. The officer in charge informs you that these 30 have been chosen at random for execution to pacify the rest. Even though this is a different country for yours, with different customs and manners, you are shocked at what you are seeing. Upon discovering that you are a foreigner, the first ever to visit the village, the officer does you an honor as a guest. He says, “You can shoot one of these swine yourself — and to mark the special occasion I’ll let the others go free.” If you decline the “honor” there will be no special occasion, and the officer says that all 30 will die. He hands you a pistol. Once again, you are shocked. But before you can open your mouth you realize that if you do decide to kill someone, there is a strong possibility that you will be tried and punished for murder in your own country. If this happens, and you are found guilty, you could be sentenced to up to 20 years at hard labor You are given one hour to decide what you are going to do. At the end of that hour you must provide an answer to the following question:

What is the Morally Correct thing for you to do?

You are allowed to discuss the situation with two philosophers/advisors. Choose any two of the philosophers from Chapter Eight as your advisors.

Your assignment is to write a two to three page paper (from 700 to 1000 words), which tells what happened in the conversation that you had with the two philosophers. What points of view did the three of you begin to develop, in response to the question posed above? How did all of you respond to each others’ claims and arguments?

Your paper should be organized into the four sections described below. Please use the section headings, Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four, within your paper.

Part One: 
Area of Philosophy. Write an introduction to your paper, which clearly identifies a general area of philosophy, within which the philosophical problem that you will be exploring can be found. Refer to Chapter One if you need to review these areas. Do you think that the question posed above place your discussion within Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, and/or Philosophy of Religion? Part one of your paper should be brief and concise. No more than 50 to 100 words maximum.

Part Two: Argument Analysis: Present the points of view, and the arguments supporting those views, from the two philosophers you have chosen to discuss these philosophical questions with you. Summarize and pick these arguments apart a little. What are the main premises of their arguments? Does they make any important assumptions? What evidence do they present that is factual and verifiable? And what evidence do they present that is more a matter of speculation and/or interpretation? In this section of your paper you are merely analyzing, or, picking apart the arguments. Do not draw any conclusions as to whether or not these arguments are valid and/or sound. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Three: Argument Evaluation. In this section present and defend some judgments about these arguments. Are these premises safe to accept? Are there any questionable assumptions made? If we do accept them do they take us logically to their conclusions? Your evaluation should make explicit use of concepts such as “assumption,” “soundness” and “validity,” as these are presented within Chapter One of the text. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Four: Conclusion. Draw your own interesting and relevant conclusions about the philosophical problem you are exploring. Do not merely offer a set of “feelings” or an “opinion.” Instead, build your own argument, regarding the questions above. If you find that you are in agreement with some of the philosopher’s ideas, then you can use these as part of your own argument, so long as you do not merely reiterate what they are saying. This part of your paper should be 300 words minimum.

Citing the sources:

You need to cite the author and page numbers that you use to write your essay using some method of in-text notation, e.g., provide in-text references to the source used and you are required to provide a list of sources you read and used for your essay e.g., a Works Cited page.

For more information on citing sources go to the OCC Library homepage – ( – and click under the heading “Research Help.”

In this essay, you will be applying the skills and knowledge we studied in Units 2.You are required to use that information in your essays. You can only use the assigned readings for this unit to complete the essay.

Formatting the essay:

The essays should be saved into Microsoft Word file format. If they are not, then the professor will not be able to open them to grade. You should not copy and paste your essays into the dialog box associated with this essay in the Drop Box, because your professor will need to download your essays and give you grading comments.

Your essays should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins, a 12-point Arial font, include page numbers, and on the top left side of the first page of your essay include: your First and Last name, the Course Title, Number and Section number, the date the essay is due, the name of your professor and the title of your essay, e.g., Critical Thinking Essay #2.

Submitting the Essay to Turnitin (required), Smarthinking (optional), and the Course Dropbox (required):

Since the primary goal of the writing you do is to demonstrate your knowledge of the material and to demonstrate your ability to apply philosophical reasoning skills to the various topics we cover, you are not allowed to use to quotes. Instead, you should paraphrase people’s ideas into your own words so that it is clear that you have comprehension of the material. For this reason, you will submit all of your writing to Turnitin to ensure originality and proper citation. The assignments in the Dropbox are linked to Turnitin so that when you submit your essay, it will automatically review it for originality.

In addition, if you want further writing assistance you can use the tutorial service provided by Smarthinking. You can find a tutorial to this service on the main Course Menu. If you want to use the service, you can find the link on the main distance learning page prior to entering this course. If you want, you may use the tutor’s critique to revise your essay. If you use this service, be certain to include the tutor’s suggestions at the end of your assignment (after your Works Cited page) so that your professor can see what suggestions were provided and how well you followed those suggestions. Be sure to submit your essay to Smarthinking well in advance of the due date to ensure that you receive feedback in enough time to revise your essay.

When you have finished your essay, you should upload it to the course Dropbox by the due date listed in the course schedule. You can find the Dropbox at the top right of the course home page. Your professor will grade your essay and provide you with grading comments.

Dropbox Instructions

  1. Access the dropbox by selecting the Dropbox tab in the top navigation bar in this course.
  2. When the Dropbox page opens, click on the Submit Assignment link.
  3. From the Basket drop-down menu, select the Dropbox basket that corresponds with your assignment.
  4. Enter any information you need to provide your instructor in the text editor, or simply leave this blank.
  5. Attach your document by clicking on the Add/Remove link, then following the prompts in the pop-up window.
  6. When your file has uploaded, it will appear as a link under Attachments.
  7. When you are finished, click on the Submit Assignment button.

Your assignment now has been submitted for instructor review and should be visible in your Outbox Baske

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