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PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning

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					PHI 208 Complete Class Week 1 – 5 All Assignments and Discussion Questions – A+ Graded
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Week 1 DQ1 What is Philosophy

Most people have views that are strongly influenced and informed by philosophy, often without realizing
it. Identify a view you have—whether on politics, religion, science, culture, or even the media and
entertainment—that might be regarded as being related to philosophy. What kind of reasons do you have
for holding that belief? What figure from the history of philosophy section do you think might have some
views that are similar, or at least relevant, to your own? Explain why you chose that particular figure.

Week 1 DQ2 Justifying Beliefs

Many philosophers insist that our most strongly held beliefs should be examined and critically evaluated.
Using the required text and outside sources, explain what philosophers mean when they say that beliefs
need justification? What is the importance of subjecting our beliefs to critical scrutiny? What are the
advantages of believing something without examining it? What are the disadvantages? Identify a specific
belief you have that you think is worth defending, and then explain your reasons for holding that belief.
Be sure to include logical reasoning as well as factual evidence in all your arguments.

Week 2 Assignment “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”

Please read the article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” by Peter Singer and complete the following
tasks:

Explain Singer’s goal in this article, and then present his argument in relation to this issue. Explain three
counter-arguments to Singer’s position that he addresses in his article, and then indicate Singer’s
responses to those counter-arguments. Define Singer’s concept of marginal utility and identify how it
relates to his argument. Compare how the ideas of duty and charity change in Singer’s proposed world?
Finally, present your personal response to Singer (this should be no more than one page of the entire
assignment). Provide an argument either in support of Singer’s position, against his position, or
somewhere in the middle of his position. Remember that when you present your own positions you need
to support those positions with as much logical reasoning and factual evidence as possible. The paper
must be at least three pages in length, formatted according to APA style, and include a title and a
reference page (which does not count towards the page length). Support your point with examples from
the text and at least two sources, which can be found in the Ashford Online Library. For information
regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within the Learning Resources tab
on the left navigation toolbar.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

Week 2 DQ1 Ethics and Relativism
Our text discusses the challenge relativism presents to various ethical and religious viewpoints. Consider
a specific moral question which might make it difficult to accept the relativist's response. State the moral
issue involved, and provide an explanation as to why you think a relativist might have a problem giving a
justified response to it. In addition, use one of the positive ethical theories from the text to interpret the
issue and how one should respond to this issue.

Week 2 DQ2 Animal Rights

Do human beings have any obligations to animals in terms of their treatment? If it is wrong to treat
animals cruelly, why is it not wrong to eat them? Explain if, and how, you think humans can find a
balance between treating animals ethically while also raising them for food and for other reasons, such as
the testing of pharmaceuticals.

Week 3 Assignments Euthyphro – Plato

In the Euthyphro, Socrates and Euthyphro discuss the concept of piety/holiness. This essay will not only
test your ability to recognize and engage philosophical concepts and analysis, but also brings you into the
dialogue as a participant, asking you to create your own definition of holiness.

Read the Euthyphro, and write a paper in which you do the following:

Explain how the concept of holiness emerges in the dialogue and why it takes a prominent position in the
conversation between Socrates and Euthyphro. Present the three definitions that Euthyphro uses in his
response to Socrates, and then explain how Socrates refutes each of Euthyphro’s definitions. Formulate
your own argument as to what you think Socrates’s goal is in this dialogue. How do you know that is his
goal? What features of the dialogue align with your interpretation of his goal? Provide your own
definition of piety/holiness and then create a Socratic response/critique of your definition. After you
present your definition, take on the role of Socrates and respond to your own definition as you think he
would. The paper must be at least three pages in length, formatted according to APA style, and include a
title and a reference page (which does not count towards the page length). For information regarding APA
samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within the Learning Resources tab on the left
navigation toolbar.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

Week 3 DQ1 The Limits of Skepticism

Can a person be skeptical about everything, or are there limits? Is it possible to doubt everything or
almost everything? Does a person have an obligation to use ethical and moral reasoning when examining
ones beliefs. Are there beliefs you possess that cannot be challenged or shown to be false? How might the
skeptic respond to your claim that such a belief cannot be doubted? Identify one such specific belief and
present your response to the skeptic. (If you don't have such a belief, explain how one could live while not
accepting any claim as true.)

Week 3 DQ2 Truth and the Limits of Knowledge

Explain the epistemological perspective from the text (or outside sources) that most coincides with your
view of truth and the way that the human mind grasps reality. Explain why you find it to be the best
explanation of the way that the human mind is able to understand its world. Finally, present your views
on whether humans can actually know the truth about objects or ideas in the world. If you believe they
can, explain why. If you do not think they can, explain why not. Feel free to consult outside academic
sources in order to explain more of the details of the theory that you describe here.

Week 4 DQ1 Proof of God’s Existence

After reading about the various proofs of the existence of God, identify which of these arguments seems
to be the best, and explain why you think so. If you find none of them convincing, present your best
argument against one of these proofs and why it fails to accomplish its task. Complete your response by
reflecting on why philosophers have sought for thousands of years to provide such proofs, and whether it
is necessary to do so.

Week 4 DQ2 The Turing Test

Present three specific questions that you would ask in the Turing Test to determine if something is real or
artificial intelligence. Explain why you think these questions would be the type to reveal the computer to
be a computer? Why would these responses have to be given by a human being? (If you don't think there
are such questions, explain how the three questions you chose would fail to determine which one of the
respondents was a computer and which was an actual human.)

Week 5 Final Argumentative Paper

Three important sub-disciplines of philosophy are addressed in this course: ethics, epistemology, and
religion. For this paper, you will develop an argument that includes your own view on one specific topic
relating to one of these sub-disciplines. Below is a list of topics from which you must choose. Feel free to
combine topics that seem to fit with one another. It is recommended that you choose a topic that interests
you or that you have thought about previously.

In philosophical papers, it is always best to present both sides of the issue (remember that there are
usually more than two sides to any issue), and then to present the side that you find the most convincing.
Remember to back up your position with logical reasoning and factual evidence. In addition, be sure to
utilize the philosophical content and ideas that you have encountered in this course.

Identify the specific issue. Make clear one basic dispute over this issue. Clarify the arguments on multiple
sides of the issue. Structure an argument that supports the side of the issue you find to be better defended.
Explain why you find that side of the debate superior. State your own view, and defend it with an
argument. Provide at least two references for each side of the debate. Utilize the philosophical theories
and ideas that you have encountered in this course as much as possible. In order to write a strong paper,
you will need to clearly and specifically present both sides of the debate using at least five academic
sources in addition to the course text, three of which can be found in the Ashford Online Library.

Select a topic from the following sub-disciplines:
Ethics What is the most convincing ethical system? Why? Is it necessary to have universal ethical
principles? What are the fundamental principles of ethics? What is the good life and how does one
achieve it? Is ethics natural or learned behavior? What is an ethically bad life? How do we know? How do
humans differentiate between good and bad in the realm of ethics? Do ethical actions have value apart
from the outcomes of those actions? Are humans free or determined, and how does this perspective relate
to human responsibility?

Epistemology What can humans know for certain and how can they justify that they actually know what
they think they know? What are the limits of human perception and cognition? What is the relationship
between scientific knowledge and other types of knowledge? What are the limits of skepticism? What are
the differences between the mind and the brain? Is radical relativism defensible? What is the best
epistemological argument and explanation of how humans perceive their worlds? How did human
consciousness emerge and where is it headed?

Religion Is proof for the existence of God necessary? Which argument for the existence of God is
strongest? Why? What are the foundations of the universe and from where did the universe emerge? Can
one be moral and not believe in God? Can God and real evil be reconciled? Are science and religion in
conflict? Can God’s omniscience and human free will be reconciled? Is there a rational argument for
atheism? The paper must be six to eight pages in length, formatted according to APA style, and include a
title and a reference page (which does not count towards the page length). Support your point with
examples from the text and at least five sources, three of which can be found in the Ashford Online
Library. For information regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within
the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar.

Writing the Final Argumentative Paper
The Final Paper:
Must be six to eight double-spaced pages in length, and formatted according to APA style as outlined in
the Ashford Writing Center. Must include a title page with the following: Title of paper Student’s name
Course name and number Instructor’s name Date submitted Must begin with an introductory paragraph
that has a succinct thesis statement. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought. Must end
with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis. Must use at least five scholarly sources, including a
minimum of three from the Ashford Online Library. Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined
in the Ashford Writing Center. Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style
as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will
be used to evaluate your assignment.

Week 5 DQ1 The Meaning of Life

Chapter 5 is focused on the meaning of human life. Present your view on the ultimate meaning of life. Be
sure to back up your view with logical reasoning and as much evidence as you can. What gives human
life meaning? How do you know? How should one act in the world once one realizes this meaning?
Connect your ideas on the essential meaning of life to the views of at least one philosopher. This
philosopher can be someone whom we studied or can come from an outside source. You might connect
your ideas in a harmonious or contradictory way. Utilize the academic resources aligned with this course
to find a philosopher that coincides with or contradicts your own ideas.

Week 5 DQ2 Philosophy and Society

After watching Relationship of Philosophy to Other Fields, reflect on the relationship of philosophy to
your life in terms of your future education and career goals. What value does philosophy have? How can
people benefit from thinking more philosophically? How does philosophy affect ethical issues? What
significance does thinking and reasoning critically play in society, and in human flourishing?

				
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