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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. A list of topics to choose from is
listed below. It is recommended that you choose a topic to write on that
you have already encountered, or that you have thought about
previously. (One way of thinking about this is to think of an issue that
worries you, interests you, or enrages you.)
For instance, if you choose to write about whether children should be
spanked (this is only an example), you would present the argument for
spanking and against spanking; you would then state your position
relative to this issue and defend your own view. You would also utilize
the theories that we saw in the ethics chapter to provide support for your
position, and draw on those theories to clarify the debate itself.
You may choose a topic from ethics, epistemology, or religion, but you
will need to make sure you do the following for whatever topic you
Identify the specific issue
Make clear one basic dispute over this issue
Clarify the arguments on both sides of the issue
State which 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
In order to write a strong paper, you will need to clearly and specifically
present both sides of the debate using at least five (5) academic
resources in addition to the course text.
The death penalty
Reinstating the military draft
Stem cell research
Obligations to future generations
Is Astrology a science?
Teaching evolution in public schools
Confirming scientific hypotheses
Are science and religion in conflict?
The limits of skepticism
What are the differences between the mind and the brain?
Evaluating evidence and global climate change
Is radical relativism defensible?
Is there evidence for ESP (extrasensory perception)?
Do people need to prove that God exists?
The ontological argument for the existence of God
The argument from design and evolutionary theory
Can one be moral and not believe in God?
Can God and real evil be reconciled?
Can I be certain I have a soul?
Can strong determinism be justified?
Does the Turing test challenge the uniqueness of human beings?