Directions: You must write TWO different papers. Each paper should be at least 3 complete pages and no more than 4 pages. These are not research papers so you should not use any outside sources.
All papers should be turned in as a Word doc or a PDF. You should upload your papers into the Assignments section under Assessments by the due date. Please see the Grading Criteria to help you develop your paper.
The papers should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font and double-spaced. These are academic papers and should contain an introductory paragraph and a thesis statement. Do not make the paper sound like a class assignment. All college papers should be written for a general audience. Please review the Essay Grading Criteria and the Brief Guide to Writing the Philosophy Paper before you write the paper.
Note: You can develop your own topic if you want. I do ask that you email me about your suggested topic for approval. The topic must be grounded in the reading assignments for the course.
Prompt 1: Utilitarianism (Sandel, Chapter 2)
After briefly explaining what utilitarianism is, explain the individual rights objection. How does J.S. Mill defend utilitarianism against this objection? Is Mill’s defense convincing?
Prompt 2: Libertarianism (Sandel, Chapter 3)
Robert Nozick provides two key arguments in defense of libertarianism: the liberty upsets patterns argument and the taxation is forced labor argument. Provide a detailed explanation of these two arguments. One of the main objections to Nozick’s argument against taxation is that the poor need the money more. Explain this objection. Do you find it convincing? Why or why not?
Prompt 3: Ethical Intuitionism (Michael Huemer)
Briefly explain how Michael Huemer understands ethical intuitionism. Present Huemer’s argument that the best explanation for moral progress is that liberal morality is objectively true. Do you find this argument convincing?
Prompt 4: What, if anything can justify political authority? (Michael Huemer)
Michael Huemer considers several possible justifications for political authority and rejects each of them. In this paper, explain two of those possible justifications along with Huemer’s reasons for rejecting them. Do you find Huemer’s arguments convincing?
Prompt 5: Rawls’s Justice as Fairness (Sandel, Chapter 6)
Present the key components of Rawls’s argument for the difference principle. You will also need to explain one of the objections raised by Sandel. Is this objection convincing?
Prompt 6: The Challenge of Cultural Relativism (James Rachels)
In “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism,” James Rachels attempts to refute the claims of cultural relativism by arguing that some moral values are universal and objective. In this paper, explain the cultural differences argument and how Rachels criticizes it. You should then explain Rachels’ argument that some moral values are universal and objective. Lastly, do you find Rachels’s argument convincing?
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