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Philosophical Essay: You will write a two-part 5-6 page essay using our course materials and Philosophy Program Guide and our Online Library to answer one of the following questions. Note: The Philos

Philosophical Essay: You will write a two-part 5-6 page essay using our course materials and Philosophy Program Guide and our Online Library to answer one of the following questions.  Note: 

The Philosophy Program Guide has changed location in the APUS Library. The new location is here:


1.  According to Socrates, must one heed popular opinion about moral matters?  Does Socrates accept the fairness of the laws under which he was tried and convicted?  Would Socrates have been wrong to escape?

  2.  Is it possible to have a theory of morality and to be moral without being dependent upon religious belief and practice?  The course materials to answer this question are in Week Six.

3.  Consider the following philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” (1) How is this philosophical puzzle an epistemological problem? And (2) how would John Locke answer it?

4.  Evaluate the movie, The Matrix, in terms of the philosophical issues raised with (1) skepticism and (2) the mind-body problem. Explain how the movie raises questions similar to those found in Plato’s and Descartes’ philosophy. Do not give a plot summary of the movie – focus on the philosophical issues raised in the movie as they relate to Plato and Descartes.

5.  Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?” (1) How does this question relate to the Divine Command Theory of morality? (2) What are the philosophical implications associated with each option here?

6.  Explain (1) the process by which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, and (2) what first principle does this lead him to? (3) Explain why this project was important for Descartes to accomplish.    

Part 1: At the end of week 4 you will turn in (1) a clearly articulated thesis statement, and (2) a selected list of appropriate sources using our Library Guide for PHIL101 and our Online Library, as indicated below:

1.      Identify at least one encyclopedia, or similar work, providing a big picture overview of key issues your topic needs to address. 

2.      Identify at least one secondary source, an interpretive work, addressing your topic which was written by someone other than the philosophers identified in your topic.  This secondary source should be located through the journal article database available in the APUS Online Library, where contemporary philosophical articles pertaining to your topic, can be located.   For instance, use EBSCO’s Academic Search Elite.  This is a searchable database of scholarly articles from many academic disciplines, including philosophy.  It should be used to locate contemporary scholarly articles pertaining to epistemology, perception, Locke, etc.  It also contains the full text of many of the articles.  

3.      Identify at least one primary source, from a major philosopher identified in your topic choice. Be sure that the primary source selected pertains to the issues raised by your topic. 

Provide a complete reference in MLA style for each work selected, and explain briefly (annotate) how the content of each source will assist you with your Philosophical Essay Assignment..  Attach as a correctly formatted MS Word document and submit. 

Format your Philosophical Essay using MLA guidelines (seeCitation and Reference Style). All papers should be double spaced and written in Times New Roman 12 point font. Papers should include indented paragraphs, no extra space between paragraphs, and 1 inch margins on all 4 sides. Keep quotes from sources to 2-3 lines and no more than 10-20% of the paper; this is especially relevant with regard to secondary sources. Never let your secondary sources take over or make your argument for you. For a review of how to write a thesis statement, see the following site:


File Names: Please label all MS Word file attachments in the following manner: Your last name_Assignment Title (i.e., Smith_Philosophical Essay Part 1).

The following is an example (do not copy and use) of Essay Part 1 due at week 4:

Name Date Class

Thesis Statement:

In this essay I evaluate the philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In my evaluation I explain that this question raises the epistemological problem of how a subjective experience, such as sound, relates to what can be known of reality. I demonstrate that this question is a puzzle because it exposes the limits of what we can claim to know based on sensory experience. Lastly, I will explain how the empiricist, John Locke, would evaluate and answer the puzzle.

Annotated Bibliography

E.J. Lowe, Ed. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Locke on Human Understanding. New York, NY: Routledge, 1995. NetLibrary. 2002. 1 Mar. 2009

http://www.netlibrary.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/urlapi.asp?action=summary&v=1&bookid =73470This source provides a comprehensive discussion of John Locke, the person, and the arguments he puts forth in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. It will also help to understand the book as it relates to historical events and ideas. Additionally, it identifies arguments from the work’s supporters and critics.

Kemerling, Garth. “John Lo>An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. It will also help me understand the more complicated aspects of Locke’s epistemology that I’ll be reading to write my essay.

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Kitchener, Ont.: Batoche,2001. Ebrary. 2005. 4 Oct. 2010. http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/lib/apus/Doc?id=2001993This is Locke’s major empirical thesis, detailing how Locke perceived the problem of knowledge, experience and sensation. This primary text will provide the illustrations and proofs required of my thesis.

Uzgalis, William. “John Lo>An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

Grading  for Part 1: Thesis Statement and Research Resources Due at the end of Week 4

Purpose: Clearly articulated thesis statement of appropriate scope that (1) tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the question, and (2) tells the reader what you intend to accomplish in your essay.  

Support: List of three or more appropriate research resources (not including course books).   

Syntax, Style, Grammar, and Formatting: The writing contains sentences that are always complete and grammatically correct, and free of confusion and ambiguity. The essay follows MLA formatting and adheres to the additional guidelines detailed in the syllabus.   

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