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Write a essay (1000 – 1300 words) on ONE of the following topics.
1. Describe and critically assess Socrates’ reduction of the concept of courage to aporia (i.e. paradox) (Laches 192c-193e).
2. Plato held that a just state would be run by philosopher guardians. Plato thinks that, given their education, talents, virtues and the way their lives would be controlled in his Republic, such people are the best possible rulers. Is he right about this?
3. What is the main difference between Aristotle’s account of virtue and Socrates’ account of virtue? Who has the more plausible view?
4. Describe and critically assess Epicurus’s argument that we are not harmed by our own death. (Note, the question asks you about Epicurus’s argument, not Lucretius’ argument.)
5. Is the Doctrine of Double Effect a valid moral principle? Use the version set out by Joseph Mangan (see Lecture Notes Week 6). Defend your answer by examining various applications of the doctrine. (Use at least some examples of your own.)
6. Is there such a thing as a just war? In your answer critically examine the standard criteria for a just war as set out in Week 6 Lecture Notes. (You are encouraged to test these criteria against real life examples.)
7. Why does Hobbes believe that political revolution and rebellion are always unjustified? Describe how this belief relates to Hobbes’s account of the state of nature and the creation of a commonwealth. Is Hobbes’s position plausible?
8. Compare and contrast Hobbes’s and Locke’s views of the state of nature and the fundamental purpose of political society. Whose view is the more plausible? Why?
9. Describe and critically assess Locke’s theory of original acquisition.
10. Locke’s view of natural rights is based on his religious convictions. Can the idea of natural rights survive outside of this religious viewpoint? If natural rights are not based upon the authority of God, what can they be based upon?
11. Kant claims that we must always “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.” (Groundwork 4: 429; see Lecture Notes Week 9) Explain what Kant means by this claim. Use examples of your own to illustrate it. Critically access Kant’s claim.
12. Describe and critically assess John Stuart Mill’s harm principle.
13. Compare and contrast Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill’s versions of utilitarianism. Whose version is the more plausible? Why?
14. Describe and critically assess John Rawls account of what makes a society just.
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