Philosophy Research Paper

Assignment
 
Write a two- or three-page paper on
(a) one of the following topics, or,
(b) if you prefer, a topic of your own choosing, provided that you clear that topic with your TA.
 

Using evidence from book I of the Nicomachean Ethics, brieflyoutline the concept of eudaimonia. Does Irwin’s translation of eudaimonia as “happiness” fully capture the concept? Why or why not?
Aristotle begins the Nicomachean Ethics by critiquing popular views of happiness. Identify and describe a conception of happiness that is widely held in our own day. How would Aristotle critique it? What would he find appealing about, and what would he find unappealing, and why?
For Anselm, what is the purpose of freedom of choice? How can God and the good angels be free if they do not have the capacity to sin? 
Explain how Berkeley’s account contains a positive argument for the existence of God. Evaluate Berkeley’s argument.
Explain why Berkeley thinks materialism leads to skepticism. Why, in his view, are we perfectly justified in trusting our perceptions? 
How does Berkeley attempt to solve the problem of other minds? Does his immaterialism substantially change the problem? Do you find his argument persuasive? 
In his biography of the great Doctor Samuel Johnson, James Boswell reports that he and Johnson were discussing George Berkeley’s view that matter was nonexistent and that everything in the universe is merely ideal, when “Johnson answered, striking his foot with force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, ‘I refute him thus.’” Write a dialogue between Doctor Johnson and Bishop Berkeley in which Johnson attempts this famous refutation and Berkeley explains to Johnson why it doesn’t work. (You may write this in the form of a dialogue or as a story, whichever you find works better for you, but writing it as a dialogue has the advantage that it can be basically all argument from beginning to end.)

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