Posted: September 17th, 2017


Write a 2500-word critical position essay on one of the topics given below. Your assignment should be double spaced. Make certain that your documentation is complete and that you take every effort to acknowledge intellectual indebtedness.

Topic Choices
1.Explain how one of the philosophers we have studied in the course introduces metaphysical or epistemological ideas to deal with an ethical issue. Having accomplished this task, select a philosopher from the other tradition (if you choose Socrates for the first part, choose an Eastern philosopher for the second, and vice versa) and identify the key points of difference between them with regard to their metaphysical or epistemological framework. Which approach better addresses the issue?

2.Choose a philosopher from one of the two traditions and explain what he takes to be the good life. How does he defend his view? Then, choose a philosopher from the other tradition and explain how he would criticize the first. Give reasons for why you would side with one philosopher over the other. it right to act in one�s own best interest, or to obey the state? In other words, was Socrates right to obey the orders of the state of Athens to take poison, or should he have acted to preserve his own life by choosing exile or escaping? Explain how Confucius or Chuang Tzu or a Buddhist would support or condemn the decision Socrates made.

4.Is it more important to value one�s own life, happiness, and interest, or to obey the higher authority of the state? (This question is similar to the question above, but it is more open-ended, allowing you to formulate your own set of issues.
You might be interested in the concept of individual freedom and rights, wishing to argue against the tendency of Socrates and Confucius to place the state ahead of the individual.) Note that you are still developing your position by comparing one philosopher with another.

5.Is Taoism�s conception of the good more reasonable than that of Socrates?

6.Both Socrates and Chuang Tzu have addressed the issue of death and the afterlife. They both say that we should not fear death but for different reasons; one because of the soul�s immortality and the other because death is a natural process like the shift of day and night. But they have very different assumptions. Socrates bases his arguments on the assumption that the body and soul are fundamentally different (ontological dualism), whereas Chuang Tzu bases his view on a tao/chi� monism. Which view can better comfort a dying person? �Why or why not? �In what situation? What could be some of the merits or flaws in believing their respective teachings (theories)?

7.Both Socrates and the Buddha talk about the idea of self. Socrates seems to stress the importance of self, and the Buddha seems to focus on �no-self� (or de-self). Did Socrates try to teach people to be more self-centered or egoist by emphasizing the self? Did Buddha try to say that we should not take moral responsibility for our behaviour? Might it be possible that they are teaching the same thing about self through different approaches? (Hint: self as a moral agent; self as an ego�these are two different things.)

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