| December 22, 2015


Course Objectives:

Objective 1 – Describe and discuss general area of philosophy called political philosophy and problems within Non-Western Philosophy.

Objective 2 – Describe and discuss various philosophical problems, such as the nature of reality and appearance, the problem of mind/body,

standards of truth, conditions and limits of human knowledge, free will/determinism, arguments concerning the existence of God, the

problem of evil, moral principles, and political principles.

Objective 3 – Re-present and formulate different types of arguments and answers which have been offered in response to philosophic


Objective 4 – Clearly engage in critical summary, analysis and/or evaluation of a philosopher’s argument, by explicitly employing the

methods of argument through writing, (identification of assumptions, identification of premise/conclusion relationships, evaluation of

logical validity and overall soundness within an argument’s inferences).

Objective 5 – Clearly draw conclusions on the basis of explicit presentation of supporting arguments. When appropriate, these conclusions

should emphasize ethical implications of issues and situations.

Description: Students will write seven papers. Use the instructions given below for this essay. The essays are worth 50 points each.

Method of Assessment: In addition to demonstration of the course objectives listed above and the unit objectives associated with the unit

for this essay, student essays will be assessed on how well the student demonstrates the following:

complete all parts of the essay

objectively analyze and evaluate the topic under consideration

cite and use sources

originality of writing

Your essay will not be evaluated on whether I agree with what you are saying. I will be looking at your understanding of the issues, but,

mostly, I will be looking at the amount of depth, development and thoughtfulness that you bring to your answers. I will also look to see

that you develop arguments for your conclusions, and that you avoid dogma and unsupported opinion. To this end, avoid expressions such as

“its true for me,” and, “I feel.” Provide thinking rather than feeling, and arguments rather than opinions.

Due Dates: Check the Course Schedule for Due Dates.

Essay Instructions: A copy of this exercise is available to download by clicking “here”.
Philosophy 191
Critical Thinking Essay
Unit 4: Who Am I?

Name: ________________________________________
Consider the following situation:

One day you and a good friend of yours are crossing Hooper Avenue. You are not looking where you are going, and you are run down by a

cement truck. Your friend is so shocked that he or she drops dead from a massive stroke. But as luck has it, someone from the OCC

psychology department rushes both bodies over to the nearby medical center for a dramatic emergency operation. It seems that although your

body was destroyed in the accident, your head was not harmed at all. Since your friend has a perfectly healthy body, it seems that we

might be able to save at least one of you, by putting your brain into your friend’s body. The doctor in charge said that we can do this by

removing the upper 30% of your brain (the damaged part) and grafting on to the lower part of your friend’s brain. This way we do not have

to attach the whole brain to the spine, and we do not have to worry about matching the hormones of the two people involved. You see, your

friend is the opposite sex as you. So, if you are female, the top part of your brain is now attached to the bottom part of a man’s brain,

which is sitting in a male body. If you are male, the situation is reversed. Thus, all portions of the brain responsible for producing

hormones, (testosterone for the male body; estrogen for the female), have remained intact. The only part of the brain that was replaced

was the portion responsible for consciousness, thought, memory, and, a sense of self. These are all the same that you possessed at the

time of the accident. The philosophical question that we must now raise is, “Whom did we save?” You? Your friend? Or, did we create some

new third person? For the time being, we will call this individual “Schwartz.” This name is not gender specific. And it does not bias our

judgment, at the outset, in favor of any one conclusion in particular.

Two of your philosopher friends come into your room to visit you. Choose your two friends from any of the philosophers within Chapter 3.

After a round of “Hellos” and “How are you feeling,” the three of you begin to discuss the following questions:

Who survived the operation?

Is “it” the “same” person who existed five minutes before the accident?

Is “it” the “same” person who will exist five years after the accident?

This situation is farfetched. But thinking about it forces us to ask questions about what the human “self” and a human “being” really are.

Are we basically a mind, which is tied to such things as consciousness and memories? Are we a metaphysical soul, which exists separate

from our body and our consciousness? Are we basically bodies, connected to instinct, hormones, and to all the various physical and

material body processes? Are we products of culture, and thus tied to the way others see and judge us? Or, are we some sort of mixture of

two or more of these things?

Your assignment is to write a two to three page paper (from 700 to 1000 words), which tells what happened in the conversation that you had

with the two philosophers. Where did you agree; and where did you disagree?

Your paper should be organized into the four sections described below. Please use the section headings, Part One, Part Two, Part Three and

Part Four, within your paper.

Part One: Area of Philosophy. Write an introduction to your paper, which clearly identifies a general area of philosophy, within which the

philosophical problem that you will be exploring can be found. Refer to Chapter One if you need to review these areas. Do you think that

the question posed above place your discussion within Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, and/or Philosophy of

Religion? Part one of your paper should be brief and concise. No more than 50 to 100 words maximum.

Part Two: Argument Analysis. Present the points of view, and the arguments supporting those views, from the two philosophers you have

chosen to discuss these philosophical questions with you. Summarize and pick these arguments apart a little. What are the main premises of

their arguments? Does they make any important assumptions? What evidence do they present that is factual and verifiable? And what evidence

do they present that is more a matter of speculation and/or interpretation? In this section of your paper you are merely analyzing, or,

picking apart the arguments. Do not draw any conclusions as to whether or not these arguments are valid and/or sound. This section of your

paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Three: Argument Evaluation. In this section present and defend some judgments about these arguments. Are these premises safe to

accept? Are there any questionable assumptions made? If we do accept them do they take us logically to their conclusions? Your evaluation

should make explicit use of concepts such as “assumption,” “soundness” and “validity,” as these are presented within Chapter One of the

text. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Four: Conclusion. Draw your own interesting and relevant conclusions about the philosophical problem you are exploring. Do not merely

offer a set of “feelings” or an “opinion.” Instead, build your own argument, regarding the questions above. If you find that you are in

agreement with some of the philosopher’s ideas, then you can use these as part of your own argument, so long as you do not merely

reiterate what they are saying. This part of your paper should be 300 words minimum.

Formatting the essay:

The essays should be saved into Microsoft Word file format. If they are not, then the professor will not be able to open them to grade.

You should not copy and paste your essays into the dialog box associated with this essay in the Drop Box This is because your professor

will need to download your essays and give you grading comments. Your essays should be single-spaced, with one-inch margins, and a 10-

point Arial font.

The primary goal of each writing exercise is to (1) demonstrate your knowledge of the material, and (2), to demonstrate your ability to

apply philosophical reasoning skills to the various topics we cover. Since this is a short paper, you are not allowed to use to quotes.

Instead, you should paraphrase people’s ideas into your own words so that it is clear that you have comprehension of the material.

When you have finished your essay, you should upload it to the course Dropbox by the due date listed in the course schedule. You can find

the Dropbox at the top right of the course home page. Your professor will grade your essay and return it to you with grading comments.

Dropbox Instructions

Access the dropbox by selecting the Dropbox tab in the top navigation bar in this course.
When the Dropbox page opens, click on the Submit Assignment link.
From the Basket drop-down menu, select the Dropbox basket that corresponds with your assignment.
Enter any information you need to provide your instructor in the text editor, or simply leave this blank.
Attach your document by clicking on the Add/Remove link, then following the prompts in the pop-up window.
When your file has uploaded, it will appear as a link under Attachments.
When you are finished, click on the Submit Assignment button.

Your assignment now has been submitted for instructor review and should be visible in your Outbox Basket.

Category: Essay

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