g ., author notices potential objections W r i t i n g
Pick just one of the following topics to write about. Your paper should be approximately 750–1250 words, and it is due by 12/18 at 11:59pm. You may want to review my instructions on writing a philosophy paper before you get started.
A. Derek Parfit describes a view that he refers to as the Psychological Criterion of personal identity. What exactly does that view say? Are there sound objections to it? If so, what are they? If not, why do the objections fail?
B. In his book Persons, Animals, Ourselves, Paul Snowdon defends animalism. That is the thesis that, as he puts it, “Each of us is identical with, is one and the same thing as, an animal.” To get a handle on what that means, consider yourself. Let’s suppose that you are presently alone, in your kitchen, seated at the head of your kitchen table. There is, then, a human animal in your kitchen. It is seated at the head of your kitchen table. According to animalism, the thesis that Snowdon defends, you are identical with that animal. That animal, in other words, is you.
This may seem trivially true. But the claim that you are identical with that animal has some important consequences. In particular, if you are identical with that animal, then you exist just as long as that animal exists. A lot of philosophers would say that, if you think about it, that is not correct.
First, they would say, it is possible for that animal to exist without you existing. That animal could conceivably live on even after you have perished. Second, they would say, it is possible for you to exist without that animal existing. You could go on without that animal surviving.
Are these philosophers correct? That is, is a situation of the first type, where you cease to exist and yet the animal lives on, really possible? What about a situation of the second type, where the animal ceases to exist and yet you live on? Is that really possible? Say why or why not.
C. According to Ayer, even if determinism is true, that does not mean that no one ever does anything of their own free will. What argument does Ayer give for thinking that, even if determinism is true, people may still act of their own free will? Is his argument for that position sound? Why or why not?
D. In her paper, “Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility,” Susan Wolf discusses a view that she refers to as the Deep Self View. What is the Deep Self View? Why does Wolf think that it is mistaken? Is her argument against the Deep Self View convincing?
- 90-100 percent: Directly addresses all questions that the paper is supposed to address. Entirely or almost entirely accurate in how it describes the theories or arguments at issue. Explanations are exceptionally clear, using well-constructed examples where appropriate. Author’s opinions on the the theories or arguments under discussion are thoughtful and show an awareness of alternative viewpoints (e.g., author notices potential objections to their own views and offers well-considered replies).
- 80-89 percent: Directly addresses all questions that the paper is supposed to address. Mostly accurate in how it describes the theories or arguments at issue, but perhaps includes some non-trivial misunderstandings. Explanations are usually clear and straightforward, if confusing in spots. Author’s opinions on the theories or arguments under discussion are reasonable, but perhaps not particularly well-supported or fully explored.
- 70-79 percent: Might not address in any meaningful way at least some question that the paper is supposed to address. Somewhat accurate in how it describes the theories or arguments at issue, but significant errors or misunderstandings are present. Explanations are inconsistent, perhaps clear in parts, but significantly confusing or incomplete in others. Author’s opinions on the theories or arguments under discussion are not developed or explored in any meaningful way.
- 60-69 percent: Might not address in any meaningful way some questions that the paper is supposed to address. Largely inaccurate in how it describes the theories or arguments at issue, or explanations are too unclear to evaluate in many instances.
- 0-59 percent: No submission, or paper is almost entirely off-topic, or else is too confusing to understand more than bits and pieces.
10 points will be subtracted from any paper submitted within the first 24 hour period after the deadline; 20 points will be subtracted from any paper submitted in the second 24 hour period after the deadline; and 30 points will be subtracted from any paper submitted in the third 24 hour period after the deadline. Any paper submitted after that point will receive 1/2 credit. That is, I will give you 1/2 as many points as you would have gotten had you turned the paper in on time.
- Plagiarism is defined as, “us[ing] another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source” (MLA Handbook, 5th ed., section 1.8).
- For the first offense, you will receive a zero on the assignment in question, with no opportunity to improve your grade on that assignment.
- For the second offense, you will receive an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Berkeley City College catalog.