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Hilary Term 2017
Essay Titles
Junior Freshman Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, and Sociology

PPES students must submit a total of FOUR essays as follows:
PI1006 Central Problems in Philosophy B: 2 essays
PI1007 History of Philosophy I B: 2 essays

  • Essays must not exceed 1500 words in length.
  • It is important for students to complete ESSAY COVER SHEETS in FULL when submitting essays to the Department (including Student name, ID number, email address, module, component, and name of your Teaching Assistant). Essay Cover Sheets with these headings are available from the Dept. Office and on the Philosophy webpage.
  • Students are required to submit their essays via Blackboard with a hard copy handed into the Philosophy Department.  SUBMITTING ESSAYS INTO BLACKBOARD ONLY DOES NOT FULFILL THIS REQUIREMENT.
  • Students must not submit more than one essay for a given module component.
  • Students must identify the component for which the essay is being submitted.
  • Essays must be handed in at the philosophy department office (or placed in the essay box nearby) by 2.00 P.M. on the day specified.
  • An essay may be accepted up to one week late with the loss of 10 marks. It will not be accepted after the lapse of one week.
  • Essay extensions, may be requested on medical or ad misericordiam grounds from you programme coordinator but only via your College Tutor. A list of coordinators is available on the Philosophy webpage and on the Junior Freshmen notice board.  Extensions must be arranged prior to the submission date. 
  • Material already assessed in essays may not be used again in examinations.

Submission Dates
For material covered in Hilary Term 2017/2nd Semester

Weeks 1 - 12No Essays
Week 13 Monday 10th April2017, TWO essays due:
  • PI1006 Central Problems in Philosophy B EITHER
    Component 1 (Metaphysics) OR
    Component 2 (Moral Philosophy)
  • PI1007 History of Philosophy I B EITHER
    Component 1 (The Rationalists) OR Component 2
    (The Empiricists)

PI1006: Central Problems in Philosophy B

Component 1 (Metaphysics) Dr. James Miller

  1. What, in your view, is the best way to account for change in objects? What objections might be given against this view, and how might we respond to those objections?
  2. Should we be sceptics about personal identity? If so, why; if not, why not?
  3. I have two red mugs. What is the best way to explain our intuition that they have the same property of ‘redness’

Component 2 (Moral Philosophy) Dr. Ben Bramble

  1. What is utilitarianism? What is the most serious objection to it? Can this objection be answered?
  2. What claim is Peter Singer arguing for in his famous piece “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”? Reconstruct and evaluate this argument.
  3. What is the difference between subjectivism and objectivism about reasons for action? Which is more plausible and why?

PI1007: History of Philosophy I B

Component 1 (The Rationalists) Dr. Kenneth Pearce

Please consult the instructions on critically evaluating arguments, available on Blackboard, before writing your essay.

  1. Critically evaluate Descartes’s ‘wax argument’ in the Second Meditation.
  2. Critically evaluate one of Descartes’s arguments for the existence of God in the Meditations.
  3. Critically evaluate Spinoza’s argument against teleology. Does Leibniz’s defense of teleology provide a successful reply to this argument?
  4. Critically evaluate Elisabeth’s argument against Descartes’s dualism.
  5. Critically evaluate Malebranche’s argument for occasionalism.

Component 2 (The Empiricists) Dr. Kenneth Pearce

Please consult the instructions on critically evaluating arguments, available on Blackboard, before writing your essay. If you think a philosopher has more than one argument for the stated claim, choose the argument you think is strongest. Similarly, if you think an objector has more than one objection, discuss the objection you think is strongest.

  1. Critically evaluate Locke’s argument against innate ideas. Does Leibniz’s objection against this argument succeed?
  2. Critically evaluate Locke’s argument that divine revelation received by tradition can never yield knowledge.
  3. Critically evaluate the argument against ‘what philosophers call material substance’ (DHP 172) presented by Philonous in Berkeley’s Three Dialogues.
  4. Critically evaluate Hume’s argument that there is no idea of power or necessary connection. Does Shepherd’s objection against this argument succeed?
  5. Critically evaluate Hume’s argument for the compatibility of liberty and necessity.  Does Reid’s objection against this argument succeed?