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Michaelmas Term 2016
Essay Titles
Junior Freshman Single Honours Philosophy

SHP students must submit a total of TWELVE essays as follows:
PI1010 + PI1011 Central Problems in Philosophy A /B: 3 essays
PI1012 + PI1013 History of Philosophy I A/B: 3 essays
PI1003 Topics I: 3 essays
PI1004 Topics II: 3 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 https://www.tcd.ie/Philosophy/undergraduate/ 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 Michaelmas Term 2016/1st Semester

Weeks 1 - 7 No essays
Week 8 Monday 14th November 2016, TWO essays due:
  • PI1010 Central Problems in Philosophy A, Component 1 (Philosophy of Religion)
  • PI1003 Topics I, Component 1 (Philosophy of Language)
Weeks 9 - 12No Essays
1st day of HTMonday 16th January 2017, FOUR essays due:
  • PI1010 Central Problems in Philosophy A,
    Component 2 (Philosophy of Mind)
  • PI1012 History of Philosophy I A EITHER
    Component 1 (Ancient Philosophy) OR Component 2
    (Medieval Philosophy)
  • PI1003 Topics I, Component 2 (Intro. to Political Philosophy)
  • PI1004 Topics II EITHER Component 1 (Ethics: Well-Being) OR Component 2 (God and Freedom)

PI1010: CENTRAL PROBLEMS IN PHILOSOPHY A

Component 1 (Philosophy of Religion) Prof. Paul O'Grady

  1. Critically evaluate a cosmological argument for the existence of God.

    Reading
    Aquinas                       Summa Theologiae Ia q.2.a.3
    F. Copleston               Aquinas ch.3
    Cornman, Lehrer and
    Pappas,                       Philosophical Problems and Arguments , ch.5.
    W.L.Craig                   “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creatio ex Nihilo”
    B. Davies,                   Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 3rd edn., ch 3.
    N. Everitt                    The Non-Existence of God ch. 4
    Haldane, J. and
    Smart, J.                      Atheism and Theism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
    Robin Le Poidevin,    Arguing for Atheism, chs.4-5

  2. Critically evaluate a design argument for the existence of God

    Reading
    Aquinas                        Summa Theologiae Iaq.2.a.3
    B. Davies                     Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, ch. 4
    N. Everitt                     The Non-Existence of God, ch.5
    J.Gaskin                       Hume’s Philosophy of Religion, ch.2
    W. Paley                      Natural Theology Sections 1 and 2
    R. Swinburne              The Existence of God, ch.8

  3. Is the existence of evil compatible with God’s existence?

    Reading
    Brian Davies,               Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Ch10
    N. Everitt                     The Non-Existence of God ch. 12
    John Hick                    The Philosophy of Religion, ch.3.
    John Hick                    Evil and the God of Love,
    Robin Le Poidevin      Arguing for Atheism, ch.7
    J. Mackie                    “Evil and Omnipotence in Mitchell 1971
    A. Plantinga                “The Free Will Defence” in Mitchell 1971

Component 2 (Philosophy of Mind) Dr. James Miller

  1. What is the best argument for substance dualism? Is it persuasive?
  2. What is multiple realizability? What might it tell us about the nature of the mind?
  3. Do physicalist theories need to account for qualia? If so, how might they do so; if not, then why not? 

Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard.

PI1003: Topics I

Component 1 (Philosophy of Language) Dr. James Miller

  1. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem facing a reference theory of meaning? Is this problem enough to lead us to reject reference theories?
  2. Can a use theory of meaning explain the intuition that meaning is normative?
  3. Are racial epithets best analysed through semantic or pragmatic means?

Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard.

Component 2 (Introduction to Political Philosophy) Dr. Ben Bramble

  1. What are the most serious objections to retributivist theories of punishment? Can they be answered?
  2. Reconstruct and evaluate David Boonin’s argument for abolitionism about punishment.
  3. Explain and assess Michael Zimmerman's Argument from Moral Luck.

Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard

PI1011: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY I A

Component 1 (Ancient Philosophy) Pauline Sabrier

Parmenides:
Critically discuss Parmenides’ claim that it is not possible to know ‘what is not’: explain what Parmenides can possibly mean by that, then consider a possible reason to think that Parmenides may have a point, and a problem that you think might arise from his view.
Plato:
Critically discuss Socrates’ requirement for answering the ti esti question ‘what is F?’ by giving a definition of F, as opposed to pointing to an example of a thing that is F.
Aristotle:
How does Aristotle’s account of change manage to overcome the problem of not-being? How convincing do you think this account is?
Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard.

Component 2 (Medieval Philosophy) Prof. Paul O'Grady

  1. How did Augustine bring Platonism into dialogue with Christianity? How successful was he?
    Reading
    Augustine                     Confessions Bk.7
                                           City of God Bk. 8
    Brown, P.                     Augustine of Hippo, Faber and Faber, 2000 [esp chs 8-10]
    Kenny, A.                     Medieval Philosophy, OUP 2005
    Kirwin, C.                      Augustine, Routledge, 1989 [esp chs 1 & 4]
    Matthews, G.               “Augustine” in Ancient Philosophy of Religion, Oppy and Trakakis
                                           (eds.) Acumen, 2009.
    Sorabji, R.                   Time, Creation and the Continuum, Duckworth, 1983
    Stump E. & Kretzmann, N., The Cambridge Companion to Augustine, CUP 2001 [especially the articles by Rist, Mann, MacDonald, Knuuttila].

  2. How did Aquinas bring Aristotle’s philosophy into dialogue with Christianity? How successful was he?
    Reading
    Aquinas                        Summa Theologiae I 1-3
    Copleston, F.              Aquinas, Penguin, 1955
    Kenny, A.                     Aquinas, OUP 1980
    Kenny, A.                     Medieval Philosophy, OUP 2005
    Kretzmann, N., and Stump, E., The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas, CUP 1993 [especially the articles by Aertsen, Owens and Wippel].
    O’Grady, P.                 “Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae” in Central Works of Philosophy, Vol.1 Ancient and Medieval, J. Shand (ed.) Acumen, 2005
    O’Grady, P.                 Aquinas’s Philosophy of Religion, Palgrave-Macmillan 2014 [especially chs.1-2]

PI1004: Topics II

Component 1 (Ethics/Well Being) Dr. Ben Bramble

  1. Explain the difference between temporal and lifetime well-being. Is lifetime well-being constructed out of units of momentary well-being? If so, in what way? If not, why not?
  2. Evaluate Nozick’s ‘experience machine’ objection to hedonism about well-being.
  3. What is the best argument for subjectivism about well-being? What is the best version of subjectivism?

Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard.

Component 2 (God and Freedom) Dr. Kenneth Pearce

  1. Critically evaluate Leibniz’s argument for the conclusion that this is the best of all possible worlds. On what premises does the argument rely? Which of the premises is most vulnerable to attack by an opponent? Can that premise ultimately be defended?
  2. Critically evaluate Rowe’s argument against the possibility of an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being. On what premises does the argument rely? Which of the premises is most vulnerable to attack by an opponent? Can that premise ultimately be defended?
  3. Critically evaluate the argument for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human free will. (You may use either Hasker’s version or Zagzebski’s.) On what premises does the argument rely? Which of the premises is most vulnerable to attack by an opponent? Can that premise ultimately be defended?
  4. Critically evaluate Mackie’s argument for the conclusion that an omnipotent being could not create anything it did not control. On what premises does the argument rely? Which of the premises is most vulnerable to attack by an opponent? Can that premise ultimately be defended?

Readings for the above titles are available on Blackboard