Project #66817 - Philosophy Paper Assignment

Philosophy Paper Assignment




Choose only ONE of the three topics listed below. The three options correspond to significant areas of logic such as validity and soundness, fallacies, and deciphering arguments. Consult the readings, your notes and your own research in answering the questions.




Write a 1-2 page essay on ONE of the topics listed below. This is a formal paper so standard rules for academic papers apply including:


  • Double spaced
  • Font Times New Roman 12
  • Include a Bibliography for any cited references
  • Paper must be in essay form with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion
  • Use complete sentences (no bullet points) and be sure to answer all questions within the body of the paper


DUE DATE:May 1, 2015




Option 1 

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held a series of debates about slavery. In the course of that debate Lincoln re-stated in syllogistic form Douglas’s argument that the right to hold property (in the form of a slave) was affirmed by the U.S. Constitution and then provides a response to Douglas's argument. See the argument below:


I state in syllogistic form the argument:

            Nothing in the Constitution…can destroy a right distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.

            The right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.

            Therefore, nothing in the Constitution can destroy the right of property in a slave.

 Lincoln responds to Douglas's argument by stating:

             There is fault [in the argument], but the fault is not in the reasoning; but the falsehood in fact is a fault of the premises. I believe that the right of property in a slave is not distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution. 




 What does Lincoln mean when he states that the fault is not in the reasoning? What does he find fault with and why? How does this example demonstrate the importance of soundness in arguments? In your response be sure to describe validity and soundness and place the concepts in the context of Lincoln’s argument.  




Option 2 


 Read the following passage: 


When you get down to it, philosophers are just logic choppers who sit around trying to put reality into little boxes made of words. So, the philosophical arguments against time travel prove nothing. Hence, time travel is possible. Anyway, I know it’s possible because it can happen. And besides, just about everyone, but philosophers thinks that time travel is possible, so once again, time travel probably is possible.




Write a paper in which you identify all of the fallacies that appear in the passage. (Use the fallacies in Chapter 4. Be specific in identifying each fallacy that you find in the passage. In other words, don't just tell me that a specific statement is a fallacy without identifying which fallacy is being committed and your reasoning for identifying that fallacy.) In your response, be sure to explain each fallacy and why the parts of the passage you have identified are fallacies. Your explanations should be comprehensive. (HINT: There is more than one fallacy.)


Option 3


The passage below contains an argument. Read the passage and write an essay discussing the argument contained in the passage. Your essay should contain a well-crafted version of the argument with the premises and conclusion clearly identified.  Be sure to include answers to the following questions in your essay:




  1. What are the premises? (List them clearly, do not expect the reader to infer the premises from your discussion)
  2. What is the main conclusion?
  3. Which parts of the passage contain excess words or explanations that do NOT contribute to the main argument? (Be sure to identify parts of the passage that are repetitive, descriptive or mere explanation. In other words, what parts of the passage are not premises or conclusion.)


The conscientious law breaking of Socrates, Gandhi, and Thoreau is to be distinguished from the conscientious law testing of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was not a civil disobedient. The civil disobedient withholds taxes or violates state laws knowing he is legally wrong but believing he is morally right. While he wrapped himself in the mantle of Gandhi and Thoreau, Dr. King led his followers in violation of state laws he believed were contrary to the federal Constitution. But since the Supreme Court decisions in the end generally upheld his many actions, he should not be considered a true civil disobedient. – Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr. “Civil Disobedience: Destroyer of Democracy,” in Lynn Z. Bloom, ed., The Essay Connection, 4th ed. (Lexington, MA: Heath, 1995), pp.564-565



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Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/22/2015 12:00 am
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