essay and extra points

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Essay Questions

(Click HERE for a Word doc version of the essays questions)

DIRECTIONS

Write two essays, one on one of the questions in Group 1 and another on one of the questions in Group 2. Answer every part of the question.

Please Note – Essays will be graded as follows: Up to 5 points for accuracy and completeness of content (including answering all parts of the question), up to 3 points for soundness of reasoning and helpfulness of examples in making points/arguments, and up to 2 points for clarity of expression/mechanics. A minimum of about 250 words is typically needed for a well-written essay to receive full-credit.

An Extra Credit question follows, worth up to 5 points (with half the assessment values indicated in the note above). Submit your essays in a Word or pdf document.

QUESTIONS

Group 1 (Answer either 1-A or 1-B)

1-A) Pascal argues that even if it is not theoretically rational to believe in a GCB, it is nevertheless practically rational to do so. After briefly explaining the act/state/outcome approach to practical rationality, show how Pascal arrives at this conclusion. Does the success of Pascal’s argument depend on how much an individual values the “eternal reward,” such as that promised in Heaven? Please explain your answer.

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1-B) Describe John Stuart Mill’s theory of utilitarianism. One objection to Mill’s theory is that we rarely have time to calculate and weigh the effects of a prospective action on general happiness. How does Mill reply to this objection? To what extent, and why, do you find his theory and reply relevant to ethical decision-making today?

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Group 2 (Answer either 2-A or 2-B; if 2-A, note that both parts must be answered)

2-A) Two parts to this essay question:

(1) Can a sound argument have a false conclusion? Please explain your answer.

(2) Create your own example of a fallacy of equivocation, then use Green’s definition of validity to show that this argument is not valid.

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2-B) Consciousness seems to be particularly difficult to explain in materialistic terms. Please explain why this is so.

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Extra Credit

For up to 5 extra credit points, choose the other question from either group (not both!) and write an essay in response.

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