explain and defend relativism. This is a thesis defense essay

Paper 1

In this 4+ page essay, you will 1) explain and 2) defend or critique one of the theories we have studied. This is a thesis defense essay.

I created a video in this week’s video section on how to write a good philosophy paper. I strongly recommend viewing that. You can also click here to view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq-b8sPf5cY

For example, you could explain egoism and argue it is the weakest theory for three reasons. Here are a couple other possibilities:

a) Although psychological egoism sounds plausible, it is probably not true. In this paper, I will explain…

b) Stoicism is enriching for three primary reasons: …

c) Although relativism seems plausible, it is actually false. It does not present a strong framework for understanding morality nor does it lead to the highest life possible for an individual. In this paper, I will…

d) American newborn circumcision is right/wrong because… (be sure to incorporate theories and facts)

e) Genital mutilation is…

f) In this paper, I will explore human trafficking through three ethical lenses.

You can write on ethical egoism, psychological egoism, social contract theory, relativism, or stoicism. You can also write on any chapter in your book that we have not covered. The goal is to deeply think about an ethical theory (e.g. identify and evaluate the major arguments for and against it) and then evaluate the theory. Is the theory true? Is it a good theory to follow? Is it ethical or does it explain ethics well? See video for more guidance.

Applied Ethics: If you would like to write on an applied ethics topic instead, you may do so. You could write on current ethical issues like sexual slavery/trafficking, microfinancing, vaccines, distributive justice, etc. There are many excellent examples at the end of each chapter in your textbook (case studies). Explain/analyze the issue and connect it to the theories we are studying. For example, you could argue that getting vaccinated is right for a utilitarian reason… it protects the general population (herd immunity). Perhaps too there are egoistic and deontological reasons for this position? Some students argue that human trafficking is wrong according to utilitarianism and deontology, but may be right according to subjectivism and relativism. Utilitarianism and deontology, therefore, are stronger theories.


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