Philosophy

 
Write a two- page (double- spaced, 12- point Times New Roman font, 1- inch margins) essay on each of the following three topics. TO BE CLEAR: IN THIS ASSIGNMENT YOU MUST WRITE THREE ESSAYS: ONE ON TOPIC (1) AND ONE ON TOPIC (2) AND ONE ON TOPIC (3). EACH ESSAY MUST BE TWO PAGES IN LENGTH FOR A TOTAL OF SIX PAGES.

Your essays should NOT include any introduction, conclusion, footnotes, bibliography, or any other paraphernalia of the standard college term paper. Avoid the use of jargon (any term that would be unfamiliar to someone who has not taken a philosophy course) and ‘- isms’ (for example, ‘relativism,’ ‘subjectivism,’ ‘nihilism’) UNLESS you give a precise definition of the term with its first occurrence in your essay. Best to play it safe, though: a philosophical essay ought to be written in clear, and so short, declarative sentences.

(1) In John Perry’s A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, Gretchen Weirob argues that even if a person has a soul, sameness of person (or personal identity) can’t consist in sameness of soul. Explain how Gretchen argues for this conclusion by answering the following questions. Why does she think we can’t know whether the principle ‘Same body, same soul’ is true? How does she argue from the fact that we don’t know whether that principle is true to the conclusion that we can’t know whether any person at one point in time is identical to (the same person as) a person at a later point in time. And how does Gretchen use that conclusion to argue that sameness of person does not consist in sameness of soul?

(2) In Death, Shelly Kagan claims that “there are some implications of rejecting the existence requirement that may be rather hard to swallow” (p. 217). What is the version of the existence requirement that appears as a premise in Epicurus’ argument? What are the implications of rejecting it that Kagan finds hard to swallow? (Hint: here you need to explain what a possible person is and how they are harmed.) How can these implications be avoided by adopting what Kagan calls the “modest” version of the existence requirement? What if any counter- intuitive implications does the modest existence requirement have?

(3) Kagan thinks that death can be, and very often is, bad for the person who dies (and this is so because death deprives that person of the goods of life). But Kagan denies that it is reasonable or appropriate to fear death. Explain as clearly as you can his view. What are the conditions he places on reasonable or appropriate fear? What are the different things he thinks we might fear in 2 fearing death? And why does he think it isn’t reasonable or appropriate to fear any of these things?

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