Critical Thinking “Jury” Paper
the order description is: overview: philosophy has been called “the great conversation.” inspired by that idea, this paper will require you to use your critical thinking skills to analyze a modern philosopher by putting him “on trial” before the “jury” of socrates, plato, and/or aristotle. what would these ancient greek thinkers have to say about a later philosopher’s ideas? you can write this paper as a traditional five paragraph essay or you can choose to write a ‘creative writing’ style of paper in which the philosophers appear as characters talking to each other in a story or dialogue/drama script. getting started: 1. select a paper topic from the approved list (see below). 2. select an ancient greek philosophical ‘judge’ or ‘jury’. you must choose at least one greek philosopher (socrates, plato, or aristotle) to serve as a “judge,” but depending on your topic, you can also choose two of them or even all three and make them a “jury.” 3. select one modern philosopher to go “on trial” before your ancient greek judge/jury. paper topics: 1. what is the relationship between the body and the soul/mind? ancient greek philosophers: socrates, plato, or aristotle [all three talked about the soul] modern philosopher: descartes 2. can humans gain genuine knowledge through the five senses? why or why not? ancient greek philosophers: plato or aristotle only [socrates did not really discuss this] modern philosopher: descartes
3. do happiness and the virtuous/moral life go together? why or why not? ancient greek philosophers: socrates, plato, or aristotle [all three talked about virtue, the soul, justice, happiness] modern philosopher: kant or mill 4. do we always have to obey the laws of our society? why or why not? ancient greek philosophers socrates or plato only [we did not study aristotle’s view of laws or society] modern philosopher: thomas aquinas or martin luther king, jr. instructions: • a) heading & format: name, date, course name, and “critical thinking jury paper” should all appear at the top left-hand side of your paper. the text of the paper should be in size 12 font and double-spaced with 1-inch margins. • the paper must include some in-text references to the relevant assigned reading(s). no additional research needs to be done. all in-text references must be in mla format, just like in your reading responses. • the paper must be at least 5 paragraphs long. it can be longer, but it should not exceed 6 pages. a ‘creative writing’ style paper will look a bit different, but it should still include all of the following elements, which are listed according to the suggested structure of a five paragraph essay: o b) introduction: include a thesis statement that states the position you will be defending in your paper. [tips: what have you discovered—does your chosen judge/jury agree or disagree with your modern philosopher’s view(s) on the topic you’ve chosen? to what extent? in what ways? why or why not?] o c) judge/jury’s views: discuss the ancient philosopher’s ideas on your selected topic by identifying and explaining relevant and important concepts and ideas, summarizing important arguments, and/or providing examples from the readings. o d) modern philosopher’s views: discuss the philosopher’s ideas on the topic by identifying and explaining relevant and important concepts and ideas, summarizing important arguments, and/or providing examples from the readings. o e) critique: what would your judge/jury have to say about your modern philosopher’s views on the topic? would they agree or disagree, and why? in what ways and to what extent? what “verdict” would socrates, plato, and/or aristotle give to your modern philosopher? this is the place to use your critical thinking skills. o f) conclusion: do you agree more with your modern philosopher’s ideas or with your judge/jury or with some of both or with neither? why? make sure to include your reasons. possible criteria you might use in forming your opinion include the clarity of the philosopher’s concepts, the logical consistency of their position, the strength of their arguments, and the implications of their views for daily living/ethics.
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