Argumentative Philosophy Essay (Aquinas or William James)

Philosophy 100
Essay Topics
Topics:

Please submit a 4-page essay (page limit does not include your Works Cited page, which would be a 5th additional page) on one of the 2 topics below.

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1. Do you think Aquinas’s argument for God’s existence is persuasive? In your essay briefly explain Aquinas’s argument, then take a position on the question posed and offer arguments in support of your view. If you agree with Aquinas, you need to entertain strong objections to his argument, and respond to each of these objections, defending Aquinas, by showing why these criticisms aren’t persuasive. If you disagree with Aquinas, then you need to offer arguments against the theorist, entertain objections to your arguments, and then reply to these objections showing why your position stands.

2. William James offers an argument for why it’s not irrational to believe in God. In your essay, briefly explain his logic for this, then take a position on the question posed and offer arguments in support of your view. If you agree with James, you need to entertain strong objections to his argument, and respond to each of these objections, defending James, by showing why these criticisms aren’t persuasive. If you disagree with James, then you need to offer arguments against the theorist, entertain objections to your arguments, and then reply to these objections showing why your position stands.

Reminders (please read carefully):

In philosophy your task is to understand the arguments that lead to the conclusion a theorist is arguing for. This means that when you are critically thinking about theorists, you can’t simply respond to their conclusions, but you need to grapple with their arguments that lead them there. Be sure that when you are evaluating theories you evaluate their logic and reasons for their positions.

Be sure to: (1) show you’ve considered the question in a thoughtful and sophisticated way; (2) demonstrate excellent understanding of the relevant theorist; (3) take a position on the question posed, that offers intelligent and well-developed and defended arguments in support of your position, but also considers smart objections, and deals with those objections to show why your view is more persuasive; (4) show depth of understanding, and (5) communicate your ideas and thoughts clearly

Details (please read carefully):

Your essay should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, normal font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman), and submitted via Blackboard in PDF format.

 

Please use MLA style for all your in-text citations.

This is an argumentative essay, not a research essay. You don’t need to use anything aside from the original source material, and your own critical thinking. That said, you are welcome to include external sources if you wish, but they must be peer-reviewed scholarly (academic) sources, and you must only use them in your arguments in some meaningful way. What counts as a peer-reviewed scholarly source? Academic journal articles and scholarly books. What doesn’t count as a peer-reviewed source? Blogs, random websites, Wikipedia, videos, etc.)

 

References:

Option 1:
Aquinas, “Summa Theologiae”, Exploring Philosophy (pg. 288-290) (Cahn Steven M Exploring philosophy attachment)

Video on Aquinas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgisehuGOyY&ab_channel=CrashCourse

Option 2:

William James writing pg. 316-328 (Cahn Steven M Exploring philosophy attachment)

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