Argumentative Essay

Consider the topics we’ve been discussing over these past few weeks. During the discussions, which argument did you make about these topics that felt the strongest and had the most support? Choose one of those arguments as a central thesis for your argumentative essay. From there develop some reasons and arguments in support of your central thesis! If you’re having trouble, see what the readings have to say about these ideas – they likely have some arguments that you can use and/or cite in your essay. Either way, include at least one of the texts that we’ve read in your paper.

If you still need some inspiration for your central thesis, or if you are having a hard time clarifying your central thesis, consider the prompt questions below! Try to answer them for yourself, see which one you feel strongest about or which seems easiest to write about and use that as your central thesis.

Be sure to polish your paper before you submit it, make sure your writing is clear and that your grammar and spelling are mostly correct.

Helpful Prompt Questions (Remember you’re only doing 1 central thesis!):

Are people naturally selfish and/or self-interested?
Can we be altruistic?
Is it immoral to act altruistically?
Is Rand’s prescription of “Rational Egoism”, which seeks to benefit the self as rationally and maximally as possible, the best principle to determine our moral values?
Is your own “Life” is the most important “value” because it makes value possible?
If Utilitarianism is true, is there a difference between intellectual and sensual pleasures? If so, how do you evaluate the difference?
Is the Principle of Utility, the Utilitarian means of evaluating actions based on bringing the most amount of happiness to the most amount of people over the greatest period of time, the means by which we should evaluate actions?
Is a Good Will the only real “good”?
Do you agree with Kant’s distinction between Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives?
Are Kant’s Categorical Imperatives logical rules to follow?
Should we all follow Kant’s Categorical Imperatives?
Is every persons’ telos happiness?
Are virtues the middle ground between two extremes, or vices, as Aristotle argues in his “Golden Mean”
Are there virtues we should strive for other than the ones outlined by Aristotle?
Do you agree that we have a responsibility to be authentic?
Do crowds have access to truth?
Can we find our identities without using a crowd?
Do you agree with Nietzsche’s distinction between “Master” and “Slave” moralities?
Are the virtues of the common person “slave” virtues?
Are the virtues of the powerful and successful “master” virtues?

Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues (ISBN: 978-1-305-07750-8) by Barbara MacKinnon and Andrew Fiala is the required text for this class.

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