Directions: Select one, and only one!, of the paper topics below for your essay. Do not cite or otherwise rely on sources other than the ones weve referred to in class (i.e., just consult the assigned readings and my lecture slides). You dont need a references page. Its okay to quote from the philosophers were read, but do so sparinglyin general its best to explain things in your own words. Aim for 1000-1400 words in your essay and put the word count at the top.
And remember that youre bound by VTs honor code: http://www.honorsystem.vt.eduLinks to an external site.. One of the things that you, of course, dont want to do is engage in plagiarism. Ignorance of what counts as plagiarism in this context isnt exculpatorysee the honor code for more information.
Your papers will be graded according to the following four criteria:
Here are your choices for paper topics.
Assume that people persist over time. That is, assume that a person can survive at least small changes (e.g., losing some hair) rather than becoming a different person every new moment. On this assumption, explain the the body and the psychological views of personal identity over time. What do you believe are the main strengths and weaknesses of these views? Do you find one of the views more plausible than the other or are they roughly equally plausible? Be sure to give reasons and arguments that support your assessment, including some specific cases that might challenge or support these views.
3. Learning to love your jewel and philosophy.
In Learning to Be Me, the narrator discusses different perspectives he and others have taken toward having a jewel, a brain, and various futuristic procedures. In no more than two paragraphs, summarize the basic elements and procedures in this storyincluding the jewel, brain, teacher (how they function together and influence bodily activity), as well as the procedure of switching. Do you believe any of the perspectives taken by the narrator, or the society the narrator describes, assume the truth/falsity of one the views on personal identity we have discussed? Would you undergo the procedure of switching? Optional but not required question: Does the story shed any light on what it means to survive over time? When answering these questions, be sure to give reasons and arguments that support your answers.