The assignment: Your task is to compare the views – and the reasons explicitly given or implied or suggested for…

The assignment: Your task is to compare the views – and the reasons explicitly given or implied or suggested for these views – presented in two of the following texts by at least two different authors: Plato’s (1) Euthyphro, (2) Apology, (3) Crito; (4) King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; and (5) Lao Tzu’s “Living as Water” on one of the following issues: (a) the basis for judgments of good and bad conduct; (b) the good life; or (c) the obligations of the citizen. Here’s how I’d approach the assignment: Step 1: Select the issue you want to discuss. It’s going to be either (a), (b), or (c) above. Choose only ONE topic. Step 2: Figure out which two texts provide the clearest discussion of the issue. Here are the text options: #1 Select ONE Platonic dialogue (either the Euthyphro OR the Apology OR the Crito) AND King #2. Select ONE Platonic dialogue (either the Euthyphro OR the Apology OR the Crito) AND Lao Tzu #3 Select King and Lao Tzu You may only use two authors and you can’t use more than one text by any author. Step 3: Determine what the fundamental view is that the author presents with respect to the issue you’ve selected. You immediately ought to be able to think what the “answer” is. You also should be able to state very briefly and clearly what this main “answer” is. Even if there’s some nuance involved, it’ll be obvious that the author presents a nuanced discussion of the topic. Some texts might address more than one issue. For instance, it’s quite obvious that King’s “Letter” addresses both options (a) and (c). Lao Tzu could easily be understood as addressing all three topics, i.e., (a), (b), and (c). And it’s crystal clear that in the Crito Plato represents Socrates as weighing in on (c), the obligations of the citizen. Step 4: Reread the texts you’ve selected and work on ascertaining WHY the author thinks his view is correct. You’ll need to pay close attention to the arguments adduced [look up this word if you don’t know what it means!] for the position you’re going to discuss. What are the premises? What are underlying but implicit assumptions, if any? If the premises, i.e., the PHIL 101 Spring 2016 Dr. Pamela Hood Short Paper #1 Pg. 2 reasons or rationale for his view, are only implied or suggested, you’ll need to let the reader know this. As thoroughly as possible, articulate those reasons yourself on behalf of the author. Be sure that you are able to support every single reason or rationale you present. Adequate support starts with textual evidence. Ask yourself, “Where in the text does the author mention or discuss the topic? How does the author make his case? What are the essential elements of his position? What sorts of things does he assume? What’s his overall mindset about the issue? How and why are these essential aspects of his position related to your discussion of the issue? Remember: just because the author talks about X, that doesn’t mean that X is at all relevant to his position on this particular issue or that it is relevant to your presentation of his view. The important thing is that you be able to express the reasons, justification, or rationale the author has for holding the particular view about either issue (a), (b), or (c). Step 5: After you’ve done Step 4 for BOTH authors, it ought to be really easy to compare and contrast their views. Do they agree or disagree? If so, how so? If you have space feel free to let the reader know whose position you agree with or whose position you believe has the most merit.

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