Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Possible Topics for Paper #4
Due: MONDAY, April 24
Choose one, and write 3-4 pages. (Please refer to your handout, “How to Write Philosophy Papers”)
1. What does Aristotle mean by “substance?” (Refer to the Categories, Physics and Metaphysics.)
2. Why does Aristotle say that in the case of living organisms, the formal, efficient, and final causes "amount to one" (198a25)? Explain in detail.
3. Unlike Plato, Aristotle says that many real things change. Discuss his account of substantial and accidental change.
4. Does final causality (teleology) have any value today, or is it a relic of the ancient world? If so what is it? If not, why not?
5. What is Aristotle's general characterization of a soul? Show how he steers a middle course between Platonic/Cartesian dualism and contemporary theories of human nature that would reduce us to purely material beings.
6. What is Aristotle's general account of the rational soul, and how we come to know? Be sure to explain what you take the Agent Intellect to be.
7. Why does Aristotle use the word "God" to refer to the prime mover? If God exists, and has the characteristics of Aristotle's prime mover, what should human religion be like?
8. Compare Plato’s Form of the Beautiful in the Symposium with Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover in the Metaphysics.
9. In Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that virtue should not be identified with emotions, nor with capacities, but with characteristics. Explain and evaluate his reasoning
10. How does Aristotle's conception of the supreme good for a human being fit with his claim in Metaphysics XII that the universe, including human beings, is organized so as to imitate God?
11. Give Aristotle’s definition of friendship, and describe some of the different kinds of friendship. Why are friends needed? Why is complete friendship rare?