Example student work provided below is courtesy of MIT students and used with permission.
Due: Session 14
Your essay should address one of the following questions. Please type your essay (double-spaced). It should be between 3 and 5 pages. Make sure you clearly explain what you mean by the philosophical terms you discuss, and argue for your claims.
- Assess Horgan and Timmons' response to Boyd's version of synthetic naturalism. If you think Horgan and Timmons' response succeeds, say what you think it is about moral expressions like 'good' which makes them unfit for a Boyd-style synthetic naturalist theory. If you think Horgan and Timmons' response fails, say why you think they were misled by their argument.
- Are there any moral explanations of non-moral facts? Discuss the debate between Harman and Sturgeon on this topic. What is the upshot of the debate for the question of moral naturalism and moral non-naturalism?
- Assess of one Mackie's arguments for his "error theory". Make sure you consider and respond to possible objections from your dialectical opponents.
Sample Student Work
Due: Session 28
Please type your essay. It should be around 5 pages (double-spaced). Make sure you clearly explain what you mean by the philosophical terms you discuss, and argue for your claims.
Prompt: Your task is to write a paper assessing the outlook of one of the varieties of moral anti-realism that we discussed in class (error theory + moral fictionalism, moral relativism, moral non-cognitivism). The focus of your paper should be on one aspect of the view—do not try to do too much! Make sure you give arguments for your claims, and consider and respond to responses from your opponent. (For instance, you might assess error theory in light of whether moral fictionalism can provide an adequate account of why it is rational for us to 'carry on' in our moral practices in light of the thesis that all moral propositions are false.)