See Week 2 Phil 2131 Cua Philosophical Concepts

See Week 2 Phil 2131 Cua Philosophical Concepts

See Week 2 Phil 2131 Cua Philosophical Concepts

Assignment Description

Choose one of the following
topics and write a single-spaced essay of at least 2000 words. Your
introduction and conclusion, if any, should be no more than two
sentences each. I discourage you from doing any research beyond
extremely careful reading of the assigned texts. The goals of the
exercise are 1) to demonstrate a precise understanding of the texts we
have studied, and 2) to develop your ability to defend philosophical
positions with arguments of your own. You should make extensive use of
the texts by citing specific pages and, where appropriate, quoting.
Give citations whenever you refer to someone else’s idea. Use any
accepted citation format, but use it consistently. If you have any
questions, please contact me via email or visit my virtual office hours.


1. Dying
painfully is bad for the dying person as he dies. Losing a loved one is
bad for those who mourn the death. Anticipating one’s own death can
cause one emotional distress. These claims aren’t philosophically
controversial, so you can ignore them in what follows. Focus on the
interesting philosophical questions, such as the following. Is death
bad for the dead person, himself? In other words, is an individual ever
worse off because he has died? If so, why? Explain the divergent
positions of Epicurus, Frances Myrna Kamm, and Thomas Nagel on these
questions. Take a position on whether and why death is or isn’t bad for
the dead person. Defend that position against objections.

2. You receive the following email from your 30-year-old son:

Mom and Dad — If you’re reading this, then you’ll probably never hear
from me again. I’ve had a happy life so far, but I’ve decided how I
want to spend the rest of my days. I’ve been taking a wonderful new
prescription drug intravenously for the past six months. It’s entirely
safe and won’t shorten my natural lifespan (you can read about it in
medical journals if you wish). It’s extremely advanced (using nano-bots
or something). It gives me an extraordinarily diverse, pleasurable set
of experiences. I just lie in bed all day with a nutritional drip and a
bedpan, but the whole time I feel like I’m living the life of my
dreams. My live-in nurse empties the bedpan, exercises my muscles, and
looks out for me. I feel better than I’ve ever felt before. In fact, I
can’t imagine anyone feeling better than I do when this drug is flowing
into my bloodstream. Fortunately, my savings will pay for all of this
for the rest of my natural life. Before I started taking the drug, I
instructed my nurse to take me off of it briefly after the first six
months, just so I could be sure about my decision and write this final
email to you. But I can’t wait to get back in bed and on the drug
again. By the time you read this, I’ll already be there. Please don’t
try to stop me. I’m having a ball. You love me, so what more could you
want for me? Love, Your Son

and defend what you believe about your son’s decision, demonstrating
your command of value theory through careful use of the texts by Mill,
Nozick (see week 2), Shafer-Landau, and perhaps others assigned. Will
your son’s life taking the drug be more pleasurable than it would otherwise be? Will he will be happier than he would otherwise be? Will his life be better for him than it would otherwise be? Will his life be good for him
at all? Has he made a foolish choice, overall? Would you try to
dissuade him if you could? Explain your answers to these questions,
justifying your positions with arguments and considering objections to
your positions.

Formatting: Compose in 12pt, Arial, single spaced and submit in DOCX, DOC, RTF, or PDF.

Assigned Readings


  • (FE) The Fundamentals of Ethics
    • Introduction
    • Chs. 1-2
  • (EL) The Ethical Life
    • Ch. 1 Mill, “Hedonism”
    • Ch. 2 Nozick

Other Assigned Readings