Phil 156.101: Reasoning & Critical Thinking - Spring 2018 Paper 1
Due Date: Tuesday, March 6 (in class)
Write an argumentative essay of 2-3 pages (double-spaced) on one of the following prompts, answering all parts of the question. You are free to use any resources (in addition to the primary text(s)), but be sure to cite accordingly. I may award an A+ for an excellent paper that also convincingly applies rules/fallacies of deductive or inductive reasoning (either from our textbook, or from your own research). You are welcome to discuss a draft with me ahead of time.
i) Explain how Mill's 'harm principle' from the Introduction serves as the criterion to assess what and how much personal liberty should be allowed. Then critically assess any one argument in Chapter 2 (regarding the freedom to think and express opinions) in view of the harm principle. Is Mill loyal to the harm principle in that argument? Why/why not?
ii) Consider the overall argumentative structure and strategy of Chapter 1. Has Mill made an effective defense of the freedom to express opinions using this strategy, in addition to simply holding/thinking opinions? Why/why not? (consider counter-arguments and counter-examples).
iii) Mill's 'greatest happiness principle' (or 'doctrine of utility') holds that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong in proportion as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By 'happiness' is meant pleasure and the absence of pain; by 'unhappiness' is meant pain and the lack of pleasure"...