100 Essay Topics
All essays must be typed, double-spaced, and proofed.
Upon collection, the essays must be stapled together. Do not use a folder. Your
surname should appear on each page. Citations from a class text require only a pagination
reference, e.g., (Rachels, p 43). All outside materials will require a full
citation. You may choose your own format (e.g., Chicago, MLA etc.) Plagiarism results in a “0” grade on the
essay and a report to the Dean of Students. The required length per essay is 2
to 2 ½ pages.
1. What is the conflict between Stephen J. Gould and
James Rachels noted in the introduction to Rachels’s book? In your view, is
naturalistic evolution and religion compatible? Please argue for your position
and clearly define your terms.
2. Give a succinct summary of Rachels’s theory of moral
individualism and how it differs from what he calls “traditional morality”.
This summary should be no more than 1 ½ pages. How might a proponent of this
theory address the question of affirmative action in the form of set-asides for
underrepresented minorities in a university?
3. If you lived in a society like Gattaca and you
were planning to have children, would you use the existing biotechnology to
alter your offspring’s genetic “blueprint” or would you choose as Vincent’s
parents did? Provide arguments to support your position.
1. Defend or criticize: Regarding happiness, John Stewart
Mill famously quipped that it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig
satisfied. Would Nettle agree with this statement? Do you?
2. Imagine the perfect pleasure machine that
could simulate any human experience, good or bad. Would you choose to spend a
year of your life in this machine if you could choose the simulated experiences?
Of course once in the machine, the simulations would seem real.