Second Paper Topics
Philosophy 110 (951): Great Works
Please choose ONE of the following paper topics. Papers should be 4-6 pages
in length, due in class Wednesday, November 26. This
is the first day of Thanksgiving break, so feel free to turn your paper in
early if you wish. I am flexible about paper topics and length only if you discuss it with me first.
Rough drafts are strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. I will
be accepting rough drafts no later than Monday
at 12pm, November 24. Also, any drafts received
will only be accepted in person, in my office hours. No late papers will be
accepted. Electronic submissions required; additional hard copies optional.
Go here and here for some advice on writing
a philosophy paper. Please email me or talk to
me if you have any questions.
- What is the puzzle of change? Please lay it out carefully, explaining
in detail each of the propositions that compose the puzzle. Hinchliff claims
that rejecting Eternalism and embracing Presentism is the way out of the puzzle.
Explain what these views are and why he thinks this. Is Hinchliff right?
Why or why not? Discuss.
- Discuss McTaggart's argument for the unreality of time (n.b.: we did
not talk about this particular argument in class, only indirectly in our discussion
of 3Dism and 4Dism, and the distinction between A-theorists and B-theorists).
Make sure to define and describe the difference between an A-theorist about
time and a B-theorist about time. Do you think his argument is a good one?
Valid? Sound? Are there are any objections? Discuss.
- Summarize and describe Zimmerman's arguments in "The Privileged Present:
Defending an 'A-Theory' of Time". Make sure to discuss the difference between
the A-theorist and B-theorist on his view. Discuss the three A-theories of
time: the Growing Block View, the Spotlight View, and Presentism. Why does
Zimmerman prefer Presentism over the other views. Do you agree? Why or why
not? If you have room, explain one of the two objections against Presentism
to which Zimmerman responds. Do you think his response is a good one? Discuss.
- Explain either the puzzle of the Statue and the Clay, or Tib and Tibbles.
Why are these puzzles puzzles? How is a Temporal Parts view, as Sider lays
out in his "Temporal Parts" supposed to solve the puzzle? In describing the
Temporal Parts solution, be sure to explain (i) the three ways in which a
temporal parts theorist claims that space is analogous to time, and (ii) contrast
this view with at least one other (that was discussed either in the articles
or in class). Do you think this solution to the puzzle works? Why or why
- Discuss Hawthorne's article "Three-Dimensionalism vs. Four-Dimensionalism".
Define and discuss (in your own words) the principles (i)-(v). Discuss the
Spatiotemporalism view, and and at least one of the arguments against it.
Do you think that this argument is convincing? Why or why not? Does Sider's
Temporal Parts view fair better than Spatiotemporalism? Why or why not? Do
you think Hawthorne's 3D view is more successful than alternative views of
time? Why or why not? Discuss.
- Do you think time travel is possible? Make sure to address at least
some of the points in either the Lewis article or the Keller and Nelson one.
Do you think that your answer about time travel is dependent on a particular
view of time? Why or why not? Discuss.
- What is the problem of future contingents? Does the problem depend
on a certain view of time? Why or why not? Discuss.
- [Maybe one on Zeno's Paradox if we get to it.]
- Free-wheeling: write an awesome paper somehow related to things we
talked about in the second half of class. Incorporate at least one of the
reading assignments; address at least one argument. (Note: you should come
see me first to check that your paper is relevant enough for class purposes).
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Nov. 10, 2008
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