PHL 1010 – Summer 2021

Critical Thinking “Jury” Paper (100 points)

Overview & Purpose:

Philosophy has been called “the great conversation.” Inspired by that idea, this paper will require you to use your critical

thinking skills in order to analyze one modern philosopher by putting him “on trial” before the “jury” of Socrates, Plato,

and/or Aristotle. What would these ancient Greek philosophers have to say about a later philosopher’s ideas?

You can write this paper as a traditional five paragraph essay or you can choose to write a “creative writing” style of

paper in which the philosophers appear as characters in a story or dialogue/play. You can even make yourself a character

in your story/play.

Getting Started:

1. Select one paper topic from the approved list (see below).

2. Select an ancient Greek philosophical judge/jury (see below; your choices are limited by your topic). You must
choose at least one Greek philosopher (Socrates, Plato, and/or Aristotle) to serve as a “judge” or “jury member” in

your paper, but depending on your topic and preference, you could also choose to include the others.

3. Select only one modern philosopher to go “on trial” before your ancient Greek judge or jury (see below; your
choices are limited by your topic).

Paper Topics:

1. What is the relationship between the body and the mind? [Week 11-12]

Ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates (Plato’s Apology); Plato (Republic – Allegory of the Cave and/or Republic –

on justice and happiness)

Modern philosopher: Descartes (Meditations I, II, and VI) or John Searle (“Can Computers Think?”)

2. Do happiness and the virtuous/moral life go together (if so, in what way)? Why or why not? [Week 13-14]

Ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates (Plato’s Apology); Plato (Republic – on justice and happiness); Aristotle

(Nicomachean Ethics)

Modern philosopher: Immanuel Kant (Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals and

“On a Supposed Right to Lie From Altruistic Motives”) or John Stuart Mill (Excerpts from Utilitarianism)

3. Do we always have to obey the laws of our society? Why or why not? [Week 15]

Ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates (Plato’s Apology); Plato (Republic – on justice and happiness)

Modern philosopher: Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae on law) or Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Letter from a

Birmingham Jail”)

Format, Citations, Works Cited:

• Name, Date, PHL 1010, and “Critical Thinking Jury Paper” should all appear at the top left-hand side of your paper.

• The text of the paper should be in a classic size 12 font and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

• The paper must include quotes from the relevant assigned readings to support your analysis and explanation of the
philosophers’ ideas, accompanied by in-text citations. The assigned readings you reference in your paper will

depend on which topic and philosophers you have chosen to write about. For instance, if you select

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