Hobbes’s account of morality

Submit a 900-1100 word essay on only one of the following topics:

1.  Examine how Pojman relates Golding’s novel to Hobbes’s account of morality?  Using the three readings, demonstrate how “Flies” is a literary example of Hobbes’ theory in practice.  Fully develop.

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2.  Examine Captain Vere’s dilemma in Herman Melville’s Billy Budd situated within a focus on good and evil, right and wrong in decision-making.  See the possible sub-topics below to consider in brainstorming for and drafting your essay.  Focus in on two or three of the sub-topics; even one would suffice if you could effectively carve-up the larger topic into its more specific sub-topics or find relationships between topics; for example, it would be easy to associate military law and duty (deontology) and contrast that with moral sensibility, but that’s just one of many possibilities.

  • Military law
  • Moral sensibility
  •  Justice
  • Empathy
  • Duty
  • Fear
  • Motivating factors
  • Virtue: Truth/honesty
  • Consequences (consequentialism, utilitariarianism)
  • Fatalism (determinism)
  • Loyalty
  • The final draft of an essay on either topic will contain an introduction which effectively sets up the rest of the essay and states the main idea (thesis) at the end of the introduction.
  • Each supporting paragraph will begin with a topic sentence that introduces the topic of that paragraph.  Every sentence in a supporting paragraph will be tightly focused upon the topic introduced in the paragraph’s first sentence.
  • The essay will contain textual evidence from the readings to support its claims.  The evidence (examples) will be apt and succinct.  Do not use long quotations.
  • The evidence will be properly documented, including in-text citations and works cited, per MLA style (see the links provided in MLA Resources).
  • The essay will contain a conclusion which effectively reflects back upon the essay as a whole.
  • Note: In crafting the essays for this course, it is important that you both demonstrate having closely read and understood the readings in light of the subject matter of ethics; it is also important that you weigh-in with insight and analysis of the subject matter.  I do not simply want to see a regurgitation of what you read (although, I do want see some of that), but rather I want to see you weigh-in with some thoughts, inferences, implications, considerations, etc., as to what this means in our time for our society and for individuals.
  • The essay must be informative, thoughtful, insightful, well-considered, well-developed, and well-written.
  • Grammar, mechanics, and style all count: How you say what it is that you say is important; the two broad criteria–content and writing skills–work together to convey meaning and impart insight.
    • Find your own voice.
    • The answers are not in the back of the book, and I don’t have a solutions manual either.  The answers are on the pages assigned to be read and in your head–if you struggle hard enough to make sense of what you read and demonstrate some intellectual curiosity.  Use your writing to crystalize your thought.  That’s what multiple drafts are for.

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