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The essay component of the exam will require to to write one critical essay. You will be given a choice of two potential essay questions but you will only be required to answer one.

Your essay should be in the same format we reviewed in class. It should contain:

  • a brief introduction and thesis statement
  • adequate exposition with the definition of any relevant terms
  • an objection
  • a reply to the objection
  • (an argument that the objection fails if you are arguing against the philosopher)
  • and a brief conclusion.

For the purposes of this exam your objection does not need to be original. You may draw on any material from class or outside of class, but please cite this material in some way, e.g. (Picard 2020), (I read this on a blog, I can’t remember who wrote it).

note: I originally planned to offer a 4th essay question, but have decided against it in order to lighten the study load on students.

Essay study questions (2 of the 3 following questions will be on the exam. You will be required to answer one of the two).

• 1. Robot warfare: Purves, Jenkins and Strawser argue that we should we ban autonomous weapons systems on the battlefield. What is their argument for this conclusion (note, they provide two arguments, you only need to provide and evaluate one)? Is their argument convincing? Why or why not? (relevant reading: Purves, Jenkins & Strawser)

• 2. Immortality: Bernard Williams argues that an immortal life would be intolerable because it would inevitably lead to pervasive boredom. Bortolotti and Nagasawa argue that pervasive boredom is not an inevitable consequence of the immortal life. How do they argue for this conclusion against Williams? Is their argument convincing? Why or why not? (relevant reading: Bortolotti & Nagasawa)

• 3. Animal minds/problem of other minds: Andrews (p. 9) provides an argument from analogy in favour of animals having minds. What is the argument? Is it convincing? Why or why not? (relevant reading: Andrews)