Mosaic I (Fall 2008) - Paper #2

Write a paper on one of the topics below.

Topic #1

Evaluate Locke's third or fourth argument for private property rights. Consult the handout for the suggested details of the arguments. In order to evaluate an argument, you must first explain the argument. You must do more than merely copy the premises and conclusion from the handout. Explain what Locke is trying to prove. What is private property? Explain his argument. Provide textual evidence that he makes the argument. Then evaluate the argument. You can do this by asking questions such as: Could it be used to justify our right to own luxury goods or land? Could it be used to justify the right to inherit land from one's parents? Are all the premises true?

Topic #2

In Book V of the Iliad Athena puts into Diomedes heart his fathers heroic temper, thereby allowing him to temporarily dominate the fight. This is but one example of many where the gods are said to influence human action through, roughly, breathing inspiration. Is Diomedes' glory in battle something he should feel proud of? Why or why not? In the process of developing an answer to this question, I want you to explore both sides. Give some reasons why. Give some reasons why not. No matter your conclusion, you need to explain how Diomedes bravery (his "heroic temper") is different from and similar to cases where we don't attribute divine influence. Ultimately, I am not so much concerned with what the Greeks thought, than I am with the attitude we should adopt towards our own temperaments, and ultimately the actions to which we are disposed. (I am not asking you to do research into the Homeric notion of agency. In fact, I ask that you not do any research. It would take you off track. Again, I'm more interested in how we should think about bravery, than what the Greeks thought.)

Topic #3

In the first part of Utopia, More sets up a challenge for Raphael, and for anyone who claims that life without private property would be both possible and desirable. Raphael is tasked with the burden of showing that we have a false conception of human nature. Do you think that the vision of Utopia in book II is possible? Why or why not? If so, would it be desirable? Are the features that make it possible also those that make it undesirable? I want you to see if there are any undesirable features that could be removed without disrupting the society of Utopia--that is, without making a stable society without private property impossible. Are there any necessary features of such a society that ultimately make Utopia undesirable? (This question is fairly open. I do not want you to merely summarize the text. Please keeps quotes and summary to a minimum. I suggest that you pick a feature or two. Explain its purpose. And discuss whether it could be modified without disrupting Utopian society.)

Due Date

12/04 (Thursday)


The paper should be no more than 1,200 words. This is approximately 4 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font.


The paper must be typed. It should be double spaced. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read. Please follow the general paper and exam instructions under the "course documents / writing" section on Blackboard.


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the paper through TurnItIn via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. TurnItIn is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, Temple, and from all other universities that use the software.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment. The paper must be the product of your own work. This is not a group exercise.


Your paper should be clearly written, well-structured, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. It is practically impossible to get higher than a C if you start writing the night before the paper is due. The grading scale is as follows:

A = excellent

B = good

C = meets minimal expectations

D = bad

F = awful