Ideas for a topic for philosophy senior thesis?

ravenvii

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Original poster
Mar 17, 2004
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Melenkurion Skyweir
I need to write up a senior thesis as a part of the requirements for my major in philosophy. But I need ideas on what to write on. I've got a few ideas, but it'll be hard to stretch out for 50 pages...

So anyone have a good idea that I can easily fill out 50 pages with? The topic needs to be philosophical in nature, naturally.
 

WithTea

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May 11, 2005
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Y'know. that's just about the broadest question you could have asked.

After, perhaps, "Why does windows suck?"

Think you could give us more to go on? What are you most interested in? What have you been studying?
 

OutThere

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Dec 19, 2002
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Sartrean Existentialism


:)

(Actually, it'd probably be really hard to fill 50 pages, but it'd be an awesome 50 pages.)
 

thedude110

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Jun 13, 2005
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Umm ... so, yeah. Do tell us more.

Who have you read? Who haven't you read? Who do you want to read in the next year?

What branch of philosophy draws you the most? Metaphysics? Ethics? Aesthetics? Are you one of those annoying epistemologists? And what era (i.e. are you hung up on Plato or Heidegger?)?

Are you writing philosophy? Are you writing a critique of a philosopher? Both?

What other interests do you bring to philosophy? Philosophy of the body? Of technology? Of the body in technology?

You say you need an idea, but don't forget that you need a question first.
 

clayj

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Jan 14, 2005
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visiting from downstream
Solipsism... the philosophy that only you are real, and that everyone and everything else is just stuff made up by your mind. Samuel Johnson's old disproof of solipsism, in which he kicked a rock and then said "I refute it thus", doesn't hold any water.
 

mcarnes

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Mar 14, 2004
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You can't pick a broad topic with philosophy, even if it is 50 pages. You'll be all over the place. What topics in philosophy interest you?

It's best if you find something, then attack it. Better then just reporting something (which is hard to do in phil anyway).

Kant is always and easy target. :p
 

ravenvii

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Original poster
Mar 17, 2004
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Melenkurion Skyweir
Well, some ideas I've been mulling about:


The one I've thought the most on is a thesis on a "platform" of morality to build on. Basically, I'm saying that Ethical Egoism is the moral theory that everyone should use, to build off. The justification, I believe, lies in skepticism - you can't be sure anything exists other than yourself. And thus, you, yourself, ARE more important than everyone else, and you should morally think of yourself first, then add in your beliefs, and modify your own moral theory accordingly. But the underlying theory lies with Ethical Egoism. Basically a Moral meets Epistemology thesis.

Another one is an ideal government. This one is a bit more vague, but basically I argue that pure democracy is not the best government for human progress, that we have much more potential than we have realized (well, obviously), and that we can accomplish much more if under one absolute ruler. The problem lies in if the absolute ruler is not benevolent, what then? That's what this thesis discusses.

I enjoy Metaphysics, and have thought about writing a paper on why Christianity, through Augustine and Aquinas and others, is appliable to metaphysics, and how it all works. Basically, the idea is to provide a philosophical view on how heaven and hell works, and why Jesus saved us all. This one would require me to play devil's advocate, since I reject Christianity as an religion. Can still be interesting, though.

Finally, on pure metaphysics, this one can be fun, but I'm afraid to visit this territory, because I can essentially pull **** out of my ass, and call it metaphysics - such as arguing that there is a giant teddy bear in the sky ruling over us.

Hope this helps.
 

thedude110

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2005
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Raven VII said:
Well, some ideas I've been mulling about:


The one I've thought the most on is a thesis on a "platform" of morality to build on. Basically, I'm saying that Ethical Egoism is the moral theory that everyone should use, to build off. The justification, I believe, lies in skepticism - you can't be sure anything exists other than yourself. And thus, you, yourself, ARE more important than everyone else, and you should morally think of yourself first, then add in your beliefs, and modify your own moral theory accordingly. But the underlying theory lies with Ethical Egoism. Basically a Moral meets Epistemology thesis.
You're working through a significant ethical intersection here, but why put the answer before the question? It seems to me that this "topic" gives you a guiding question for focused reading: "To what degree is ethical egoism ethical, and how is it more or less ethical than other systemic ethics?"

Have you read Emmanuel Levinas? Mid to late twentieth century ethicist who essentially argues the antithesis: that the self is hostage to the other (in whom the self finds traces of the "infinite"). Such an ethics thus calls for a vigilant responsibility toward the other and forces the self to ask the question "Is it righteous for me to be when my being essentially precludes others from occupying the space I occupy?" For Levinas, the self is always tyrannical and must be vigilant toward and against its tyranny. The self is never justified but always responsible (and the Holocaust is always implicit).

Your Cartesian gambit is interesting, but is it worn out? Does radical skepticism really find its end in the self? Levinas also roots his ethics in Descartes, but in a skepticism of ceasing radical skepticism in light of the "I" -- "The appropriate stopping place is not the I but the Other because the Other alone can say yes, while the I cannot."

Maybe that question -- "Does radical skepticism really find its end in the self (the 'I think'), and if not, how else can radical skepticism be resolved?"-- is another focusing question for your reading and thinking ;). It all sounds exciting, in any case -- I trust you'll keep us up to date? I'd love to see your reading list as you work through it ...
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2004
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Agent Smith said:
I'd like to know more about this giant teddy bear...:p
I would also like to hear more about this giant teddy bear you speak of.