University of Pittsburgh, Spring Term 1998
Philosophy 0300: Introduction to Ethics
Monday/Wednesday writing recitations
Ben Eggleston, recitation instructor

Paper Assignment no. 2

1. Write an essay of about 4 pages on the following topic. Your essay should make ample use of the relevant text, not only representing the author’s views accurately, but also citing and interpreting specific passages where appropriate. It should also go into as much depth and detail as an essay of about 4 pages can. Finally, your essay should conform to the instructions provided in “Guidelines for Writing a Philosophy Paper.” Your paper will be due at the beginning of your recitation section on Wednesday, February 18.

One of Aristotle’s aims in the Nichomachean Ethics is to clarifiy the nature of eudaimonia (commonly translated as “happiness,” or “flourishing,” or “well-being”). One of his distinctive beliefs about eudaimonia is that a person can be mistaken about whether he or she is actually in a state of eudaimonia or not. Is this belief right? Argue for or against this claim, incorporating into your discussion reasons found in or near at least three of the following four passages:

If you argue for the claim, explain how the passages you choose to discuss support it. If you argue against it, explain how the passages you choose to discuss might seem to support the claim, and how you would rebut them. In either case, you are welcome and, in fact, encouraged to appeal to reasons discussed in other parts of the Ethics and, possibly, reasons not discussed in the Ethics at all.

2. Along with this paper, turn in the graded copy of your first paper. Your second paper’s grade will be influenced, in part, by how well you respond to the advice given in my comments on your first paper, and I need to see those comments in order to judge this.