Grading: This is graded on your understanding of the assigned readings and the lectures as well as on your ability to write in a clear and concise manner. You are neither required not encouraged to use sources other than the assigned readings and lecture slides.
Paper Prompts: Write on ONE of the following topics:
(1) Explain the Ship of Theseus paradox. Explain the transitivity of identity. Why can we not solve the paradox by imposing a threshold of how many parts may be changed (e.g., 5%) before a thing (e.g., a ship) isn’t the same any longer? How would you solve the Ship of Theseus paradox?
(2) Explain McTaggart’s distinction between an A-series and a B-series of time. Is McTaggart right in claiming that it is not merely a terminological distinction? Explain McTaggart’s thesis that the A-series involves a contradiction. What, if anything, is problematic about McTaggart’s argument to the effect that the A-series involves a contradiction?
(3) What is time travel? Explain the grandfather paradox. Explain David Lewis’s solution to the grandfather paradox. Do you find Lewis’s solution convincing and why?
(4) Explain the distinction between fatalism and causal determinism. Explain the argument for fatalism from foreknowledge. Suppose you were Osmo and you found the book describing your past and future life in a local library. Would it be rational for you adopt a fatalistic attitude and why? How, if at all, do you think that your situation differs from Osmo’s? Are those differences relevant to the question of whether you have free will?
(5) Explain the paradox of omnipotence. Which solution to the paradox of omnipotence do you find most convincing? Explain the solution. Explain why the solution of your choice is superior compared to competing solutions. Are they any problems with the solution of your choice and, if there are, how can they be dealt with?