Critical Analysis Essay
consider the following situation:
One day you and a good friend of yours are crossing Hooper Avenue. You are not looking where you are going, and you are run down by a cement truck. Your friend is so shocked that he or she drops dead from a massive stroke. But as luck has it, someone from the OCC psychology department rushes both bodies over to the nearby medical center for a dramatic emergency operation. It seems that although your body was destroyed in the accident, your head was not harmed at all. Since your friend has a perfectly healthy body, it seems that we might be able to save at least one of you, by putting your brain into your friend’s body. The doctor in charge said that we can do this by removing the upper 30% of your brain (the damaged part) and grafting on to the lower part of your friend’s brain. This way we do not have to attach the whole brain to the spine, and we do not have to worry about matching the hormones of the two people involved. You see, your friend is the opposite sex as you. So, if you are female, the top part of your brain is now attached to the bottom part of a man’s brain, which is sitting in a male body. If you are male, the situation is reversed. Thus, all portions of the brain responsible for producing hormones, (testosterone for the male body; estrogen for the female), have remained intact. The only part of the brain that was replaced was the portion responsible for consciousness, thought, memory, and, a sense of self. These are all the same that you possessed at the time of the accident. The philosophical question that we must now raise is, “Whom did we save?” You? Your friend? Or, did we create some new third person? For the time being, we will call this individual “Schwartz.” This name is not gender specific. And it does not bias our judgment, at the outset, in favor of any one conclusion in particular.
Two of your philosopher friends come into your room to visit you. Choose your two friends from any of the philosophers within Chapter 3. After a round of “Hellos” and “How are you feeling,” the three of you begin to discuss the following questions:
Who survived the operation?
Is “it” the “same” person who existed five minutes before the accident?
Is “it” the “same” person who will exist five years after the accident?
This situation is farfetched. But thinking about it forces us to ask questions about what the human “self” and a human “being” really are. Are we basically a mind, which is tied to such things as consciousness and memories? Are we a metaphysical soul, which exists separate from our body and our consciousness? Are we basically bodies, connected to instinct, hormones, and to all the various physical and material body processes? Are we products of culture, and thus tied to the way others see and judge us? Or, are we some sort of mixture of two or more of these things?
Your assignment is to write a two to three page paper (from 700 to 1000 words), which tells what happened in the conversation that you had with the two philosophers. Where did you agree; and where did you disagree?
Your paper should be organized into the four sections described below. Please use the section headings, Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four, within your paper.
Part One: Area of Philosophy. Write an introduction to your paper, which clearly identifies a general area of philosophy, within which the philosophical problem that you will be exploring can be found. Refer to Chapter One if you need to review these areas. Do you think that the question posed above place your discussion within Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, and/or Philosophy of Religion? Part one of your paper should be brief and concise. No more than 50 to 100 words maximum.
Part Two: Argument Analysis. Present the points of view, and the arguments supporting those views, from the two philosophers you have chosen to discuss these philosophical questions with you. Summarize and pick these arguments apart a little. What are the main premises of their arguments? Does they make any important assumptions? What evidence do they present that is factual and verifiable? And what evidence do they present that is more a matter of speculation and/or interpretation? In this section of your paper you are merely analyzing, or, picking apart the arguments. Do not draw any conclusions as to whether or not these arguments are valid and/or sound. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.
Part Three: Argument Evaluation. In this section present and defend some judgments about these arguments. Are these premises safe to accept? Are there any questionable assumptions made? If we do accept them do they take us logically to their conclusions? Your evaluation should make explicit use of concepts such as “assumption,” “soundness” and “validity,” as these are presented within Chapter One of the text. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.
Part Four: Conclusion. Draw your own interesting and relevant conclusions about the philosophical problem you are exploring. Do not merely offer a set of “feelings” or an “opinion.” Instead, build your own argument, regarding the questions above. If you find that you are in agreement with some of the philosopher’s ideas, then you can use these as part of your own argument, so long as you do not merely reiterate what they are saying. This part of your paper should be 300 words minimum.
Formatting the essay
Your essays should be single-spaced, with one-inch margins, and a 10-point Arial font.