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In this first essay assignment, the task is to develop a philosophical argument. You have encountered different examples of such arguments in the texts and lectures that you studied for this class.

The basic idea of a philosophical essay is to explore an important question concerning some fundamental philosophical issue, and then develop an approach that allows you to answer the question, or at least develop a stance that addresses the issue in a way that gives you a better understanding of its importance. In this first paper, the question is about the role of ethics for living a good life. The background readings and lectures for this Module develop what a philosophical ethics attempts to accomplish. The ethical philosophies discussed in this Module give you specific perspectives and arguments why an ethical approach to your life would provide you with a good life.

The idea of this essay is to make sure that you understand the project of a philosophical ethic and also show that you can discuss it in a philosophical manner. For this reason, the assignment entails that you write

  • An introductory section where you define the basic point of a philosophical ethic
  • Develop the most basic features of the virtue ethics of Aristotle
  • Show why for Aristotle the ethical life constitutes the best venue to realize the good life for human agents
  • Use one of the two subsequently introduced ethical theoriesEpicureanism and Stoicismas a comparative perspective vis–vis Aristotles ethics
  • Give a final brief assessment of why we may think that the ethical life constitutes the good life


The paper should be 500 – 750 words. Please write no less and no more, as this also educates you in being sufficiently articulated and concise (i.e. not too short and not too long).

The files I provide below need to be cited in the essay. (Sophie’s World pg. 104-137)