Suggested Topics for Presentations
Major Theme: Discuss a
contemporary social/political issue by examining how this question/issue has been treated
in the history of Social and Political Philosophy. What can we learn from previous writers
that might help us better understand our own issues? Does contemporary society make it
necessary to re-think these classical/traditional views? Remember you should make your
presentation as focused as possible. This list should help get you started (Ill add
to this as the course progresses).
Remember: Your presentation/paper
should be a formal presentation where you analyze specific parts of the required readings
and any supplementary reading you do.
- Examine Platonic justice. Would Platos emphasis on unity work in our
multicultural and democratic society?
- Educational reforms in the Republic. What sorts of educational reforms do you
think are needed in our society?
- Censorship in the ideal city. Compare Platos views with your own
- Plato and Aristotles ideas on the family. Compare with contemporary issues
surrounding family life.
- Women and the draftPlato and today
- Compare Platos views on justice with Hobbes. What do they tell us about
- Is it ever just to disobey the law? Compare Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Hobbes
- What would Mill think about our right to freedom of speech? Would he think we
should censor pornography?
- Is Affirmative action justifiable or is it reverse discrimination?
- How would a utilitarian like Mill respond to the practice of euthanasia (assisted
- Discuss the causes of war according to Plato, Aristotle, and Hobbes. Compare to a
- Role of friendship in social life. What sorts of duties does Aristotle think we
have towards our friends? How would a utilitarian respond?