Term Paper Assignment: Aristotle’s Ethics and Friendship

Assignment: Write an essay answering one of the following prompts. Your paper should have a clear thesis in its introduction and opening narration, which thesis must be supported by confirmatory arguments in the body paragraphs, in addition to a refutation of at least one opposing argument and a compelling conclusion. Your paper must include citations from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and at least one of the provided excerpts from the list on the next page . Citations to both sources should be made using footnotes according to the Chicago Manual of Style. If you wish, you may use an additional source of your own choosing, but you should get it approved by me first. Option 1 – Online Friendship: The invention of the internet has opened new avenues for forming and maintaining human connections. There are websites that aim to foster business relationships, a plethora of dating websites and apps that promise to fulfill your romantic desires, and more generally, online resources geared, at least ostensibly, toward fostering friendships. Write an essay answering whether an online friendship can be a complete and virtuous friendship according to Aristotle’s division. Considering some of the following questions might help you to develop arguments to support your position. • What elements are necessary for the highest kind of friendship? Can these be achieved via the internet? • Are there advantages for friends that are near one another? Are these essential for the highest kind of friendship? • Would it make a difference if the two friends met online but then transitioned to a more traditional friendship? What if the two met in person and then continued communicating using the internet? • Does the specific functionality of different social media sites affect their ability to foster friendships? For example, could Facebook foster the highest kinds of friendships while Twitter could only foster pleasant friendships, or are both equally inadequate? Option 2 – Friends from Afar: It is one of life’s greatest misfortunes to have to part ways with a true friend. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that it feels as if we are losing that friend. Using Aristotle to support your argument, write an essay answering whether such long- distance friendships are actually able to be maintained. Considering some of the following questions might help you to develop arguments to support your position. • Does the type of friendship (useful, pleasant, or complete/virtuous) affect the outcome in this situation? • Is the friendship on hiatus while the two are separated? What does this mean? • What happens if one friend visits the other for a weekend? What happens if the two end up living in the same place again? Options for the Second Source (I will provide this for you): Augustine, Confessions, Book IV.4-10 C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, Friendship Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Ch. 22-30 L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Chapter XII J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, end Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, Book II, Chapter 3 Citations You must cite every idea (including paraphrases – not just quotes) that is not original, and you must use proper citation formatting (Chicago/Turabian style). General footnote example: Author’s Name, Work Title, trans. Translator’s Name (Publication City: Publisher, Date), bk. #, ch. #, ##. [Not all of the above elements will be applicable in each case.] Particular footnote example: Socrates says his first accusers declare him “guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the earth.”1 But he also reports that he is supposed guilty of corrupting the young and of not believing in the city’s gods.2 General Writing Tips 1. This is not a research paper. You should be able to complete this assignment without consulting any additional sources. The primary goal of this assignment is to get you to think directly about the texts and the issues they raise. Paraphrasing or summarizing Internet sources or published commentaries is not acceptable. 2. Be clear and simple. Only use words whose meanings you actually know. Do not write sentences with lots of parts and phrases. Try to make your point as clearly as you can. It is better to be clear than eloquent. You are explaining an idea to me, not showing off your writing abilities. 3. Papers should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Cut the fluff. Your first paragraph should be an introduction that gets right to business. It should clearly state the thesis of your paper and your plan of attack. The following paragraphs should form a unified whole that argues for your position (confirmation) and against an opposing argument (refutation). The concluding paragraph sums things up and perhaps provides one last point or matter to think about. Try to avoid repeating the same information. 4. Do not tell me things that are not true or that you do not know to be true. For example, do not tell me that Aristotle’s treatment of politics was revolutionary and led to the formation of aristocracies, unless you know that this is true. Only cite something in your support if you know the exact passage that supports you. 5. Philosophy works through arguments and distinctions. When explaining a point, do not just hurl nice sounding phrases at me. Slow down. Spell out the train of thought that leads to the conclusion. Distinguish between different meanings of words and different aspects of ideas.