Analyze Frankfurt’s Journal

Analyze Frankfurt’s Journal

Paper details:
read and analyze Frankfurt’s journal PDF about Personhood and answer questions in the Quiz Guideline document

Great Philosophical Questions

via Canvas only

Background:

Frankfurt presents an account of personhood that focuses on reflection and the tussle between levels of desires. He intends his account to explain personhood, moral responsibility, and free will. But as we saw, Frankfurt’s account has philosophical limitations (ethical and empirical) and unusual consequences. For example, non-ethical humans can be persons and persons can be non-ethical. Your general task is to accurately recreate, critically analyze, and apply philosophical theory. To provide a rich discussion you will be drawing on information from our units on moral responsibility (personhood) and moral dilemmas (e.g., happiness, hedonism, disgust, deontology, etc.).The details are unpacked below.

Your task:

In a well-organized essay with an introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion, draw on Frankfurt’s account of personhood as well as ethical theory presented in this course in order to arguean answer to the following question. What is sufficient for being a good person, and why?

Your argument should have these necessary features. These features should not merely be listed in the essay. Rather, they should be synthesized into a seamless discussion that supports a strong thesis. Again, your purpose is to use these necessary features to argue your point, rather than merely state your point.

Philosophical:

1)    Any Necessary Background information. Imagine that your reader has not read these philosophical texts. Make sure to prepare the reader with any necessary background information about any of the authors/views you discuss. For example, if you mention the death of Gregor Samsa in relation to personhood give us a bit of information about the conditions leading up to the death so that the reader has a better grasp on the example.

2)    Frankfurt’s concept of Personhood. You will have to draw on Frankfurt’s account of personhood. You are allowed to modify it, including adding more conditions or conditions that are already present in Frankfurt’s account. I would encourage at least a slight modification to account for the three criticisms we discussed in class.
Modification or no modification, you will have to argue why the conditions that you are drawing on for personhood provide an answer to the prompt. To make sure you unpack personhood properly see (3) and (4).

3)    Explanation of Frankfurt’s account of personhood, including the terminology that Frankfurt uses to describe persons and non-persons, and explanations in your own words, using your own examples about what Frankfurt’s terms mean. It is very important that your words are original and not merely a regurgitation of your notes. Paint an original picture of Frankfurt’s terms.

4)    Application of Frankfurt’s account to the characters in the Metamorphosis. Choose two characters in the Metamorphosis and analyze those characters in terms of Frankfurt’s account of personhood for the purpose of illustrating how personhood works. These analyzed examples should, of course, be relevant to the main thesis you are trying to present. In other words, it should not just be a separate and unrelated part of your discussion, but rather it should fit in to the overall picture.

5)    Ethical Principles. You will have to draw on at least two ethical principles that we discussed in our unit on moral dilemmas in order to support your main thesis about what makes a good person. Remember, since Frankfurt doesn’t give us conditions for what makes someone a “good” person, we have to draw on different philosophical theory in order to answer the question.

These ethical principles can be anything that we generated from our series of thought experiments that revealed important ethical concepts. You can draw on principles we learned by looking at our analyses of: happiness, the experience machine, moral repugnance, utilitarianism, deonotology, and the trolley problem.

6)    Explanation of ethical principles, including terminology and examples, should be in your own words. They should be as thorough as possible. For example, if you are citing the condition of ‘happiness’ make sure that you break it down into specific conditions. Then, illustrate those conditions.

7)    An argument about why your conditions are sufficient for being/making a good person. A philosophical theory works the same way as any theory. It should be adequate in explaining, understanding, predicting the world around us. Once we have it, it organizes things for us and “puts them in perspective”. So, make sure you explain why the conditions you’re synthesizing are adequate. What can they help us to explain, understand, and predict?

8)    Citations. Make sure to cite all relevant sources. You are allowed to use MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual of Style. You have to remain consistent. See the external document that I have posted about style on Canvas. For a really compact version of style, see https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ and search for any of the three styles to get the brief overview.

Journal of Philosophy, Inc.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
Author(s): Harry G. Frankfurt
Source: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan. 14, 1971), pp. 5-20
Published by: Journal of Philosophy, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2024717
Accessed: 02/02/2009 18:02
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