The paper (4-6 pages long) is due Wed., Mar. 16, in my office, Gates-Blake 228, by 4:30pm. Gates-Blake is the building connected to Cobb. (The 4:30pm limit is mostly because Gates-Blake gets locked at some point in the evening.)
As usual: the below topics are suggestions. If you want to write on another topic, feel free to do so. It might be a good idea, however, in that case, to check with me and/or the writing intern first.
Note once again that the topics tend to have many sub-questions. You need not (and probably should not) try to answer all of them. (You certainly should not just answer them one after another in order--that would make a bad paper.) I put them there to suggest various directions for thinking about the topic, and in particular to head off superficial or excessively simple ways of thinking about it.
For all but one of the below topics, I expect you to discuss in some detail (1) Cervantes and (2) at least one of Leibniz and Descartes (focusing on the Meditations 2-4 and 6, though you can use other things from him as well). To write a good paper you will probably have to mention some other things we've read, at least in passing. I don't recommend a paper only about one author, or which doesn't use Cervantes, or which uses Cervantes and Locke and/or Hume, but not Descartes and/or Leibniz. If you want to write about a topic which doesn't fit these guidelines, you should definitely check with me about it.
I don't expect any of these papers to use the ancient and medieval material from the beginning of this course. You're free to quote it if it seems useful, but I don't necessarily recommend trying that. On the other hand, if you can use traditional metaphysical terminology--and use it correctly--in your discussion of the early modern authors, that might well be helpful. (But this doesn't mean: try to get in as much Aristotelian terminology as you can for extra credit. It means: use it if and when it enables you state your point more clearly or concisely.)
As usual, the intent of the paper is to discuss the views or attitudes manifested in the reading, rather than your own opinions on the topic. That is: you should ideally come up with something interesting and original to say (not mere summary), but it should something interesting and original about what our authors and/or their characters mean. (In particular: I don't expect or encourage you to reach a judgment about whether what they say is correct or not.)
If you're using the editions I ordered, you can refer to the readings just by giving the page number. If you use a different edition and/or some other source, please give at least enough bibliographical information that I can find it if necessary. There's no need for a separate bibliography or title page.