Please choose one topic, but feel free to treat these topics as elastic. You may combine them or interpret them in special ways if it helps you to craft a more interesting thesis. You need not answer the question exactly as it is written.
1. Machiavelli asserts that the successful prince must be both man and beast — human, but also inhuman. He must be cruel, and also ready at all times to break his word. Is Machiavelli right? Are his views perhaps partly correct? Which parts of his outlook, if any, are defensible? Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses (Signet Classics) ISBN: 9780451527462
2. How strong is Raphaels case in Utopia against private property? Thomas More, Utopia (Norton) ISBN: 978-0393932461
3. To what extent do More and Machiavelli agree about the Renaissance state, and to what extent do they disagree?
4. How persuasive is Descartes’s claim to have discovered a method of reasoning that, at least for the 17th-century, is both new and useful? Descartes, Discourse on Method (Library of Liberal Arts) ISBN: 978-0023671609
Remember to organize your points around a specific thesis, which you defend with reasons and evidence, and to strive for clarity and concision. The ideal essay contains nothing irrelevant, and it should be more than a mere summary of the material. Instead, to be interesting, you need to try to prove something.
Along with suggested topics, phrased rather broadly, I have also mentioned some secondary readings, but consulting them is by no means required. Many excellent alternatives can be found in the library, and if you seek philosophical background, there are also many valuable online articles covering philosophical authors and topics, especially in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.