Go back to Assignment 1 and read through the reflection paper you wrote at the beginning of the semester. Now that we have examined a range of philosophical positions on some of the themes on which you reflected, have your views changed?
Consider, again, the following questions in light of the new knowledge you have acquired:
Have the national crises of the past months prompted you to examine your life and reflect on what makes a good life?
What is the purpose and significance of a university education in your life? Is online education just as valuable as face-to-face education?
What is happiness, and what is necessary to achieve it? Does a meaningful life require happiness?
Protests against police violence as well as the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis have raised questions about solidarity and allyship, at the same time as we’re seeing unprecedented levels of partisan political divide. What is the role of friendship in this moment? What does it mean to love our enemies in these conditions?
What kinds of work are essential in our society? Should essential workers be paid more? In what ways does the loss of work affect our life?
What is the role of faith in the good life and in political struggles?
The last few months have caused but also revealed a lot of suffering, both at an individual and collective level. Is there any value to this suffering? What might we learn from it? Why is suffering so unevenly distributed in our society? Whose responsibility is it to end suffering?
What matters anyway, given that we’re hurtling towards climate catastrophe and planetary destruction?
Here is why I want you to do this:
Reflecting on these questions will help you…
identify and articulate your current views about key issues we will examine in this course
track whether, and how, your views have changed since the beginning of the semester
prepare for your final assignment
Here is how to do it:
You can complete this assignment in one of two ways:
1. Write a reflection paper in which you consider the same questions you considered in Assignment 1. You can additionally address any other questions.
Your reflection paper should be ca. 1,000 words.
You should write in the first person and draw on your personal experiences, but your paper should not simply be a stream of consciousness or “mind dump.” Organize your paper around the questions you chose or key themes that emerge from your reflection.
You should write your paper as a coherent text, rather than a list of responses to the questions you chose.
Your paper should compare your current views with your earlier positions, describe any changes in your views, and explain why such changes occurred.
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