For this assignment, you are to ponder some reflection questions before listening to the lecture component. These questions aim to stimulate your thinking and focus your concentration on the topics to be explored in the lecture, as a means of provoking you into thinking philosophically while you attentively listen to the lecture. Your responses to these questions are also a means of preparing you to craft your final project for this course, where you will be asked to construct your own philosophical account of what it means to you to live a good life. There will be multiple topics, but do not respond to them all. Rather, pick one topic to respond to that catches your attention or that you otherwise find intriguing. After you have selected your topic, spend 10 minutes pondering the topic’s questions and recording your thoughts. The reason for there being multiple questions within a topic is to assist with developing a response that has depth. For this assignment, do not be concerned about the number of thoughts you have on the topic. Rather, you should be concerned with the quality of your thoughts. In assessing your response, the teaching team will look to see how clearly and precisely you articulate your beliefs and how deeply you explain the reasoning for and assumptions underlying your beliefs. Here are the topics for you to consider:
Topic #1: For those of us who believe social and cultural transformation is necessary, what is the best strategy for bringing about this goal? How are we to respond to the resistance to transformation by the masses desiring to keep the status quo? What shape and form does activism need to take to be successful? As you articulate your position, clearly explain your reasoning for your position, and if appropriate provide a concrete real-life example that illustrates your position.
Topic #2: With respect to living a good life, how important is the achievement of tranquility and peace of mind? Very important, or not important at all? When it comes to your way of life, your way of being in the world, what conditions and actions are necessary for obtaining tranquility and peace of mind? As you articulate your position, clearly explain your reasoning for your position, and if appropriate provide a concrete real-life example that illustrates your position.
Topic #3: What is the role of material possessions with respect to living a good life? How do material possessions contribute to our sense that we are flourishing as individuals, that our life has meaning? What kinds of material possessions are needed for happiness? Are there material possessions that many of us own that do not contribute to our well-being and happiness, and thus we could dispense with them? As you articulate your position, clearly explain your reasoning for your position, and if appropriate provide a concrete real-life example that illustrates your position.
Topic #4: Of the pain and suffering that you experience in life, how much of it do you think is brought on by your own biases, prejudices, and judgments towards other people, ideas, and events? Would you be better off dispensing with judgments of good and bad and preferences for certain things over other things? Or are your preferences and judgments, even if they bring about pain and suffering, still valuable to your pursuit of a good life? As you articulate your position, clearly explain your reasoning for your position, and if appropriate provide a concrete real-life example that illustrates your position.
There will be a total of 12 reflections; the two lowest scores will be dropped when calculating the final grade. This results in 10 reflections, each being worth 20 points or 2% of your final grade. 6 reflections will be graded as credit/no credit and 6 reflections will be graded according to the rubric. You will not know in advance which reflections will be graded credit/no credit and which reflections will be graded with the rubric; as such, reflections should be completed with the expectation that the rubric could be used.
Use the rubric below to ensure your reflection is complete.