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: To what degree do you find yourself living in the present moment? To what degree do you find yourself sacrificing your present moments on the altar of a future moment? Are you waiting to live a future life as your current life passes you by each day? Are there ways you could you be making more of each present moment? Do you, either implicitly or explicitly, believe that your “real life” will start after you graduate from college, and thus in the meantime, you throw away days as if they were paper napkins? 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: What role do your desires, wishes, and aspirations for the future play in taking you away from appreciating the present moment? What role does regret and anxiety about the past play in taking you away from appreciating the present moment? In seeking to live a good life, how often and in which situations is it beneficial to have your mind be occupied by thoughts of the past and future? 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: When pondering what it means to be happy, what are your thoughts concerning the duration of happiness? Is happiness fleeting, something experienced on a moment to moment basis? Or is happiness an enduring state of mind, lasting days, months, and possibly years and even decades of our lives? Put another way using a common metaphor, is happiness the journey or is it the destination, a mountaintop reached after a strenuous climb? Given your sense of the duration of happiness, how is happiness acquired? In other words, how is fleeting happiness acquired in the present moment or how is enduring happiness acquired for an extended period of time? 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: When do you find yourself reflecting on your thoughts, decisions, actions, and choices? Do you do this by yourself or with other people? How often do you reflect on yourself? What sorts of thoughts, questions, and concerns typically arise in self-reflection? Does such self-reflection aid you in living a better life? Or does such self-reflection tend to be unproductive? 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 4% 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.