Final Journal Project

| December 10, 2015

Final Journal Project
Introduction to Philosophy

Instructions:

Reread all your journal reflections, and write an 8-10 page paper in which you describe your maturation in thinking about two major issues covered in this course. In the final part of your paper, provide a general reflection on the examined life. Your paper should be divided into three parts.
Part 1: Issue #1
In this part of the journal, you will discuss your first chosen issue. Please do the following (preferably in this order).

1. Briefly introduce the reader to your chosen issue. Then, discuss how this issue is important to you. In what ways is the issue relevant to your fundamental beliefs about the world, your place in it, or who you are? (Think carefully about this.)

2. Describe your view on the issue coming into this class. Then, discuss how you came to this view. Feel free to share personal experiences, influential figures (e.g., parents, teachers, friends, pop culture icons, pastors, authors, intellectuals, etc.) that have shaped your view.

3. Discuss how your view has changed over the semester. If your view has not changed, discuss how it has evolved – perhaps it has become more mature, more nuanced, more informed, more detailed, more articulate, more assured, less assured, etc. In your response, you are encouraged to give mention to specific readings, lectures, discussions from class, reading reflections, and/or journal entries behind this evolution.

4. The 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill once wrote: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

In the spirit of this quote, describe the greatest challenge or objection to your view on the chosen topic. Then, respond to the challenge or objection to the best of your ability.
Part 2: Issue #2
In this part of the journal, you will discuss your second chosen issue. Please do the following (preferably in this order).

1. Briefly introduce the reader to your chosen issue. Then, discuss how this issue is important to you. In what ways is the issue relevant to your fundamental beliefs about the world, your place in it, or who you are? (Think carefully about this.)

2. Describe your view on the issue coming into this class. Then, discuss how you came to this view. Feel free to share personal experiences, influential figures (e.g., parents, teachers, friends, pop culture icons, pastors, novels, etc.) that have shaped your view.

3. Discuss how your view has changed over the semester. If your view has not changed, discuss how it has evolved – perhaps it has become more mature, more nuanced, more informed, more detailed, more articulate, more assured, less assured, etc. In your response, you are encouraged to give mention to specific readings, lectures, discussions from class, reading reflections, and/or journal entries behind this evolution.

4. The 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill once wrote: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

In the spirit of this quote, describe the greatest challenge or objection to your view on the chosen topic. Then, respond to the challenge or objection to the best of your ability.
Part 3: Reflection on the “examined life”
In this part of the assignment, reflect on and answer in detail the following questions. You are encouraged to refer to specific thoughts or quotes from your journal reflections to supplement your responses.

• What are things (e.g., thoughts, emotions, etc.) you have experienced as you contemplated these philosophical issues? Confusion? Happiness? Discomfort? Frustration? Enlightenment?

• It is not uncommon that students leave the class with more confusion than clarity. By “confusion”, I do not mean a lack of understanding of the concepts. I mean instead the feeling of being pulled in several directions and not knowing where to side. I mean the feeling of a seesaw mind that sides with one position only to hear an opposing position and siding with that.

Is it worthwhile to address these confusions, or are they better off ignored? If you choose to address them, they how will you do so? By what means will you shape your answer to these questions?

Format:

Your paper should take the following format.

I. Introduction
• Summarize the main points you will make in the paper

II. Part 1: Reflections on Issue #1

III. Part 2: Reflections on Issue #2

IV. Part 3: Reflections on your experience

V. Conclusion
• Wrap up discussion
List of Issues on Which You May Write:

• What is the value of philosophy?
• Whether the unexamined life is not worth living
• Whether you would rather live an examined or unexamined life
• Whether God exists
• Whether reason can prove the existence of God
• Whether the existence of evil gives reason to think God does not exist
• Whether the belief in God is rational
• Whether humans are naturally good or naturally evil
• Whether there is reason to be moral outside of the consequences of being caught
• Whether pleasure is the ultimate good
• Whether the rightness/wrongness of an act lies in the consequences or the motive
• Whether humans can have knowledge of anything
• Whether our senses can provide us with knowledge of the world
• Whether human have free will
• Whether the idea of personal identity is coherent
• Whether the humans are more than one substance (material and immaterial)
• Whether causal determinism is true
Grading:

The following rubric will be used to grade this assignment:
Poor
Average

Excels

Thoughtfulness

Responses are superficial

Paper presents itself as a product of little or no self-reflection

Responses may or may not make references to your reading and/or journal reflections

.
Responses may be developed, but more thought and effort is needed.

Paper presents itself as a product of some self-reflection

Responses make references to your reading and/or journal reflections

Responses demonstrate thoughtfulness, effort, and hints of profundity

Paper presents itself as a product of serious, genuine self-reflection

Responses make ample reference to your reading and/or journal reflections

Completeness
Addresses few to no requirements or questions in the prompt

May or may not meet the page minimum
Addresses most of the requirements and questions in the prompt

May or may not meet the page minimum
Addresses all of the requirements and questions in the prompt

Page minimum is met
Mechanics
Mechanical errors that detract from readability

Assignment may be replete with mechanical errors
Most sentences are well-constructed, though some may be incomplete, unclear, and/or not concise

Rules of grammar usage, spelling, and punctuation are followed for the most part, though there are some errors present

Sentences are complete, clear, concise, and error free

Rules of grammar usage, spelling, and punctuation are followed

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