Philosophy 101: discuss.

Write a 3-5 page essay answering each of the three questions below. Use a 12pt. format. It is easiest, to determine the length, if you write it double-spaced in a Word program and then do a cut-n-paste into D2L.  Don’t worry if when you transfer it into D2L, your double-space turns into a single spaced format.  As long as you have paragraphs intact, that is what matters.

This is your original essay; therefore, it should not need any quotes or citations. Since these are your words, use “I” in your essay. However, any theory used from the book should be introduced by giving credit to the philosopher or philosophy (do not go outside of the textbook). For example:

John Stuart Mill says that happiness could be a lower happiness or a higher happiness. He argues that what distinguishes us as human is exercising a higher (quality) form of happiness.

Or: In Buddhism, “Ahimsa”–meaning doing no harm–is central to ethical action.

An essay usually begins with a thesis statement. This is where you state the question posed by your essay and how you will answer that question. For example:

The goal of life is to be happy while taking others into consideration and harming none.

This statement alerts your reader that the subject of your essay is happiness and that you will argue this point of view by discussing the relationship of happiness to ethics (consideration and do no harm). The essay can then proceed to an explanation of these elements.

If you follow the three points below, the essay should flow from beginning to the end. Your conclusion will come at the end of the second essay. You are free to create your own thesis statement, but your essay must include the following three points and it must be obvious which you are addressing.

Here are the three points that must be covered in the first essay:

1. Define “happiness” and doing no harm by doing the correct action. Explain that an action can be a “right” action or a “wrong” action, but both can be correct actions (think of Kant and Mill).
a. Explain what constitutes a “right action” in spite of inclination. Give an example          from your own life experience.
b. Explain a “wrong action” and give an example from your own life experience of    doing the wrong thing because it is sometimes for the greater good.
c. Did either of the actions above involve the realization of “hard” truths, a  situation where you were confronted with a reality you didn’t like or want to  accept?

2. Be sure to include how the two actions above relate to doing no harm (or Ahimsa).

3. How do the two actions in #1 reveal your moral relationship to others? What is your attitude towards others and what responsibilities do you have towards others? Give at least one example from your own life experiences to illustrate your answer.

Remember that this is an essay, so do not post the points as numbered “bullets.” Each of the three questions should transition into the next.

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