essay. philosophy

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Philosophy is committed to inquiring into the reasons for our beliefs.

This commitment seems to engender, very naturally, a commitment to the idea that doing so is good for us and constitutes the essential component of our well-being. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” states Socrates.

The philosophers we have studied this semester differ on the nature of the universe, how to describe it, and what knowledge of it consists of — but they all agree that Philosophy amounts to taking care of one’s self. If it is possible for humans to be happy, it must be a happiness that is proper to our stature as rational beings, that makes the best use of our capabilities, and develops our potentials to the fullest.

Question

How does ancient philosophy help us to practice care of the self? How are we to define ‘the good life’, in this highest sense, and what activities are necessary for realizing it? Examine how the ancient philosophers we have studied (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus and other Stoics) contribute to our understanding of all that is involved in self-careand its relationship to true happiness. Which philosopher provides the strongest or most convincing definition of the human condition and the nature of wisdom, in your view? Overview their contributions to this question and assess their value for modern people in the 21st century. Why are their philosophies still relevant on this question?

Instructions:

Your essay should be from 1500-2000 words, and include the perspectives of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. This assignment is meant to allow you to make some general observations and comparisons — there is enough room to provide each philosopher’s justification for his position, but avoid digressing into other topics that are not necessary for the question. Take a position and explain why one of these philosophers is more ‘right’ by making an argument about human nature and the needs of our society today. For the final section on the relevance of these ancient philosophers today, be sure to provide an argument that supports your opinion.

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization

8.0 to >7.0 pts

Good

Clear and precise thesis placed in an introductory paragraph stating purpose and significance of the assigned question; position evident throughout essay that is internally consistent and leads naturally to a conclusion that demonstrates a precise plan and argument that is easy to follow; no digressions, unnecessary components, ambiguous language, or grammatical/spelling errors.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Material is organized but demonstrates a general or specific lack of clarity, precise thesis, purpose, consistency, or natural order of presentation.

5.0 to >4.0 pts

Marginal

Significant organizational problems or vagueness of thesis cause difficulty discerning the argument being made.

4.0 to >0 pts

Unacceptable

No discernible thesis or order of presentation.

8.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeScholarship (Socrates)

4.0 to >3.5 pts

Excellent

Philosopher’s position and arguments presented with precision, contrasted with others where necessary, and supported with citations when appropriate or particularly illustrative. No question-begging gaps in explication or vagueness.

3.5 to >3.0 pts

Good

Relatively clear explication of philosopher’s position that could nevertheless benefit from more explanation, evidence, or use of major concepts.

3.0 to >2.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Philosopher’s position is presented; some truth, some vagueness and possibly erroneous interpretation; lack of support or consistency when presenting and applying philosopher’s ideas in other parts of the essay.

2.0 to >0 pts

Unacceptable

Philosopher’s position is misidentified or missing completely.

4.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeScholarship (Plato)

4.0 to >3.5 pts

Full Marks

Philosopher’s position and arguments presented with precision, contrasted with others where necessary, and supported with citations when appropriate or particularly illustrative. No question-begging gaps in explication or vagueness.

3.5 to >3.0 pts

Good

Relatively clear explication of philosopher’s position that could nevertheless benefit from more explanation, evidence, or use of major concepts.

3.0 to >2.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Philosopher’s position is presented; some truth, some vagueness and possibly erroneous interpretation; lack of support or consistency when presenting and applying philosopher’s ideas in other parts of the essay.

2.0 to >0 pts

Unacceptable

Philosopher’s position is misidentified or missing completely.

4.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeScholarship (Aristotle)

4.0 to >3.5 pts

Excellent

Philosopher’s position and arguments presented with precision, contrasted with others where necessary, and supported with citations when appropriate or particularly illustrative. No question-begging gaps in explication or vagueness.

3.5 to >3.0 pts

Good

Relatively clear explication of philosopher’s position that could nevertheless benefit from more explanation, evidence, or use of major concepts.

3.0 to >2.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Philosopher’s position is presented; some truth, some vagueness and possibly erroneous interpretation; lack of support or consistency when presenting and applying philosopher’s ideas in other parts of the essay.

2.0 to >0 pts

Unacceptable

Philosopher’s position is misidentified or missing completely.

4.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeScholarship (Stoics)

4.0 to >3.5 pts

Excellent

Philosopher’s position and arguments presented with precision, contrasted with others where necessary, and supported with citations when appropriate or particularly illustrative. No question-begging gaps in explication or vagueness.

3.5 to >3.0 pts

Good

Relatively clear explication of philosopher’s position that could nevertheless benefit from more explanation, evidence, or use of major concepts.

3.0 to >2.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Philosopher’s position is presented; some truth, some vagueness and possibly erroneous interpretation; lack of support or consistency when presenting and applying philosopher’s ideas in other parts of the essay.

2.0 to >0 pts

Unacceptable

Philosopher’s position is misidentified or missing completely.

4.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeInsight

8.0 to >7.5 pts

Excellent

Presents an novel thesis and argument that demonstrates original insight and generates new questions or angles of interpreting the subject matter.

7.5 to >7.0 pts

Good

Presents somewhat creative arguments or illustrations for an already extant position on the subject matter.

7.0 to >0 pts

Acceptable

Provides a clear articulation of the question and how the assigned philosophers contribute unique angles of interpretation of it.

8.0 pts

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