The Meaning of Being Human

Over the course of this semester, we have been introduced to the thought of a number of different thinkers and their respective view of what it means to be human. The course began by examining the thought of Plato, but then moved through the thought of St. Augustine, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Each of these thinkers had their unique idea of the human being. For this final writing assignment, I would like us to think how recent events concerning COVID 19 and social justice movements such as Black Live Matter have tested these ideas and either confirmed or revealed the shortcomings of each. In short, what have these recent events shown us about human nature?
The central aim of this essay is for you to work from your own experiences of living through this pandemic and/or protests and articulate what this experience has taught you about human nature and the meaning of human existence. As if often the case, times of crisis can reveal aspects about being human that we may not have previously recognized or that were not immediately present. I would encourage you in this essay to explore specific examples you may have had to experiences you have learned through other sources such as the news or social media.
In addition to working from your own experiences, you are to choose two of the thinkers from the course and develop clearly what their view of the human being. Using these different views, you are to show which thinker has best captured what it means to be human, particularly that meaning revealed in such a time of crisis. You are welcome to disagree with all thinkers, show how aspects of their thought are compelling, and ways that their thought ought to be revised. The central point is to use these thinkers as a means by which to better understand your own experiences and what these experiences have taught you about human existence.
Your paper should have at least the following sections:
1. Introductory paragraph: In this paragraph you should have a clear thesis stating the main point you wish to make regarding the meaning of the human being and how this relates to the two thinkers you have chosen from the course.
2. Review of Two Thinkers: This section of the paper should serve as the explication what each thinker believes the meaning of the human being is and the reasons why. It is crucial that you provide arguments in support of each.
3. Your View: For this section, you are to describe your experience of living through this pandemic and what it has taught you about being human. As is the case with the section above, you need to provide reasons in support of your position.
4. Concluding Remarks: For this final section, you are to show how your view relates to the thought of the other thinkers and what this means in terms of the accuracy of their thought. This should ultimately work to defend the thesis you stated in the introductory paragraph.

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