Philosophy Reading Analysis (The Enchiridion/The Handbook by Epictetus)

Philosophy 100 Reading Analysis Assignment Question: Epictetus writes: “What disturbs men’s mind is not events but their judgment on events. For instance, death is nothing dreadful or else Socrates would have thought it so. No, the only thing dreadful abut it is men’s judgment that it is dreadful. And so when we are hindered, or disturbed, or distressed, let us never lay the blame on others, but on ourselves, that is, on our own judgments.  To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education; to accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun; to accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete” (p. 660).   In your assignment explicate this passage, being sure to draw on and include at least 3 other passages (though you are welcome to use as many as you wish)  in The Enchiridion to support your interpretation of the passage.   What does it mean to explicate a passage?  This clear short summary of what it is comes from philosopher Robert Burch:  “To explicate means literally to “fold out.” The task is to unfold the meaning of the passage in context and to come to some assessment of its importance and its truth. What this assignment is not: This assignment is not a standard essay assignment where you begin with a thesis statement, provide a series of arguments in defense of it, and finish with a summary statement or reiterating conclusion. What this assignment really is: Basically, this assignment is a matter of writing down in an organized and explicit way your actual process of critical reading. Your task is to demonstrate in the assignment how in your own reading of the text, you make sense of the passage in question and how you come to terms with it. Your assignment will be judged on the basis of the depth, coherence, thoroughness and insight of the reading that it provides. The first concern of your assignment is simply to show that you have read the particular passage in question and understand what is being said in it. Second, you should look to add to this meaning by situating the passage in the larger context of the text, ultimately with a view to the role it plays both in the immediate discussion in which it is found and with respect to the broader purposes and main argument of the text as a whole. Third, you should try to come to some overall conclusion or assessment of the passage being considered.”  Details: Your assignment should be 2-3 pages. This page limit does NOT include an additional reference page.  Assignments over 3 pages will be penalized 10%.   It should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, normal font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman), and submitted via Blackboard in MSWord or PDF format.   Late penalty:  10% per 24 hr period.  See syllabus for more information on this.  No external sources beyond the course material are required to complete this assignment, but you are welcome to use them, if they are properly cited with in-text citations (whether taking an idea, paraphrasing, or direct quoting).  Please use MLA style for all your citations.   Book: Epictetus “The Handbook.” Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Gen. ed. Steven M. Cahn. 6th ed. 2018,  pp. 658-674.

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Given that this is a take-home exam, the questions on this exam will require higher-order thinking skills, that you’ve been cultivating through close careful reading of texts, and your practice thinking through and writing out questions posted each week for live session, rather than simple regurgitation of material. You have all your course materials available to you, so you want to show off how well you’ve synthesized the material, your critical thinking skills that you’ve developed, and depth of thought. These are not research questions, and don’t require anything beyond the course materials and the power of your own mind. If you’ve been keeping up with the material, this shouldn’t take you too long to finish. Instructions: No external sources beyond the course material (readings and the content posted) are to be used to complete this midterm. Your exam submission should be a maximum of 2 pages double-spaced. You need to answer all 4 questions below within this page limit, so make good judgments about how long to spend on each questions, being sure to spend more time on the 2 longer response as they are worth more than the short answer.). This page limit does NOT include an additional works cited page, which you will need to have, as you will be needing to cite your readings in your responses at times. Exams over 4 pages will be penalized 10%. It should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, normal font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman), and submitted via Blackboard in PDF format. Please use MLA style for all your in-text citations. How to submit your exam via Blackboard: Go to the main page for the course on Blackboard, Click on Course Content. Find the folder at the top called “Assignments, Exams, Essays”. Click on this. Click on “Midterm Exam”. You will then see a box at the bottom that says “Attach Files”. Attach your midterm as a PDF. And then press “Submit”. I believe you’ll get a notification telling you that it was successfully submitted, so be sure you look out for this. Be mindful that technology can fail, so don’t leave it up to the last minute to submit your exam. Submit it a bit earlier in case you have to resubmit due to glitches. Late penalty: 10% per 24 hr period. See syllabus for more information on this. Given that this is an exam, I will be happy to answer questions about the questions themselves, if you don’t understand what they mean. However, I will not answer questions about the material the exam is based on once you start the exam. As mentioned, live session and office hours are the times to be sure you understand the theories and the readings, ask question, bounce off your ideas and arguments to questions I post, and ask me for help in clarifying anything. Important reminders: • No point form. You must use complete sentences to demonstrate understanding and your ability to communicate at a university level. • Answer all parts of the question and label your responses, accordingly (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4). Don’t put the exam question in your exam. Just respond to the questions. • Avoid fill your responses with fluff and padding that’s completely unrelated to the question asked. You want to show you understand what is relevant and what is not relevant to giving a robust answer to the questions. A helpful thing to remember is that everyone starts off equally with 0% on the midterm and then it’s up to you to earn the grade you want. So put in as much effort as you can to show off your skills! In other words, you have to let what you know show! Do your best and have faith in your abilities ����. Questions Total /30 Remember: These are not essay questions. Just dive right into your response! You must answer all 4 questions below. 3. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS: It might be argued that there are some interesting points of connection between Epictetus’s Stoicism, and Buddhist philosophy. Draw out 2 commonalities between Epictetus’ Stoicism, and Buddhist philosophy, explaining what 2 features you see as similar between theories, being sure to also explain clearly how the features you select manifest in each of the two theories. In your response you must make use of and refer to the readings by both Epictetus and Gowans, by citing (quoting, using in-text citations) textual evidence (from the readings) to back up your claims. 4. ARGUMENTATION: Taylor and Wolf have different views about the criteria for a meaningful life. Do you think Taylor or Wolf offers a better view, in terms of the criterion for a meaningful life? Offer one well-defended argument for your view. How might someone object to your argument? How might you reply showing why your argument still stands? Tips for Q4: • First, think about what they each argue. Next, think about the disadvantages and advantages of each position they take on the criteria for a meaningful life. Then, think about which you think is more persuasive and why given your evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages. Then you’re ready to start writing your response! • You will obviously need to refer to both Taylor and Wolf in your argument to make it clear why one is more persuasive to you than the other, because it makes no sense to only discuss one of them when you have to show why one is more persuasive than the other. • Remember that your arguments must be well-defended! (Note: Each part of that argumentative back and forth—your initial argument, the counter, your reply—is an argument). • You are welcome to cite parts of the readings in your response. • Your response should be organized into 3 paragraphs, with proper connecting topic sentences: 1) your initial argument; 2) your counter argument or objection; 3) your reply showing why your position can withstand the counter argument and is still more persuasive.

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