BROCK UNIVERSITY • DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY • 2014-2015
PHIL 1F94 - Introduction to Philosophy: Problems
Essay 2: Existentialism
Evaluation: 20% of final grade
Length: 1400-1500 words
Due: After uploading to Assignment2 students are required to hand in a hard copy of their essays at the beginning of their seminars on March 10, 2015. Late papers will be penalized 3% per day.
Students must write this essay in order to complete this course with a passing grade.
Choose 1 essay topic from the following list of 16:
Write an essay which explicates and evaluates some of the central claims in Sartre’s “Existentialism” (the first essay of Existentialism and Human ...view middle of the document...
6. What does Nietzsche mean when he says that modern European culture (and extending this, our own current culture) is a culture of nihilism or a herd culture? On what basis does Nietzsche make this diagnosis? Is he right? If so, argue for how his diagnosis is sound. If he is wrong, why he wrong?
7. What is Nietzsche’s unique contribution to thinking about ethics? Write an essay which critically considers the notion of genealogy and outlines Nietzsche’s genealogy of our current values.
8. According to Nietzsche, what is the origin of “evil”? Write an essay which explains the origin of evil according to Nietzsche. If Nietzsche is wrong about this origin, in which ways is he wrong and why? If he is right, defend him. Any arguments must be given on philosophical grounds.
9. Write an essay in which you explain Nietzsche’s “revaluation of values.” What is this revaluation as Nietzsche explains it in The Genealogy of Morals? What does such a revaluation say about Nietzsche’s version of reality? Consider critically.
Write an essay which considers and evaluates some of the unique philosophical contributions of the Buddha. For example:
9. In light of our discussions of existentialism, consider the Buddha’s claim that “Man is his own master….One is one’s own refuge” (Rahula, p. 1). Drawing on the thought of the Buddha, in what way can this fundamental claim be read as an existentialist credo?
10. On p. 42 of our text, Rahula poses the popular question: “If there is no Self, no Atman, who realizes Nirvana?” Write an essay organized around answering this question. In order to do so you must give an account of what it is that we are if we are not a self. Be sure to include a discussion of the five aggregates (skandhas) and of suffering (dukkha.) Is this position regarding the self an accurate one? Critically evaluate.
11. The first noble truth is that of dukkha or suffering. Write an essay in which you give an account of the meaning of dukkha and how it arises. What is the Buddhist solution to this suffering? Is the Buddhist solution a good one? Why, or why not?
You may choose to write an essay which focuses on a particular philosophical theme or problem using two or three of the thinkers that we have read in this section of our course (Sartre, Nietzsche and the Buddha). Consider the following:
12. Existentialist Ethics: Providing an...