Phil 206-01:
Philosophy of Life and Death
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First Exam: The Good Life

Due March 18, 2010


Construct a focused philosophical essay concerning the nature and cultivation of "a good life." What makes a life valuable, meaningful, or worthwhile? What conditions and/or activities are required to develop and maintain a good life? Include substantial discussion of ideas presented in your texts as well as the videos we have watched in class. Pay special attention to: (i) similarities/differences between the views of Morrie Schwartz, Paul Pearsall, and Randy Pausch, (ii) concepts of ahonui, lokahi, 'olu'olu, ha'aha'a, akahai, 'ohana, pololei, and pono, and (iii) the values and expectations that you believe to be representative of our culture.

Your essay should be informed, articulate, and reflective. This means you must: (1) demonstrate understanding of the assigned reading, videos, etc., (2) analyze and evaluate those materials, and (3) express your own opinions, explore your own ideas, and draw your own conclusions.  You may discuss issues with classmates, but use standard considerations of friendship and academic integrity: if you use an insight or argument suggested by another person, reference the indebtedness. Outside sources are allowed, but neither expected nor required. Be sure to provide complete citations for all quotations. Remember that this essay serves as the primary basis for a grade concerning your understanding of and involvement in the issues that have occupied us for the first half of this course.

Length: 7-10 pages of text: typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins. For those who wish, papers may be submitted electronically (disk, jump drive or Email). Late papers will not be accepted without advance arrangement and adequate justification.

Required Sources:  
     Texts (primary): Tuesdays with Morrie, The Pleasure Prescription, and Ethical Issues in Death and Dying
     Videos (secondary):
The Mystery of Happiness, The Last Lecture, Winning, Anger in America, To Live Until You Die, and The Kevorkian File

Philosophy at Oneonta
Website constructed and maintained by
Douglas Shrader / Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy
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Posted: March 6, 2010