What is philosophy? What is liberal education? How does studying philosophy cont

What is philosophy? What is liberal education? How does studying philosophy contribute to your liberal education? To address these questions, reflect on what you have learned in both parts of this course. What have you learned about the different ways in which philosophers approach the questions of what make life meaningful and what is the best form of government to live under? With which philosophers do you agree the most and with which philosophers do you disagree the most about these questions? Draw conclusions from your experience in our class this semester about what philosophy is and whether there is a value to studying it.
Checklist for success
Cite your sources properly. Essays without citations will receive 0 (zero) points.
In your essay, you must identify by name, and discuss least two philosophers whose views you have considered carefully. At least one of these philosophers must be one of the major thinkers from the second part of our course (Hobbes, Locke or Marx.) The other may be from any part of our course.
Draw your own conclusions about the questions in the prompt. Support your conclusions with reasons. Do not just say you agree or disagree. Explain why.
Your essay should begin with an appropriate narrow and informative thesis that explains the position you will take in the essay.
For example, this is an appropriate start: “Although Locke and Marx both make good points about the consequences of a political system with strong property rights, I agree more with Locke’s view that property rights are inalienable than with Marx’s claim that the belief in property rights is mere “ideology,” that serves the interests of people who can accumulate capital. In what follows, I will point out what I find right in each view, and draw the conclusion that studying philosophy has challenged me to reconsider the basis of my beliefs about the value of free enterprise.”
This is also appropriate: “I believe that I have learned more about the meaning of life from Karl Marx than Thomas Aquinas. In this essay, I will give my reasons for agreeing with Marx’s view that religious belief is “ideology” that serves the interests of the ruling class. I will also argue against Aquinas that in order to live the best life, it is not necessary to reach an end to all our questions and desires by knowing God. Like Betrand Russell, Marx was an atheist. I agree with both of them that the value of studying philosophy is that it frees our minds from dogmatism. For me, this includes being skeptical about religious beliefs.”
In contrast, this is NOT an appropriate start: “Philosophers say many interesting things about the meaning of life and about good government. It is up to each individual to decide what is the best view. …” Why is this NOT appropriate? No names of the philosophers to be discussed. No point of view taken. This opening is a set up for a rambling essay that makes no definite point.
Cite particular ideas from the readings for this course to support your reactions to the views of the philosophers. Since you are citing more than one source, use both the title and the margin numbers (or page numbers for readings without margin numbers.)
Your reflection should show your understanding of the primary source readings for our course. There is no credit for ideas taken from source other than our assigned readings from the class. Any part of a reflection that report ideas from other sources will be treated as if it were blank space. This reflection is about what the philosophers wrote and what you think and about nothing else.
Explain key ideas you have learned, and define special vocabulary in your own words. Organize your essay logically. Write in paragraphs. Follow the writing advice from the comments on your discussion posts.
Page limits: No less than 3 pages, and no more than 5 pages, typed double spaced, normal font.

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