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FIU Introduction to Philosophy Discussion

introduction to Philosophy – Fall 2021

The Meaning of Life – Dialogue and Essay: Assignment and Rubric

First Part: Write a short philosophical dialogue of 250-500 words that critically engages with the question of the meaning of life.

  • Your dialogue should include at least two characters (it’s not a monologue!).
  • At least one of the characters should be a Unit 2 author (Tolstoy, Camus, Taylor, Wolf, Cahn, or Frankl). The other character(s) could be another author and/or a random person.
  • At some point in the dialogue, one of the characters must raise an objection (i.e., a doubt or concern) about that author’s conception of the meaning of life and that author should respond to it.

Second Part: Write an essay of 600-900 words answering the following questions:

  1. How do you understand the question of the meaning of life?
  2. What is your chosen author(s)’s answer to the question of the meaning of life? Use evidence from the course readings to support your analysis.
  3. Where in your dialogue does a character raise an objection to the author’s answer? What is the nature of the objection? Does the author successfully answer this objection?
  4. On the whole, do you agree or disagree with the author’s answer to the question of the meaning of life? Why or why not?

Assignment Goals:

Completing this essay will help you work towards Goals 1-4 of the course, which are:

  1. To understand core concepts in philosophy.
  2. To read arguments.
  3. To write clearly.
  4. To engage arguments critically.

  1. You should upload your paper through Canvas.
  2. If you would like to discuss your paper, I can meet with you during my regular office hours (Th 2-3:30 in DM 341-D) or by appointment.
  3. Please include a “Works Cited” section for the second part of the assignment. I reserve the right to dock up to 5 points for missing or incomplete “Works Cited” sections.


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