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Instructions for Third Reflection Paper

For your Third Reflection Paper you may write on any Prompt I have posted this semester (as long as you haven’t already written on that Prompt). This means you can answer any of the Prompts for the first two reflection papers or any of the Prompts for the Final Paper. Whatever Prompt you choose, it must be the usual two-page minimum, MLA format, with a reference page.

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My suggestion: You may want to write your Third Reflection Paper on the Final Paper Prompt that you have chosen for your Final Paper. If you choose this option, your Third Reflection Paper is basically a two-page rough draft or outline of your Final Paper.

1. Socrates – In your view, what was it about Socrates’ teachings that made him dangerous in the minds of the members of the ruling class of Athens; and what was it about his teachings that attracted his students to him?

2. Plato – Of his many ideas, which do you think has been his most influential, and why?

3. Aristotle – Share your own views on Aristotle’s break with Plato on the question of private property and wealth accumulation. Is Aristotle’s argument persuasive and superior? Or was it weak, and even dangerous?

4. Birth of Christianity as a Religion – Imagine the the Council of Nicaea ended with the Gospel of Mary being included in the New Testament. How might Western Civilization have developed differently if this book, and it’s suggestion the Jesus’ closest disciple, the one he revered the most, was actually a woman? Do you think we might have inherited a less misogynistic society in which women are treated more as equals?

7. The encomienda system used by the Spaniards to enslave the indigenous peoples of the New World, especially as practiced in Mexico, became controversial in Spain. Describe the encomienda system and the arguments used for and against it.

8. Describe why it is that many historians argue that King Henry VIII of England played a critical role in the rise of capitalism.

9. By the time Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, Europe had undergone a dramatic transformation from a feudal, largely agrarian society to an increasingly market-based commercial society. Discuss some of the more significant, transformative societal developments, and their implications, from 1492 to 1776.

10. Much has been written about the so-called “Adam Smith Problem;” the apparent dichotomy between his Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Discuss whether these two works are reconcilable with one another. Do they reflect two very different imaginations of humans? Do they suggest that the author changed his mind after writing the first book? Might they represent a more complex and unifiable imagination of who we are or can be?

11. The garment industry is the second-most polluting in the world. A significant amount of this pollution is from “fast fashion” “disposable” clothing; a business model that relies on people, including children, making clothes under conditions that we would consider intolerable. Psychologists and marketers alike agree that our buying and consumption is largely driven by psychological impulses of which we may not be fully conscious. Indeed, as experts posit in the film The True Cost, consuming more can have a negative effect on our psyche. What social, ethical, economic and/or philosophical issues are raised by The True Cost documentary? Why do we tolerate such a system?

12. Many people agree with Immanuel Kant’s argument that we should never treat other people as means to an end; we should treat each person as an end onto themselves. In my video on Kant’s Categorical Imperative, I argue that it is very difficult to imagine a capitalist system in which we don’t treat people as means. What does it mean to treat others as “ends onto themselves” and how can one practice capitalism while treating others as means and not ends?

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