Choose any two of the following three questions. Each answer must be 450-500 words long. Give thoughtful and thorough answers, by responding to all parts of the questions. Avoid unnecessary digressions or repetitions so that you do not run out of space. Edit your responses before you submit them. [ep-readerLloy p. 28-30] [Tolstoy chapter I to VIII]
50 points each
- Comment upon how Epicurean philosophy may be used to shine a critical lens upon and help change for the better one aspect of contemporary American culture (for e.g. you could consider our current ideas about friendship, or “American dream,” or the pursuit of pleasures, etc. Be imaginative!). [I recommend that before undertaking the Epicurean critique, at least one paragraph in your response be dedicated to a description of your chosen cultural trend, and the problematic implications of this trend for the individual and/or society today].
- Compare and contrast Schopenhauer and Epicurus on the following three issues: purpose of the human intellect; relationship between pleasure and pain; living in the present and the significance of the past and the future. With whom do you agree more and why? Justify your stance by giving thoughtful reasons (i.e., do not simply repeat your opinions on this matter, but back them up giving philosophical compelling reasons).
- Describe two important aspects of the inauthentic life of the main characters of Tolstoy’s novel. Comment upon how these two aspects are linked to an underlying fear of death. Next, explain the nature of Ivan Ilyich’s suffering once he finds out about his illness. What does he suffer from besides physical pain, and how does his torment unfold? Finally, discuss how Ivan achieves redemption, particularly by interpreting the following revelation at the end of the novel: “there was no more fear because there was no more death.” Explain what this statement means using Epicurus’s philosophy as a guide.
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