So, as the title suggests, I need to write three philosophy papers in four days. They are of varying lengths, and I need to pick from the list of topics available to me.
There are tons of prompts to choose from, and many of them are really interesting. I really shouldn’t be having any issues finding something to talk about, because all the paper topics are fascinating.
A few of my prompts:
1) How much difference should it make if the person who undergoes some kind of direct harm is a consenting adult? Can we draw a line between harm done to consenting adults that is the business of no one other than the participants, and harm done to consenting adults that should be morally censured and perhaps legally forbidden?
2) Does the government have the right to ban incendiary speech when there is clear and present danger?
3) If life and death are two equal parts of the same endless changing progress of nature, as Chuang Tzu claims, do we have any reason to take care of our lives so that we can stay alive as long as possible?
The problem, therefore, lies not in what to write about, but how to write it all. I am going to admit here that I have not done any of the readings for this semester. I repeat– any. I have been diligent about going to class, and I take copious amounts of notes, but the reading has just slipped by.
I actually regret not doing the reading too. The books are fascinating. We read The Analects of Confucius and Mill’s On Liberty, among other interesting things. I would have loved to have the time to read and learn from some of the eastern world’s most influential minds.
But when push comes to shove, reading a chapter from the Dhamapada (Buddhism) is going to be more of a hinder than a help. I could spend that time reading a chapter in my accounting or microeconomics books, for example.
So now I’m left with the almost-impossible task (at least it feels that way) of writing three papers on fascinating topics without knowing the material well enough to argue anything intelligently.
Side Note: I made the mistake of going to my T.A. for help on my papers last week. In my defense, I came to the meeting prepared. I had written out numerous outlines for various prompts, and I wanted him to let me know if I was on the right track with my ideas.
But I had forgotten that Thursday was the attractive T.A.’s office hours. So I go in and as luck would have it, none of my outlines are on the right track at all. He tries to be helpful and steer me the right direction by discussing the ideas in the prompts with me.
But of course, I can’t think philosophically (or logically) the entire time because every time I look at the kid, I lose my train of thought. Seriously, it was terrible. Normally I would consider myself a fairly clear-headed individual, but I’ve never failed so miserably in my life to sound articulate and intelligent. Oh well. With my luck, he’s probably married anyway.