In module three of this course, you explored several views of what gives meaning to our lives. In particular, Susan Wolf presents the view that life can only have meaning if we are actively engaged in projects of worth. She provides several examples of both active engagement and projects of worth to demonstrate ways that we might be involved in activities that do not engage us even if they have worth, and cases where we are actively engaged but the projects are worthless.
For this essay, provide a clear summary—in your own words—of Wolf’s understanding of these two elements of a meaningful life. After summarizing Wolf’s position, provide original examples of three cases:
A life with active engagement but without a project of worth
A life without active engagement but with a project of worth
A life with active engagement and a project of worth
In the final section of your essay, answer the following questions:
Are you convinced that Wolf’s view of a meaningful life is “correct” or the best for making sense of a meaningful life?
If you agree with Wolf, provide an example of how you see yourself actively engaged in a project of worth.
If you disagree with Wolf, what do you think is necessary for one to have a meaningful life?
This assignment requires you to use close reading skills along with a careful and clear presentation of an idea supported by evidence from the assigned texts. This aligns with the following course objectives:
“Analyze significant primary texts and works of art, pre-modern, and modern, as forms of cultural and creative expressions.”
“Frame a comparative context through which they can critically assess the ideas, forces, and values that have created the modern world.”
“Practice the critical and analytical methodologies of the Humanities.”
Here are the recommended steps:
Reread your notes and/or the primary texts to be used (Wolf).
Develop a clear account of Wolf’s view of active engagement in projects of worth.
Summarize how Wolf explains a meaningful life (the first set of questions above).
Draft a clear and concise introduction to your essay including a thesis statement that responds to the questions listed above.
Take the summaries from steps 2 and 3 above and write them into complete paragraphs.
Consider Wolf’s account of a meaningful life and check to see if it fits with your idea of a meaningful life.
Write a paragraph stating your answer to step 6.
Reread, edit, and correct your draft—I recommend that you print the draft and edit it with pen in hand. I also suggest that you have a friend read the essay before you submit the final essay.
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