The Concept of Nature
For this assignment, choose one of the prompts below.If you wish to propose a different idea or theme, please confirm with your recitation instructor first.
Write a brief essay on one of the following topics. You should aim to consider two or three of the works we read since we discussed the plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare. You may mention works by writers we read earlier in the semester, but more substantial consideration should be given to (at least two) works from the latter half of the syllabus.
We have appended a list of possible writers to engage for each topic, but these are suggestions only. You should feel free to consider writers other than those on this list.
1. Many of the writers we have read engage the concept of nature as foundational for asserting or denying the existence of gods or God. Consider this concept in its various significations in two or three writers from the latter part of the term. You might want to consider as a corollary of this topic the implications for the definition of the human implied by the concept of nature.Possible authors: Bacon, Earl of Rochester, Pascal, Spinoza, Hume, Tennyson, Nietzsche, Freud
2. The phenomenon of miracles was a flashpoint for debates between belief and unbelief in Western thought. In two or three of the figures we have read, consider the arguments for and against miracles. You might also want to consider in this connection the related concepts of magic and superstition. Possible authors: Bacon, Pascal, Spinoza, Bayle, Hume, Shelley
3. Unbelief ultimately means living without gods or God. Consider the question of “how to live” without gods or God in two or three of the authors we have read. What are the implications for morality of life without religious belief? Possible authors: Hobbes, Earl of Rochester, Spinoza, Hume, Shelley, Dostoevsky, Tennyson, Arnold, Nietzsche
We ask that you use MLA style for citations, including both in-text citations and a “works cited” at the end. Papers that do not use proper citation style or are not proofread will not be accepted.
At the end of your paper, you must write a brief one paragraph reflection in which you score your own paper based on the attached rubric, explain why you’ve chosen this score, and reflect on what you perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of your final paper.
The Concept of Nature
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