人文科学代写 Humanities 201   First Essay Assignment


Humanities 201   First Essay Assignment

人文科学代写 Anyone has these rights no matter how wrong, how ignorant, how stupid he may be….[W]e ought to take great care not to confuse [the

Due Date:  As promised, for your first essay there is a choice of topics and due dates.  The first eight topics concern On the Waterfront or the trial of Socrates; the last four draw on our study of the Plato chapter in GTE.  The two due dates reflect the order in which we will have studied this material.  I like you to have as much control over your work schedules as possible; therefore, the choice.  If you choose to write on one of topics 1-8 your paper will be due on Monday, September 20, while papers on topics 9-12 are due Monday, September 27, after we have completed our week’s study of Plato.  Early papers will be welcomed but the penalty for late papers is one full grade off for each calendar day late.


Format:  Use 12-point font, double-spaced with decent margins all around.

All papers should have a title, numbered pages, your name, and the date.  While this assignment is not designed to be a research paper, outside sources are, of course, acceptable, so long as they are meticulously cited in the way you learned in Rhetoric last year.  Plagiarism is punished with a zero for the assignment.

During the pandemic, I received all papers in electronic form and I thought I’d continue the practice, even if it means a lot more time in front of a screen.  So, before the end of the day the paper is due, email me your paper (wex@bu.edu) as a Microsoft Word document (no pdfs or other formats, please). I will return the papers with comments as I grade them via email.


Length:  Every essay makes a promise it ought to be substantial enough to fulfill.  Logically then, the length of what you write will be determined by what you promise and how much you have to say.  However, to prevent undue insecurity, I recommend a length between 4 and 6 pages.


Topics due by Monday, September 20  人文科学代写


1.Write a Platonic dialogue of your own. One speaker is a citizen of Athens who served as a member of the Assembly in 399 B.C. and voted to convict Socrates.  It is twenty years later and he is explaining the trial and justifying his position to his son.  This child, however, is a student at Plato’s Academy and therefore accustomed to hearing Socrates highly praised.  He is also well schooled in posing probing, even infuriating Socratic questions.  If you wish, you may choose to make the father the one who uses Socratic Method on the son.  Consider all you have learned about the trial and its context and do your best to emulate Socrates’ method of cross-examination.


2.Write a dialogue updating the Crito. Suppose a young person is about to be drafted into a war he or she opposes as unwise and unjust. There are three options:  going to war, going to jail, or fleeing the country.  A friend comes to this person and argues for fleeing to Canada or Sweden.  The young draftee is like Socrates, the friend like Crito.  They debate the issue.  Both conflicts (the young draftee’s and Socrates’) involve a collision between duty to the law or state and the values of personal ethics or family welfare. How would the debate go?  What would the Socratic draftee do, and why?


3.Terry Malloy goes through a compressed but considerable moral development in On the Waterfront. Where does this growth begin and why? Show how each stage is dramatized with the examination of a specific scene. What crucial choices does Terry make and, in each instance, how is he influenced by others?  How would you say his choices at each stage are a function of his sense of himself?  What values do these choices reflect? Where does Terry end up?


4.If you are intrigued by the film as a work of self-justification by its director and screenwriter for giving names to the House Un-American Activities Committee, write an essay on how effectively the film does justify their choice. How good is the analogy between Terry’s testimony and theirs? Is it always right to cooperate with the authorities and, if not, why not?  You might want to conduct a bit of research on the times, or on the feud between Kazan and Arthur Miller, if you choose this topic.  人文科学代写


5.Write an essay on the “villains” of On the Waterfront, who are also moral agents. Early in the film Johnny Friendly has a speech giving his view of life and justifying his brutality. Terry’s brother Charley in several places explains his position on moral matters.  Do Friendly and Charley differ and, if so, how?  How are their views of life and their experiences causes of their choices?  How would you describe their moral ideas?  Is either character worthy of our sympathy, or both, and, if so, why?


6.On the Waterfront as a description of a society, specifically of American society in the middle of the last century. The film is about workers, labor unions, and those who negotiate with or control them. Does the film convey a coherent social or political message, something broader than just an analogy to justify Kazan’s and Schulberg’s testimony?  Does it effectively link social and economic issues about money and power to moral ones about right and wrong?

What kind of values does the film seem to endorse?  Is it really an attack on “collectivism” and an ode to “moral individualism” as some critics have claimed or is it more complicated than that?  You might consider applying some of the methods of social analysis you studied in Social Science 101 to the film.


7.We discussed the idea that a moral decision is only difficult when it is a choice between two goods and two bads. Write an essay on the theme of moral dilemmas and choice in the film focusing on all the principal characters, not just Terry but also Edie, Father Barry, Charley, and Johnny Friendly. All of these people undergo changes based on their choices in the course of the film.  What are the principles and values on which they act or which draw them in another direction?  How do their backgrounds and experiences condition these choices – or how do they overcome these conditions to act as they do.  After your analysis, draw any conclusions you think are justified.


8.This is a topic for those interested in cinematic art. Write an essay on the construction of On the Waterfront, the choices made by its director regarding, for example, cinematography (e.g., camera angles, cross-cutting, long-shots, close-ups, etc.), lighting, the blocking of scenes (who is where and why), the disposition and use of props as visual symbols, the integration of Bernstein’s music, why and where the acting strikes you as particularly effective.

You might want to consider the distinguished and influential place of this film in American film history or you might choose to focus on a few crucial scenes.  I’d still like this paper to include some account of the moral force of the film, without which it would not have had the influence it clearly has enjoyed; but the emphasis here would be on how this force is generated by the filmmaker’s art.


Topics Due by Monday, September 27


9.Another Platonic dialogue. For this topic, your model is the Plato chapter in GTE. The situation is that you are a premedical student.  It is the night before a crucial biochemistry examination on which it is essential to do well to get into medical school.  You have been off studying at the library.  When you get back to your apartment, your two roommates, premeds like yourself, are drinking beer, eating pizza, watching TV.  They tell you that they have devised a perfect plan for cheating on the exam.  The plan really is foolproof; there’s no chance of getting caught.  Nevertheless, you refuse to go along.  They try to convince you to do so by using the ideas of the Sophists, while you try to dissuade them from cheating by using the arguments and also the methods of Socrates.


10.The key institutions of any democratic form of government are electoral politics, the jury system, a mass medium, and public education. Plato is a critic of Athenian democracy and therefore of the Athenian versions of these institutions, though he prudently implies his criticisms rather than directly attacking them.  By giving an alternative in his Republic and also in “Apology”.

How does he treat jury trials, for instance, the kind of education given to all who could pay by the Sophists, the mass medium of the drama?  How persuasive and relevant are these criticisms in our time?  Can democrats learn something useful from his criticisms?  Are there indeed problems with today’s mass media, jury trials, public education, and electoral politics?  Would you defend democracy against some or all of Plato’s arguments?  If so, what is your defense?


11.During the early years of the Cold War, the philosopher Karl Popper wrote an influential book called The Open Society and Its Enemies. The first such enemy he analyzed was Plato. Write an essay supposing you are a citizen of the former Soviet Union or Mao’s Peoples’ Republic of China who is analyzing Plato’s political ideas. What are these ideas?  What seems to you good and bad about his ideal republic?  In what specific respects do Lenin’s or Mao’s ideas resemble Plato’s?  How does Plato’s ideal state differ from American society?  Would you care to live in Plato’s Republic?  Do you believe we should be striving to achieve something like it or should all efforts to impose high idealism on actual human beings be avoided?  人文科学代写


12.Platonic Elitism and the Views of John R. Silber. Below are some selected passages from an essay written by the late President Emeritus and Chancellor of Boston University. It is titled “Elitism a Principle Essential to Quality of Life,” (Boston Globe, 9/21/76, p 21) published while President Silber was defending himself against petitions by deans, faculty, and students that he be replaced.  The key complaint about him was that he was tyrannical and there is reason to believe that President Silber saw himself as a philosopher-king.

His academic field was, in fact, ethical philosophy.  In view of our examination of Plato’s ethics and their political implications, I thought someone might enjoy relating the views of the founder of the first Academy to those of the man who guided ours for more than a quarter of a century. Explain the similarities and differences between Silber’s and Plato’s views.  Don’t avoid difficulties.  For example, consider how each thinker determines just who the aristoi or “elite” happen to be and, indeed, what “elitism” means.

Consider if, as President Silber says, universities and other social institutions should not and cannot be “democratic” in character, why he says governments ought to be.  Would Plato agree with this?  Consider closely Silber’s analogy of the surgeon and the patient—what does it mean?  How does it affect the definition of “elitism”?  Does this analogy apply well to a university or is it misleading?  Finally, answer the question of whether, based on these remarks, John Silber is a Platonist or not and justify your answer.


“No principle is more fundamental to democracy than that everyone has a right to his own opinion and that everyone has a right to express it.

Anyone has these rights no matter how wrong, how ignorant, how stupid he may be….[W]e ought to take great care not to confuse [the principle of free speech] with a counterfeit version that maintains that anyone’s opinion is as great as any other’s….Democracy freed from a counterfeit and ultimately destructive egalitarianism provides a society in which the wisest, the best, and the most dedicated assume positions of leadership.

The members of a legislature, of a city council, or of a school board ought to be chosen by democratic process and no other way.  人文科学代写

But the persons elected to these offices ought to be better than average.  They ought ideally to be the persons best qualified to hold office.  They ought to be better in their intellectual and moral capacity and in their commitment to hard work…. Democracy is…counterfeited by the claim that every institution in a democracy ought to be democratic.

That the government must be democratic follows from the principle that it derives its authority from the consent of the governed. But it does not follow that every institution within a democracy should be organized democratically.  In fact, most institutions ought to be run on an elitist basis… Rightly understood, there is nothing wrong with elitism; it is a principle essential to the quality of life.  Indeed, life itself may depend on it.

All would agree that the practice of surgery should be restricted to persons of extraordinary knowledge and skill… No one would give consent to be operated on by a surgeon who intended to poll those in the operating room before deciding on a procedure….  As long as intelligence is better than stupidity, knowledge than ignorance…no university can be run except on an elitist basis.”

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