Essay Instructions: FINAL PAPER
The Enlightenment was an age of optimism. The philosophes believed that they lived in a law-abiding universe whose deepest truths could be discovered through the scientific method. They believed that natural law governs human life just as it does the cosmos, and that among the moral and political truths that reason and science demonstrate is the principle that all human beings are born with the same natural rights. But we live in a skeptical age. Because of the ideas of thoughtful critics and because of the horrors of the past two centuries, many of us no longer share the philosophes' confidence. In a double-spaced printed and stapled paper of about three pages, compare the ideas of the Enlightenment with those of some of its critics by answering two of the following questions as specifically as possible in a brief essay. Please answer each question and each sub-question separately, taking care to identify your answers by number and letter.
1. The philosophes believed that moral values and the value of life itself are enshrined in natural law and that therefore the best way to discover them is to use the scientific method.
a. How did the romantics' view of nature differ from that of the philosophes? In what ways does William Wordsworth's poem, "The Tables Turned," express this romantic outlook? (Although we emailed the poem to you, we have also put it on the third page of this assignment.) According to romantics like Wordsworth, how was the meaning of life to be found?
b. In Existentialism is a Humanism, how did Jean-Paul Sartre argue that our moral values should be found?
c. What political and cultural developments helped shape Sartre's philosophy?
2. Like John Locke, the philosophes believed that human beings would flourish once government protected their right to life, liberty, and property.
a. In The Communist Manifesto, how did Karl Marx criticize individual freedom as it was practiced in bourgeois society? How did Marx believe that a truly free society could be established?
b. What were the problems of his day that Marx was trying to address?
c. What similarities can you find between Marx's criticism of the bourgeois view of freedom and what Edmund Burke said about natural rights in Reflections on the Revolution in France?
3. The philosophes believed that the laws of nature grant all human beings the same rights.
a. In Mein Kampf, how did Hitler describe the natural laws governing human society? In what ways was Hitler's political philosophy similar to that of Social Darwinists such as Karl Pearson?
b. According to Hitler, how did Jews threaten the survival of civilization?
c. Why did a growing number of Germans support Hitler and the Nazi Party in the years leading up to his appointment as chancellor?
Please study these rules carefully and follow them faithfully in writing your essay and your videotape paper:
1. Answer the questions. This may seem obvious, but keep in mind that you are presenting an argument, not writing an encyclopedia article or merely listing facts. Do not offer undigested gobs of information of the sort that you will find in Wikipedia. If you offer introductory or concluding remarks, make sure that they are accurate and to the point. Cite only those facts that are relevant to the questions that I asked. Your notes, the textbook, and the primary source readings have all the information you need. Do not use any other sources.
2. Write simply and directly. Proofread your work carefully. Your spelling and grammar should be impeccable. This means no sentence fragments, no run-on sentences, and no plurals formed with an apostrophe (e.g., two soldier’s). Murky prose, bad grammar, and consistently poor spelling will lower your grade.
3. Avoid what I call dangling pronouns. If, for example, you write “In Voltaire’s book he says," it is not clear who “he” is. Instead write something like: “In his book, Voltaire says.”
4. Avoid long convoluted sentences. Do not use many words when a few will suffice. Do not use words you do not understand.
5. In most cases avoid the passive voice. “Many people believed” is more compelling than “It was believed by many people.”
6. Beware of broad generalizations. Remember that not all socialists or all existentialists, or all the members of any group believed exactly the same things. Phrases such as “throughout history” usually indicate sloppy thinking.
7. Your paper must be in your own words. Of course, you may paraphrase the textbook and you may quote whatever sources you choose. But when you use someone else’s words or ideas, be sure to cite your source in a footnote or an endnote even if that source is the textbook. That way, credit is given where credit is due. Be sure to use the form found in Kate A. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. You will find a brief summary at http://library.duke.edu/research/citing/within/turabian.html. The correct form for citing a book is: author's name, title in italics, name or number of edition if other than the first, place of publication, date of publication, and page numbers; e.g., Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization: A Brief History, 7th ed. (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2010), 35. If you cite the book again, all you need do is give the author's name and the page number. To cite one of the excerpts from the collection of primary sources that we emailed to you, use this form: author's name, title of the excerpt in quotation marks, Primary Sources in italics, and the page number; e.g., Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf," Primary Sources, 36. To cite the Wordsworth poem, simply write William Wordsworth, "The Tables Turned." Plagiarism, the use of another’s words with intent to deceive, is a serious offense. If you plagiarize, you will receive a failing grade and I may refer suspected cases to the honor board.
8. Your paper should be printed in a twelve-point font, double-spaced throughout (no extra spaces between paragraphs), with one-inch margins
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