The Meaning of Lives by Susan Wolf, and Death by Thomas Nagel (Essay Sample)
In this paper, you will argue that you would, or would not, want to live forever. In doing so, discuss Susan Wolf's analysis of the meaning of life and Thomas Nagel's view on death.
For many of you, this is your first philosophy class. To give direction to your writing, this paper will be highly structured. I'll give you the outline of a great philosophy paper, and you fill it in with content. Assume that your reader knows nothing about philosophy. Write in a way that would make sense to a friend or roommate. Your paper should be concise and on point. Once you've written a draft, read each sentence in isolation and ask yourself “what does this contribute to the argument as a whole?” Maybe the sentence is already perfect, but more often than not a sentence can be tightened up or deleted entirely.
In the first paragraph, introduce the issue and state your thesis, all in four sentences or less. Space is limited, so you'll have to get to the point quickly!
In the second paragraph, describe Wolf's view on the meaning of life. Be sure to explain what she means by the meaning of life, where she believes meaning comes from, and why she holds this view.
In the third paragraph, give Nagel's argument for why death is bad. In doing so, explain his position and his reasons for believing it.
In the fourth paragraph, argue that you would, or would not, want to live forever. In your argument, explicitly consider the implications of Wolf and Nagel's views.
In the fifth paragraph, provide a brief conclusion.
In making your arguments, it will be useful to refer to lecture notes, online slides, “The Meaning of Lives” by Susan Wolf, and “Death” by Thomas Nagel.
Your essay should be 900-1,200 words (about 3-4 pages double spaced).
The file format must be a pdf or a word doc. Pages files and Google doc files will not be accepted.
Include in-text citations and a works cited page using MLA or APA formatting.
Do not use outside sources.
Late papers will be penalized 1/2 point per day, rounded up.
Once you've submitted your paper, review it to make sure you have uploaded the correct file.
Meaning of Life
Meaning of Life & Death According to Nagel and Wolf
People often try to find the meaning of life and death and their place in the world. These issues have been philosophically discussed by CITATION Nag70 \l 1033 (Nagel, 1970) and CITATION Sus07 \l 1033 (Wolf, 2007). Wolf discusses the meaning of life and what amounts to a meaningful life whilst Nagel discusses death deriving some of his arguments from deprivation theory. Through the insightful arguments they present, this essay attempts to show why life is meant to be enjoyed and why death is imminent.
CITATION Sus07 \l 1033 (Wolf, 2007), acknowledges that there is no universal perception or definition of ‘meaningful lives.' Her definition are based on what we perceive as self-interest and how Parfit's distinction of the three types of self-interest in terms of objective list, hedonistic theories and preference theories each lead to varied meanings of life. She points out that meaningfulness is an element or ingredient of a good or happy life. She cites several examples that assert her opinion on what amounts to be a meaningful life. In her view, which she inclines to approaching the issue from a objective-list theory perspective, she argues that a meaningful life is not necessarily a happy or pleasurable but that has objective value. She argues that the people who adopt this worldview of life overlook the importance of objective value in defining the meaning of life. She considers these two elements; happiness/pleasure and objective value necessary elements in defining the meaning of life. Wolf asserts that objective value stems from engagements that have a positive value. She sums up a meaningful life as that which has positive value, active engagement and successful. She opines that pleasure/happiness alone or success of an active engagement alone do not give life its meaning, but rather, both.
CITATION Nag70 \l 1033 (Nagel, 1970) discusses the subject of death pegging his reasons on experiences of life. He derives his arguments partly from deprivation the
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