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What was your path, your discourse?

by | Oct 16, 2022 | English

 

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Our first essay assignment was concerned with you. What was your path, your discourse? As we moved through September, we started to explore a particular kind of discourse that, believe it or not, affects our current, contemporary world – that of pleasure-seeking. In doing so, we explored three brief views/texts: Epicurus’ “Letter to Menoeceus,” selections from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and The Gay Science, and an excerpt from Sigmund Freud’s 1911 lecture “Formulations on Two Principles of Mental Functioning.” Within each of these texts, and this single discourse of hedonism, we find many conversations happening. There is intimacy, philosophy, ontology, psychology, and sexuality just to name a few. Furthermore, these three authors are diverse in their opinions and take vastly different approaches to how they address hedonism; they even use different styles of language to discuss it!
Pleasure-seeking is still a part of day to day life. We seek pleasure in the form of media consumption (watching network television), we constantly want to be entertained (politics is very entertaining lately), and our physical drives are relentlessly tested (sex, drugs, alcohol)… but would you call yourself a hedonist? Is hedonism all that bad? Maybe it is a necessary part of growing up, or maybe it is downright awful and people should practice more discipline.
In this essay assignment, you will need to take a position on hedonism and pleasure-seeking. Are you for or against it? Is your view nuanced/complex? Use Epicurus, Nietzsche, and Freud to support your position/argument. You are also at liberty to use whatever you have read from The Picture of Dorian Gray to help inform any details or examples. Other sources are not required, but feel free to do research outside of what we covered in class if anything interested you!
You should start with your own opinion/position first. What do you believe? Where do you stand? Then: why do you believe that? How is your belief constituted?
When something supports your argument, that does not necessarily have to mean you agree with it or it agrees with you. You can disagree with a source and still use it to support your argument; for instance, if something Nietzsche said just didn’t sit right with you, address that! Argue against him, and your position will be stronger because of it.

 

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