PHL 360 – Existentialism
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As with all of your professors, I take plagiarism very seriously and have caught students plagiarizing their papers in the past.
You should be aware that plagiarism is not limited to a simple copy and paste of someone else’s argument. Two specific
examples: 1) not attributing a summary or paraphrase of reading to its author/source and 2) using a fellow student’s
outline/notes and/or writing your paper in the room and at the same time as another student is writing their paper. For
example, if you and a friend make an outline of your argument together and then write your papers in the same room, that is
considered plagiarism. If you and a friend share a note and then write your papers in the same room, that is considered
plagiarism. If you use your friend’s notes or paper outline while writing your paper, that is considered plagiarism. When writing
your paper, you need to be alone with only your notes/outline and readings.
This essay is designed to assess your comprehension of the readings from and about Kierkegaard &
Nietzsche. You will be expected to demonstrate 1) a clear understanding of their arguments regarding
human existence; 2) the ability to support your claims with evidence from the text(s), and 3) the ability to
think critically and creatively about philosophical themes and texts.
PROMPT – there are three prompts that you may choose from; you should only answer one.
1. Compare and contrast the existentialism of Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. In your
discussion, make sure you emphasize: how they define what it means to be human; the ‘knight of
faith’ and ‘ubermensch’ as models of human existence; and the source of ‘values’ and ‘meaning.’
2. Make note of the date and time that you start writing – this is the ‘moment.’ Now imagine that
from this moment forward you will have to live your life over and over and over again in an eternal
circle. What would you change? What kind of existence would you try to create? What kind of values and truth would you make? In your answer, you must: a) provide an overview of Nietzsche’s existentialism and b) incorporate specific concepts from the two sources (Zarathustra, Lemm) into your reflection/argument.
3. Pick an animal that you identify with or find particularly interesting. Tell me how you think that animal might represent the ‘forgetfulness’ and ‘free spirit’ that Vanessa Lemm talks about with regards to Nietzsche’s ‘animal philosophy.’ Why did you choose that animal? How has ‘civilization’ sought to tame or breed that animal? How does the animal inspire you to live a more ‘instinctive’ or natural existence’? In your answer you must: a) provide an overview of Nietzsche’s existentialism and b) incorporate specific concepts from the two sources (Zarathustra, Lemm) into your