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For this, our first essay, I would like you to write about the meaning of an abstract noun of your choice. Abstract nouns are generally conceptual (like… liberty, equality, justice, freedom, enlightenment) and all of the philosophical texts that we will read for this unit will address these sorts of ideas. However, these words cannot be perceived with the five senses, except metaphorically (e.g. the “taste’ of freedom) and while it is possible to vaguely define these nouns, their meaning becomes specific only when situated in context. My definition of freedom will be different from yours because of the varied experiences that have shaped my understanding of these ideas. It is this context that I am interested in.
The goal of this assignment is to create an engaging personal narrative designed to explain why a particular word or idea means what it does, to you. This essay should build upon the course materials, in order to create a vivid recreation of a personal experience that has altered or changed your perception in some way. It is important to remember that main goal of this assignment is to construct a clear narrative, or story, addressing all the requisite aspects of a cohesive and fully formed narrative structure.
TIP: Here are a few steps you might think about when planning your essay:
Select an incident worth writing about that helped to shape how you view and define an abstract philosophical idea.
Find relevance in the incident. You might ask yourself what it was about the incident that provided fresh insights or an increased sense of awareness. How might others be able to relate to this experience?
And finally, dredge up those memories so that you can recreate them on the page.
Examples might include: Overcoming the death of a loved one; tracking the growth of the individual or individuals over a given time; recalling a period or instance of setback or failure and communicating what, if anything, was learned; expounding upon a specific relationship and the subsequent effects this relationship has had on the writer.
You MUST also incorporate the following into your narrative in some way:
one or more definitions of the word from The Oxford English Dictionary;
the etymology or origins of your chosen word;
one or more antonyms of (or antithetical concepts to) your word.
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