Philosophy Metaphysics Journal Entries

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The purpose of the Journal Entry Activity is to give you an opportunity to explore your thoughts and ideas on philosophical concepts and arguments that you may not completely understand, but which you are working out in your mind, without the pressure of having to present a more polished thought in the discussion forums for possible debate (and a grade!).

A Journal Entry Activity is expected to be completed in weeks 2, 4, and 6. They are intended to cover the previous weeks material as well, so you will be completing two activities, one for each week. In the gradebook , journal entries will be noted as Pass for ones that have been handed in, Fail for ones that haven’t. Each Journal Activity contains several prompts (in the form of questions) to think about for your entry. Please ruminate over these prompts and choose at least one from each list (A and B) to complete. Keep your thoughts in the first-person singular “I”. A good written journal entry will be at least 250 words, but they may be longer depending on the prompt and your writing. A good audio or video recording will be at least a minute in length, but, again, they may be longer. You can submit voice recordings and video recordings for your journal entry instead of a written document. (Directions Below). Most of the prompts relate to the required readings and subject of the week.

Example of a Journal Entry from the prompt “What does it mean to judge someone?”

I seem to belong to a highly judgmental species, and it is hard to refrain from judging and evaluating, praising and blaming. All around me, people are rating, reviewing, giving stars, thumbs up and down to films, hotels, household appliances, and life events. They write restaurant reviews that say ‘The fish was underdone and the staff were rude,’ as though the fish and the staff actually had those qualities, and they expect others to make use of the ‘information.’ They gossip about one another’s personal lives and decisions, admiring and disapproving of their friends’ actions. Human beings slap fines on one another and cart others of their species off to jail. They also award them medals, badges, and diplomas for achievements deemed meritorious. I find myself constantly judging my food and drink for its tastiness and value for money. I cannot seem to help judging some kinds of people for what I take to be their moral qualities, as well as for their non-moral qualities of being politically savvy or hilarious, or displaying athletic prowess or artistic ability.

Directions for Journal Entries

Complete journal activities in weeks 2, 4, and 6 and upload the results to the proper assignment folder as either document files (.docx), audio files (.mp3) or video files (.mp4), or any combination. Please submit two (2) files every time the Journal Entries are due. You are welcome to complete and submit Journal Entries before they are due.

Technical Requirements of the Journal Entries

  • Document files must be Microsoft Word .docx, be at least 250 words, double spaced 12 pt font.
  • Audio files must be .mp3 and be at least a minute in length
  • Video files must be .mp4 and be at least a minute in length.**

(**To greatly reduce the video file size make sure to record at the lowest possible resolution on your camera, 480p or 640×480, and NOT at 4k!! A 1 minute video recording at 480p will only be around 2MB.)

Week Four Journal Activities

Now that you have become familiar with some of the concepts and concerns in Metaphysics and Personal Identity, complete two (2) Journal Activities (topics in weeks 3 & 4) one each from list A and B. Record your thoughts in writing, or audio, or video, and submit the files to the assignment folder. Submit A and B Journal Activities as separate files.

A. Journal Activities – Metaphysics I: What is Real? (Choose one)

Activity A1: Record your thoughts. What have you found about metaphysics that most intrigues you? Do you think there is any good reason to ask the difficult types of questions that metaphysicians struggle with?

Activity A2: Have a conversation with a priest, prophetess, or pastor, or a friend or family member about what they believe is the true nature of reality. Reflect on what you learned from this conversation for your Journal Entry.

Activity A3: Record your thoughts. If you strongly suspected that reality was a dream or a computer simulation, what would you want to know about reality first, and why?

Activity A4: Go into a quiet room, sit down, close the door, (or go outside in a quiet area) and meditate for a period of time and contemplate the nature of reality. What was your experience of this activity? Did it lead to any insights? Record your thoughts.

Activity A5: Record your thoughts. Which philosopher discussed this week intrigues you? Why?

B. Journal Activities – Metaphysics II: What is the Self? (Choose One)

Activity B1: Record your thoughts: From the readings this week, what description of the self do you think most accurately explains who or what you really are? And, assuming that explanation is at least reasonably true, does that establish any connection to your status as a moral being?

Activity B2: Have a conversation with a friend or family member on whether they believe the mind is separate from the body. Reflect on what you learned from this encounter for your Journal Entry.

Activity B3: Record your thoughts: If you created and programmed an artificial lifeform that duplicated the human body perfectly down to every muscle, bone, and joint and every neuron and synapse in the brain, when you turned it on, would it have a soul? What does your answer tell you about personal identity?

Activity B4: Record your thoughts: Do non-human animals have the same self-identity as you? How do you know?

Activity B5: Record your thoughts. Which philosopher discussed this week intrigues you? Why?