“An unexamined life is not worth living.”-Socrates

Context and Purpose for Assignment

Effective critical thinkers and writers work rigorously towards understanding their ideas and biases, and toward the evidence they themselves tentatively offer, as well as toward the biases and evidence offered by others. They may not always reject their inherited worldview, but they work hard to make sure it is informed. At the same time, are some of your beliefs and ideas in flux? This is always true for me. How do you move (or continue to move) from an exclusively (or partially) inherited worldview to an informed worldview?

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One way is to attempt to articulate your current worldview and the experiences, media, people, and creatures who have contributed to it. As stated earlier in the module, critical thinking begins with an assessment of the self—not simply a list of your beliefs and opinions, but an authentic exploration of why you hold them. As E.M. Forrester writes: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” This discussion essay and response is designed to help you begin (or continue) this critical and vital endeavor.

Instructions:

In no more than 600 words, write and then post a brief essay in which you do each of the following:

  1. summarize the major tenets of your worldview concisely and precisely.You may, if you like, begin with a quote that helps to represent it;
  2. identify and explain ONE essential belief/value of your worldview;
  3. describe and analyze the major influence/s to that one essential belief/value (from #2);
  4. still working with the same belief//value, determine the extent to which it is inherited, informed, and/or influx.
  5. consider how this essential belief/value factors into your ability to be open to different opinions, and then discuss how it relates to a specific, current issue in American culture. For example, if one essential tenet of my worldview is that we must treat animals ethically, I could tie this to the current issue of factory farming.

Guidelines:

  • Essay must be in correct MLA format and style.
  • Write your essay in Word or some other program and then paste it into the forum.
  • Do not treat numbers 1-5 of the assignment like individual paragraphs; organize your essay in whatever way works best for you. With that said, do not write one long paragraph. Because this is advanced composition, I assume that you know how to write a multi-paragraph, focussed essay that engages an audience.
  • Do not number and answer each element of the prompt individually. Your response should be a cohesive essay with smooth transitions.
  • Do not do any additional research beyond what is provided in this module. You have plenty with which to work.
  • The earlier you post, the more time you will have to read your peers’ essays and respond insightfully. I suggest you post this essay by Friday. Students who wait till the last minute do not have time to read their peers’ essays, make adjustments to their own, and/or complete all of the assignment.
  • Review: As most of you know at this point in your education, it is not wrong to use “I”; however, you want to be strategic about doing so. To illustrate, it is best to use “I” when you are describing personal experiences, which you will be doing here, but it is not necessary to use “I” when you express your ideas and beliefs. Instead of “I believe gender and race are human constructs,” write “Gender and race are human constructs.” In fact, using “I” in this case can weaken your academic voice.
  • Proofread carefully so that sentence-level errors do not harm the readability of your essay and weaken your credibility as the writer. Once your essay is posted, you may go back and make edits and changes until the deadline. Do not post a new essay, however.