Argumentative essay on existential philosophy responding to the film Million Dollar Baby, (2004
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For the Term Paper assignment we will watch the film Million Dollar Baby, (2004, starring Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman), then write an argumentative essay on existential philosophy responding to course material from our main textbook about Plato’s Cave Metaphor (pp. 62-69, and in the video clip in module week 6). You can either buy the CD (some $5-7), or rent it from a streaming service for $99 a shot. It is better to buy it since you will need to view it several times back and forth to figure out what is going on and write your paper.
This paper will account for 25 percent of the course’s final grade. The Term Paper is due on May 1. No late submissions will be accepted. Not submitting on or before that date entails zero points from this assignment. The essay will be a two full pages, single spaced, font size 12, titled, and citing exclusively the film and the course’s assigned main textbook. Any deviation from this parameters will cost in grade points. Remember that your paper will be automatically filtered through Turnitin for plagiarism, so do not try to copy-paste any work from another source on the internet.
Midterm Paper Topic: Use Plato’s Cave Metaphor to explain in existential terms the difference of character between Maggy Fitzzgerald and her mother, as these characters play up their roles in the film “Million Dollar Baby.” The concepts you need to explore are no other than what you have been reading our chapters over the problems of Truth, Freedom, the Self, Reality, Religion. You don’t have to refer to each and every one of these concepts; just explore and reflect on what you feel is most relevant and revealing about the subjects of inquiry from the film.
You will have to read again the Cave Metaphor reference from our course textbook, and probably watch the film multiple times to figure out the characters and their differences. You will have to argue your case from Plato’s theory, that is, from laying down necessary conclusions from sound premises, as shown in the brief tutorial on argumentation logic at the introduction of our textbook and the video clips on the subject. Do not just recount what happens in the film; you will get a bad grade. Arguing your case, means that your conclusion(s) derive from premises that support such conclusion. Otherwise you are just offering opinion, and the world is not interested at this point. This task will showcase your thorough understanding of the pertinent material, and your application to the events and characters in the film will demonstrate your ability to connect theory with life. This, along with that your essay is an argumentative essay, is the basic qualitative rubric of the paper outcomes. In terms of a quantitative rubric, an essay that does not show the above understanding will drop 8 points and an essay that does not show the ability to connect theory with life will drop another 8 points.
So far from our textbook and Quizzes we have been engaging in what I call “paratactic learning,” where the units of knowledge are placed as it were one next to another, but not yet connected around a core of existence, where the core is you, the learner. In this assignment you will be engaging into what I call “synthetic learning,” that is, you will be synthesizing the high art of the film (it is a perfect modern representative of ancient Greek tragedy), the theory of Plato’s metaphysics, and the logic necessary to write an argumentative essay, to give the world an argument of your own. Synthetic learning is much more demanding than paratactic learning, as it does not rely anymore on memorization, but on synthetic judgment from the aesthetic experience of encountering the issue you discuss in your paper. If this sounds a bit gibberish so far, wait till you actually write your paper, where you will be yourself able to see the difference. If it is the first time you write such a paper, be brave and take the plunge! I grade high on engagement. But again: Do not write a paper where you tell me what happens in the film. I’ve been teaching with this film for years and know every bit of event and dialogue in it.