Here are your assigned readings (links to the readings are also provided in the question text):
[A Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan’s 1999 Harvard University Commencement speech (backup PDF here).
[B] Meditations of Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.
[C] “Lincoln’s Great Depression” by Joshua Wolf Shenk
[D] Excerpts from the book An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps by Terrence Des Pres (the focus is on what we can learn about human behavior and adaptation in the most extreme conditions).
Some tips on answering the questions:
1. Please make reference to the readings in your answers. We’ll want to see, for example, that you’ve given careful thought to Alan Greenspan’s views about the ”value added” characteristic of business ethics.
2. There are no length requirements, although high quality will be expected. Please print and keep a copy of your answers.
3. You are expected to complete these answers on your own. It is not acceptable to discuss your answers with other students.
4. Don’t forget to sign the pledge (at the end of the questions).
5. Read the example answers here.
1. Is it naive for business leaders to try to be honest?
Please pay particular attention to Alan Greenspan’s Harvard Commencement Speech. (backup PDF here).Provide a key quotation from the speech. You are not obligated to agree with any perspectives in Mr. Greenspan’s speech, but you are expected to consider the question with care; state a clear conclusion; and support your conclusion with convincing arguments.
2. Please read and think about this quotation:
“The mind is fickle and flighty, it flies after fancies and whatever it likes; it is difficult indeed to restrain. But it is a great good to control the mind; a mind self-controlled is a source of great joy.”
—Buddha’s Teachings (Penguin Classics, p. 8).
Identify three strategies you use (or recommend) to strengthen self-control. This optional reading may give you some ideas:
An interview conducted with Roberto Assagioli by Sam Keen.
3. Please read Book One of the Meditations of Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Then write a concise statement of gratitude (400 words or less) identifying the ethical and intellectual debts you owe to family members, teachers, or friends. Fictitious names are permitted, but the statement of gratitude should be genuine.
4. First, please consider this
list of failures and successes in the life of Abraham Lincoln. We’re suggesting that one of Lincoln’s greatest attributes was his ability to recover and learn from failure. The quality of
perseverance seemed especially useful to Lincoln as he struggled with “melancholy” (what might now be called depression)
Please read this related article by Joshua Wolf Shenk.
For Lincoln, learning how to persevere also meant learning how to adapt. Based on your reading of Shenk’s article, please identify three of Lincoln’s most successful adaptation strategies (skills, habits, or ways of thinking) that helped him use his struggle with depression to accomplish worthy goals.
5. The Declaration of Independence refers to the ”pursuit of happiness.” Should the word ”pleasure” be substituted for ”happiness”? Why/why not? Explain your answer.
6. Please read this decision by the Iowa Supreme Court in an attorney discipline case and answer these four questions:
[a] Should judges care if attorneys submit legal briefs or written motions that are plagiarized? Please explain your answer.
[b] Attorney Peter Cannon was punished by the court and by the attorney disciplinary board. Do you think these punishments (taken as a whole) were too lenient, too severe, or about right? Please explain your answer.
[c] The Iowa Supreme Court referred to another case involving attorney plagiarism (Iowa Supreme Court Board of Professional Ethics & Conduct v. Lane). In that case, the punishment for attorney Lane (suspension of his license to practice) was more severe than the punishment imposed on attorney Cannon. What distinction did the court make between these two cases? Do you agree with the court’s reasoning? Please explain your answer.
[d] The state of Florida requires “personal appearances before the [disciplinary] board for public reprimands for disciplined lawyers” [italics added]. Do you think this kind of public shaming is appropriate or too harsh? Please explain your answer.
7. What advice do you have for your fellow students about the best way to avoid committing an act of academic dishonesty?
8. Please review the assigned excerpts from An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps by Terrence Des Pres. Kindly respond to this question:
“Does Terrence Des Pres think the human moral sense is an
idealistic illusion or an
evolutionary survival strategy?”
Please explain your answer, agreeing or disagreeing with Des Pres’ analysis. Cite at least one of the numbered paragraphs for support.
9. How is a good life defined, and what is your plan to achieve it? Please refer to the assigned readings (above) to support your answers.