The consolations of philosophy by Alain de Botton

The consolations of philosophy by Alain de Botton

Essay Questions on The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton
-Essay will be typed, doubled-spaced and stapled
-A length of four pages minimum and five pages maximum
-Refer to MLA Handbook for citations, direct quotations, bibliography and all other means of
essay formatting. I a
1;; .9
Essay will be due on
Please select one ofthe six essay questions:
1.) The modern philosopher, Alain de Botton, employs philosophy as a meditative tool in
exploring what it means to live a proper life. One of many applications that philosophy
serves, for de Botton, is an instructive guide in finding consolation when life throws at us
its hardships and difficulties. The first chapter, Consolation for Unpopularity, asks of us
to examine life thoroughly, through the diligent method in which Socrates lived his life
relying on logical and rational discourse. For the Hellenic thinker, applying logic and
rationality was a consoling aid in upholding his own unpopular principle, even when he
knew he would be castigated by the populace. Please carefully consider and reformulate
the main points and ideas that de Botton is drawing from in this chapter, and provide a
moment in US cultural and social history that reflects these ideas, or an experience in
your personal life that is anecdotal evidence to de Bottori’s argument.
2.) In the second chapter, Consolation for Not Having Enough Money, we are challenged to
question how much is too much, and to delineate things in our lives between those we
need from those we want. For the modern philosopher, Epicurus was an illuminating
4‘ If? example of someone who rationally investigated what actually necessitates happiness in
our lives, by discriminating needs from desires. As de Botton contends philosophy
should be applicable to our daily lives, please carefully mull over and readdress the ideas
put forth in the second chapter, and re-examine your own lives by implementing the
epicurean tripartite division (60) and method (63-64), and narrate how you could live a
more contentful life, proposed by Epicurus.
3.) One of the over-arching themes of The Consolations of Philosophy is to demonstrate that
philosophy is not merely abstract thoughts and high-minded theory, but rather a
discipline that can be pragmatically applied in the real world. “Consolation” in the title
stresses the sentiment that life is difficult, but we can mitigate life’s suffering by
exercising these theoretical ideas into everyday practice, ultimately knowing we can
LJXO”V never fully extinguish the agency that creates our pain. In responding to this notion, de
Botton, then, invokes Seneca, a follower of Stoicism, as an example who wisely learned
to accept life’s unjust difficulties and misfortune, in order to come to terms with external
circumstances that he had little or no control over. In the mode of a research essay,
please investigate and elaborate in some depth the history and the ideas of Stoicism.
4.) Chapter 4 touches on the essays of Michel Montaigne, who philosophically prescribed
how we could overcome the disparate inadequacies which may arise due to our
misconceptions of other people and social conventions. From insecurities about the
body, to the intellect and being worldly-minded, Montaigne sets out certain concepts to
improve ourselves by rationally surmounting these debilitating insecurities. One special
scourge he found to be particularly harmful was cultural ignorance. It must be noted that