Seth Robertson

Angelina Grimke's Letter 12 and Kantian Ethics

Introduction

This lesson has two main purposes. The first is to illustrate to students how one could apply the Kantian argument that one should not treat others merely as means. This is done by introducing them to an open letter written by the early feminist and abolitionist writer and activist Angelina Grimké in 1838 in which she explicitly argues that men have treated women as mere means.

Social Obligations in the Bhagavad Gita

Introduction

In the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is asking an important philosophical question: what obligations do I owe to society when society has broken down (e.g. why should I fulfill my social obligation to fight in this civil war when the civil war itself represents a complete breakdown of society and society's obligations to people). This activity helps students connect that question with their own lives.

Teaching Brahman

Introduction

This activity helps students think more deeply about the important Upanishadic claim "Atman is Brahman."

Background Information

Motivation

"Atman is Brahman" is likely the most central and most difficult claim in the Upanishads. This activity helps students think more deeply about it.

Truth is Victorious

Introduction

This activity asks students to use their electronic devices to find a connection between their assigned reading and a picture (of the State Emblem of India).

Background Information

Motivation

This fun, short activity helps students see connections between ancient texts like the Upanishads and life today.

Perfect Rituals

Introduction

The activity helps motivate the Confucian focus on the relationship between ritual activity (li) and ethics.

Background Information

Motivation

Students (and more than a few philosophers) tend not to think of everyday social interactions as the paradigmatic realm of ethics, but for the early Confucians, small-scale social interactions were of central ethical importance.

Logistics

This is best done as a group activity, but could be done as an individual or pair activity.

Self in the Katha Upanishad

Introduction

The Katha Upanishad describes the Self in many different ways: this activity draws students attention to these descriptions.

Background Information

Motivation

If a student is not reading the Katha Upanishad carefully, she might not realize just how surprisingly many descriptions and metaphors are used to characterize the Self. This activity helps draw attention to these many descriptions and metaphors.

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