Defining Love

the themes of love, happiness, and freedom. Philosophers have debated, and continue to debate, over the meanings of these terms and how to formally define what each of these mean. Ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Plato and Epicurus attempted to tackle this topic—as did Thomas Hobbes and Emmanuel Kant and Jean Paul Sartre. While each of these scholars and philosophers provide their own explanations of these abstract themes, the debate rages on: What is love? What is happiness? What is freedom? For this assignment, you will do what these same philosophers have been trying to do for hundreds and even thousands of years…define one of these themes! How do you define happiness? What makes you happy in life? Which of the basic theories of happiness does your definition fall under? Epicureanism? Hedonism? Aristotle’s Virtue and Reason? Stoicism? What is your definition of love? Is love more about “eros” or “agape” for you? Which of the basic kind(s) of love does your definition fall under? Platonic? Romantic? What does freedom mean to you? Do you agree with any of the theories on freedom? Determinism? Free Will? Choose one of the themes. Your definition will be in the form of a short definition essay. What Is a Definition Essay? It is a special kind of academic writing, which is defining a particular term. In other words, a definition paper is a piece of writing that explains what some term means. Some words have quite concrete meanings, such as table, paper, or car, but there are terms which are more abstract, such as happiness, love, and freedom. The explanation of these words depends on the situation in which they are used and the individual’s point of view. Step #1: Find and apply primary sources First, provide explanations from an outside source, including online encyclopedias, dictionaries, or even textbooks. You can even use the Merriam-Webster dictionary or another trusted source. This will allow showing your audience the way in which a credible source explains your topic. Step #2: Introduce the theme/term Tell your reader what the term stands for in the introduction. Provide a “hook” and make him or her keep reading by showing that in this definition paper the reader will find an interesting and alternative definition. Step #3: Develop and discuss the theme/term in the body paragraph(s) This is the main part of your definition paper. Provide detailed information on the chosen topic in 1-3 body paragraphs, but do not overload your paper with unnecessary information and don’t give definitions which are duplicating each other. Step #4: Provide vivid examples Find and provide several bright and sound examples which can interpret, show the definition. Explain your personal opinion on the topic. Is there a movie, book, poem, or personal relationship (your own, parents, etc) that is an ideal representation of love, happiness, or freedom? Explain…Show don’t tell! Be sure to write in complete sentences and well-developed paragraphs, elaborate on your thoughts, provide examples, and review carefully for writing errors. At least 1 resource is required with corresponding internal citations per APA requirements. See the APA LibGuide if you need help with APA documentation. This assignment should be approximately 1-2 pages in length (not including title page and reference page). It must be in APA format (title page, 12-point/Times New Roman, double-spaced).

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