University of California Irvine Psychological Therapist Essay


Short Essay Assignment

You are a psychological therapist, and your patient comes in all worried, down and out. The patient
claims to have discovered that either dualism about the mind, or ego theory about personal identity, or
dynamism about time, or the reality of free will is wrong, false.
Pick one of them and explain why the patient – give him or her a name and a brief description — has
reasonably come to suspect that the view is false. Try to justify, as well, why this is bad news from the
patient’s point of view, something her or she would be justified in mourning (given who he or she is, say,
or some other things about him or her).
Now give a persuasive argument you might make, as the therapist, for why there is NO cause for
concern, after all. It could be an argument for why the patient’s reasons for thinking the view is false are
mistaken (focus on his or her particular reasoning, not some new argument in defense of the view he or
she doubts). OR, alternatively, you could give an argument for why, even if the patient is right that the
view (either dualism, or dynamism, or Ego Theory, or free will) is false, there is no reason to feel bad
about that.
Finally, who is right between the two? Give one more argument – using new reasons not yet discussed —
why either the therapist or the patient is right, in the end, about the philosophical view in question or
how one ought to feel about it.

Length: 1.5-2.5 pages, double-spaced.

Method: wherever you are asked to justify or give an argument for something, or show why it is
reasonable, you are called to do two things: (1) be accurate about the views you describe (dualism,
dynamism, etc. – see “notes about sources” below); and (2) make an effort to be convincing, by giving
reasons why someone who is otherwise neutral on the issue should now come to agree with you in light
of what you’re saying. That is, try to persuade

Notes about Sources: in discussing the philosophical view in question, be accurate as to how that view is
described in the lectures. Other authoritative sources, as might be found online, sometimes define these
things differently. Please only use the understanding of them from the lectures (so, e.g., Lecture 2 for
dualism; lecture 3 and 4 for Ego Theory; Lecture 5 and 6 for free will; and Lecture 7 and 8 for dynamism
about time).