ES.114 | Fall 2018 | Undergraduate
Non-violence as a Way of Life


Students were required to write two papers as well as keep a daily conflict and resolution journal.

Paper 1


  • Using the works from the first week of class (supplemented by any other works you wish), discuss whether a life in pursuit of truth will be the same as a life in which we seek to love unconditionally (agape).
  • Does cruelty require cruel intent? Is radical indifference to suffering also a form of cruelty? Make sure to present both sides of this argument as strongly as possible before drawing your conclusion.
  • Amend and supplement Rosenberg’s work on non-violent communication to make it the strongest possible guidebook to positive, life-affirming, ethical communication. Be specific in the rules you devise.
  • Give a clear set of rules for dividing ethically permissible manipulation from ethically impermissible manipulation. Consider both what must be happening to the person manipulated and the motivations and internal workings of the manipulator, in order to label something unethical manipulation (you can argue that the motivation and intention of the manipulator are irrelevant, if that’s what you think). You can also shift the line and argue that all manipulation is unethical, but you must then give a clear set of rules for what constitutes manipulation.

Paper 1 is due during Week 8 and is worth 30% of the final grade.

Paper 2


  • How does one’s conception of anger shape one’s conception of forgiveness?
  • Accepting the proposition that honesty is more than factual accuracy of expression, and dishonesty more than factual inaccuracy (e.g. Siri can be wrong, but Siri can’t be dishonest), what exactly is honesty? What are the implications of your definition of honesty for our obligation to be honest?
  • Is kindness simply acting in a way that makes others feel good? Is kindness as a character trait the disposition to make others happy? Is it ever kind to deliberately hurt someone’s feelings? Is it ever kind to tell someone a very hurtful truth about themselves? In short: What is kindness?
  • Comprehensive paper: To realize the goals of [1] ahimsa (Thinking of ahimsa as meaning something more positive than the literal ‘non-harm’, but rising to the level of agapic love, as Gandhi claims), [2] satyagraha (firmness in the truth), and [3] brahmacharya (thought of here as putting aside your own needs so that you can clearly perceive the greatest good that every situation can yield), what should be your relationship to anger, manipulation, forgiveness, and honesty?
  • Is Howard Zehr’s definition of restorative justice (Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible) an adequate and appropriate rule for the way we should approach conflict in our personal lives?
  • Design a criminal justice system that best fulfills our obligations to offenders, to victims, and to all relevant levels of community. Give an argument for the morality of this system by engaging the most powerful moral critique of the system you can envision.

Paper 2 is due during Week 13 and is worth 40% of the final grade.

Daily Conflict and Resolution Journal

Selected portions of the journals will be shared during Week 13 and are worth 20% of the final grade.

“Writing a Paper for Me.” (PDF)

Course Info
As Taught In
Fall 2018
Learning Resource Types
assignment Written Assignments