The purpose of this writing sample activity is to get a snapshot of your writing so that we can design our curriculum to be as helpful to you as possible. This is not a test—there are no right or wrong answers.
Below is a passage from “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” by Martha Nussbaum. Cosmopolitanism is the idea that we are all “citizens of the world” and our primary moral and ethical allegiance should be to a worldwide community of humans. Diogenes, a Greek philosopher, introduced this idea around 400 BC, and the idea has taken on a renewed importance in light of contemporary globalization.
[E]ach of us dwells in two communities—the local community of our birth, and the community of human argument and aspiration that “is truly great and truly common, in which we look neither to this corner nor to that, but measure the boundaries of our nation by the sun” (Seneca, De Otio). It is this community that is, fundamentally, the source of our moral obligations. With respect to the most basic moral values, such as justice, “We should regard all human beings as our fellow citizens and neighbors” (Plutarch, On the Fortunes of Alexander). […] The accident of where one is born is just that, an accident; any human being might have been born in any nation. Recognizing this, […] we should not allow differences of nationality or class or ethnic membership or even gender to erect barriers between us and our fellow human beings. We should recognize humanity wherever it occurs, and give its fundamental ingredients, reason and moral capacity, our first allegiance and respect.
Read the excerpt above and then write responses to the two prompts below:
Question 1: Write for at least twenty minutes and no more than thirty minutes in response to the question below. Write as much as you can in the time allotted—do not edit your response other than by correcting typing mistakes:
Should “humanity” be the community to which we owe our primary moral allegiance? Or should our primary moral allegiance be to a “local” community (such as our nation)? Why?
Explain your reasoning by referring to evidence. Sources of evidence could include the passage above or examples from books, movies, history, current events, or personal experience.
How does your answer to Question 1 engage with the ideas in the passage from Nussbaum above? Refer to at least one specific word, phrase or sentence from Nussbaum’s passage in your response.