1. Consider the distinct perspectives expressed in the following statements.
"If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible."
William Lyon Phelps, American educator, journalist, and professor (1865–1943)
"I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."
Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, and philosopher (1872–1970)
In a well-organized essay, take a position on the relationship between certainty and doubt. Support your argument with appropriate evidence and examples.
2. In his 2004 book, Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton argues that the chief aim of humorists is not merely to entertain but:
“to convey with impunity messages that might be dangerous or impossible to state directly.”
Because society allows humorists to say things that other people cannot or will not say, de Botton sees humorists as serving a vital function in society. Think about the implications of de Botton’s view of the role of humorists (cartoonists, stand-up comics, satirical writers, hosts of television programs, etc.). Then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies de Botton’s claim about the vital role of humorists. Use specific, appropriate evidence to develop your position.