“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” – Margaret Fuller

What kinds of questions lend themselves to ethical reasoning and academic research? How do we begin to understand our place and represent our ideas in the larger academic conversation?

Academic research is a very important source for social understanding. And this is done by critical questioning, that is leaving room for discussion about the topic. These questions ask the reader to dig deeper into their thoughts, to provide valid opinions. Instead of asking closed questions that leave no room for interpretation, open questions provide more productivity for an ethical reasoning or academic research. Closed questions include ‘yes or no’ questions and also questions like ‘what year were you born?’ These questions provided little to no room to express one’s opinions. Instead, questions with ‘how’ or ‘why’ stimulates the reader’s mind to provide their understanding .

As different individuals express their various perspectives, it forces them to find concrete or stronger evidence to prove their point. With  stronger evidence, their argument thereby becomes a lot stronger as well. You provide support to your argument by doing more research and becoming educated in that topic. The more educated you are on the topic, the more respect and validity you are given by your readers and peers.

The quote by Margaret Fuller is such a great metaphor for the the spread of knowledge. By “let[ting] others light their candles” at your knowledge, she basically means that you should communicate and spread your knowledge. By enlightening or igniting the readers’ minds with this new found knowledge, they will be able to alter their way of thinking by considering this new perspective.

This class as a whole, UNIV-111 and UNIV-112 has helped me expand my thinking and develop different perspectives on controversial topics as well as academic ones. Just sitting in class and listening to all the different opinions, spreads a smile across my face, knowing that my thoughts have matured. Each class encourages opinionated and thought-provoking discussion as well as successful sharing of knowledge. I was lucky to get such an inspiring teacher like Mr. Galligan and hope to further grow intellectually.


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