RC3: Final EE Reflection

The most challenging aspect of the EE was the short word-limit. Therefore, it taught me valuable skills such as how to focus my writing (as I started off with a very broad question, and after further research, narrowed it to a subdivision I could try answer, which I then re-applied to the wider context in the end!). Additionally, as there are so many arguments in Philosophy, I had to choose the strongest two discussion points and ensure my analysis was straightforward; to be concise. Thus, for future essays, I’ll assure my points are focused in the planning stage (to also save time), rather than introducing many arguments (like I had done at first) and later cutting them out. However, I approached my essay with great time-management strategies, which personally means writing the first draft as soon as possible (even if it’s bad), because it allows to me layout/develop my thinking, recognize weak areas/confusion (to research further), and solidify an outline/basic understanding for the paper. Having completed that, I found it easy to consolidate/improve what was already there, without ever feeling pressed for time. Therefore – having discovered an approach that works best for me – I can apply this to future assignments!


200 words

Reflection on Happiness

As part of my behavioral therapy, my psychiatrist made me write down common emotions I feel and try to define what they mean to me (how they make me think, act, feel) – and surprisingly, the one I found the absolute hardest was happiness. I think happiness is a very broad concept, and it can’t be defined because it’s different for everyone. I have asked people before to define happiness to me, my boyfriend said it was when he felt great about the world and at peace, compared to my psychopath ex who told me his happiness was when everything was going his way. To both people, that definition of happiness was everything. That was how they perceived it in a general sense, and how they believed everyone else perceived it. In fact, when I told my ex that wasn’t necessarily what happiness was – he was shocked that we don’t feel it the same way. But now I know I’m wrong. There is no right way to feel happiness, to each their own – and I’ve come to realize that your own personal happiness is creating as a result of all your past experiences; the extent to which you have felt sadness and pain, the extent to which you have felt joy; and happiness learns to fall somewhere along that scale relative to your life.

Happiness is confusing to me, and I don’t see it as a goal I need to reach because it would be disappointing. Happiness does not last and being in it and content in it should be appreciated, but without the assumption that it will continue.

Reflective Conversation 2

From here, I need to clarify and rearrange some areas of my essay as given in my supervisor’s feedback. However, my approach to the EE has changed significantly, given the depth and complexity of the research question – I have to ensure I take a step back while I’m writing it instead of always being so close. I’ve realized that instead of doing the majority of it in one sitting, given that it’s easier to follow my thinking while writing, it’s actually better to do it in chunks over an extended period of time. This is because, after a break, I can reread my essay and look at it holistically to identify areas of confusion, and in this time I can reevaluate areas of my essay and strongly establish my understanding before returning to writing. I will also try to get friends/family with no prior knowledge of the topic to read it so I can identify areas requiring further clarification.




Completing my EE first submission

Completing my analysis and conclusion for the essay was definitely the most difficult, as such I left them for about a month before returning to the essay. I feel that having summer during this time was great, because the subject of philosophy itself does not let me easily find an “answer” to a question by forcing myself to think. Rather I took the month to keep coming back to the topic and thinking about it without pressure and restraints. I found that over the month I could better develop my thinking and get my head around the topic enough to even identify my own flaws with Frankfurt’s and Kane-Widerker’s claims. For example, how the refute to Frankfurt’s argument only focuses on the cases itself, and that other areas could be focused on to make it still viable all followed my own independent thinking.

Furthermore, I came to many analysis’ myself but I would start writing and dig deeper only to realise there was a flaw with my own thinking. As such I probably attempted to start my paragraph several times before finally I could be confident in the ideas I was putting forth.

This has really shown me more why I love the subject of philosophy, and that is because it is so easy to get fully engaged into it, and once you do it gets so exciting. Especially when you feel you have identified a flaw or problem or solution, and must dive deeper into it.

Additionally, I really wanted my essay to be about more than a small sub-clause, as after writing everything I understood the significance, but even in the beginning when I finalised the essay question – I felt it was so small and any conclusion I would make would have no real implications. But really discovering how large it was, how such a small conflict of ideas actually has such large implementations allowed me to share that in my essay. I wanted to bring someone along the thinking of something so minuscule in the greater scheme of things and connect it to something bigger than life. This being that the idea of God and Human Free Will inevitably effects everyone and everything whether they believe in it or not. In that sentence, I love where all the thinking took me.

As such I ended up adding another paragraph relating the conclusions and analysis of my thinking into something relevant and an issue of worldwide importance. There, I discussed a topic that I had even initially wanted my essay to be based around but was too large – which is the Problem of Evil (considering I have a lot of interest in it). I love that I know this topic was too large to tackle in an EE, yet through my small focused EE I managed to find answers to even these large questions.

Finally I wanted my conclusion to wrap up not only my topic question but the ideas of philosophy as a whole and why they are still important even in this age of scientific discovery.

Overall, I know my draft isn’t perfect and hopefully with the feedback I receive I can greatly improve it, but I am quite happy with my essay so far – if how it comes across isn’t the best, I’m still proud of my own thinking and what I’ve personally discovered about the topic and about myself.

Final PSE Reflection

Some challenges I felt this year were:

  • New subjects such as computer science meaning a steep learning curve
  • Projects are student-led and not given support
  • Heavy workload
  • Project Week
  • Minds Service

Some other experiences were:

  • Kahaani
  • Culturama
  • Pottery
  • Softball
  • MuayThai
  • BodyPump

Something that went well was Project Week, what helped me was the support that I received from my friends and by having them around me all the time. Also, was being flexible to change day-to-day and in the planning stage, whilst staying optimistic to approach these changes. Finally, being organized was necessary to get things done.

What I could have done differently would be surrounding the workload, this means not slacking and leaving things to the last moment because I don’t want to necessarily do them. And also to study a little bit every day so I don’t need to grind and memorize information the day before. Finally is really paying attention to my mental health because by letting it get worse affects my grades because I don’t care about work anymore. Also not putting school about my mental health and not going to counseling or such simply because I’m “busy” I think is a big takeaway from this year to do next year.

For grade 12 I want to better look after myself and be more organized with work. This means I want to study a little bit every day so I am not stressed when exams roll around. Also, I want to make use of my summer to do as much IA plannings and EE writing as I can, as well as working on my TOK presentation early. Overall, I want to pace myself so I never have a huge workload but do a little bit each day which is much better – it just means I definitely need to stay organized and on top of things each day which can be a struggle. Also, pushing myself to do Culturama and Kahaani next year, because I love both events but I’m scared the stress will get in the way – but I know it’ll be something I can enjoy and look forward to in school.

Overall, I think this year went well and I’m already integrated into IB and the flow of it, so hopefully I don’t let that die over summer and come back with everything on my shoulders.

Mass Media and Communications FOA Reflection


The IB FOA is a very individual project, where there are no instructions except for the given topic studied in class being Mass Media and Communications. From here, we have the freedom to create a presentation surrounding any topic we want with no guidance to what to talk about or what to cover.

I started by going through all of the grading criteria and all the sub-topics of Mass media we had covered in doing so I made myself many points in order to ensure I covered all aspects of the FOA I needed. For example, this meant going on IB websites and any other online resources; I made note of the learning outcomes and assessment objectives.


I spent a lot of time on my research, and I watched all of the 4 videos taking notes and taking screenshots. I feel I went about it really well, considering I had already created an outline for myself and highlighted aspect I needed to ensure I included in my presentation. This was helpful as when I watched the videos and did research, there was a lot of content – however, knowing what I was looking for put that into context for myself so I knew what to look for and what angle I needed to look at it.

I will definitely use this in the future, as I don’t like going into projects blind. I love having a lot of room for creativity – but this can often lead astray and become too long and too broad. Giving myself a structure initially and a purpose allows me to stay focused and keep everything within the lines.

Furthermore, at first, I was not going to go with this topic, but rather about Instagram and other ideas. However, with all the drama going around on James Charles, I was watching these hour-long videos in my free-time and felt I was wasting my time when I should have been working on my FOA. Then I realized, I could turn that feeling I was wasting my time into actually watching those videos as “study” and I found a huge loophole. It was not only very relevant, but I was really interested in it considering drama is always interesting to read… and that meant I would put a lot more effort into it considering I wanted to learn about it anyways.

I thought this was great because it was relevant to current media, part of teen culture, spread mass media and was about unique communications. Overall, this has shown me that school work can be fun, and it doesn’t work anymore when you chose a topic you’re actually interested in rather than doing what you think would get you a good grade.

EE Day Reflection

One Thing I’ve Learnt:

My supervisor helped me to go through the outline I’ve created and figure out where I should be focusing on, as currently, I am aware that if I were to write out my entire essay depicting my outline – it would exceed the word count. So it’s been important to bring to my attention where I should be focusing on, and that it is more important for me to cover fewer arguments but more in-depth and clear than to attempt to cover many of them but briefly. This given that philosophy is not a light subject and although I may understand what I write about (considering I’ve gotten to read up a lot on it) – it doesn’t mean if someone else comes along and reads it that they will be able to understand. For this reason, I’ve cut out quite a bit of my outline (the first argument to Frankfurt’s cases and possibly one of the rebuttals to such) to try focus on key points I want to make, and ensure that with those points I am giving thorough explanations.

What I’m Proud of:

I’m proud of how much work I’ve put in so far, as I already have my outline completed written up to the minor details – which I didn’t realize many of my friends had not started yet. Therefore, I feel comfortable knowing that I’m slightly ahead and this will hopefully be less stressful as I need to dedicate a lot of time to reading and researching – which I’m scared could lead me to fall behind in any way. Furthermore, today I’ve completed the table of contents which is useful for me to organize my own thinking and writing, and have completed 660 words of my essay including the initial introduction and explanation of theological fatalism.

What I’ll be Doing Next:

From here, I would like to begin reading the book which my supervisor recommended and gave me as it covers my topic perfectly, and I need to proceed doing much more research specifically on the Two-Horned Dilemma. On top of all of this, I will continue to be writing my essay – and meet the deadline of 1000 words in a few weeks which I don’t think will be too hard! 🙂

EE Progress (as of April)



Submitted Topic Idea:

Addressing the paradox of free-will within the doctrine of predestination, how is god arguably guilty for mans sin?

Reason for Choosing This:

Philosophy would by far be my biggest interest and my favorite subject. I study it out of school all the time just purely reading books and online because I find it all so fascinating. Therefore, I would love to use this opportunity to dive deeper into this aspect of it – because despite not being very religious, I’ve always loved the arguments made about god. Because there are countless theories and many views of different religions, most of which strongly contradict one another. Therefore, I’d like to explore this and follow these chains of arguments to find an answer.

17/02/19 WEEK ONE:

I’ve set up a meeting with my advisor for the coming week, as my first step at the moment would be to refine my topic question. In order to organise my thoughts as to know what I want my question to cover, I made a document and created a full outline for every philosopher, theory and religion that I wanted to include in my argument.

I’ve also included a lot of the basic explanations and points that I’ve read from the book: A Short History of Philosophy.

For example, to give an overview, this is what I’m focusing on:


Considering God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient (THEISM / MONOTHEISM)

The argument of evil stems from if evil exists, either God doesn’t exist, or he isn’t true to one of the three qualities – therefore, not perfect.

If God cant stop it happening, then he cant be truly all-powerful. There are limits to what he can do. But if God is all-powerful and doesnt seem inclined to stop it, how can he be all-good?




  • Introduce with Epicurus question
  • Augustine:
    • Manichaeism solution in earlier days
    • Augustines solution of free-will
  • Other perspectives against free-will:
    • Pascal: JANSENISM
  • Argued against lack of free-will in Boethius theory
    • Solution: Paradox of linear time
  • Introduce DEFEATING argument of optimism by Alexander Pope
    • Lead into Leibniz: Principle of sufficient reason
  • Argue the senselessness of this by Voltaire

25/02/19 WEEK TWO:

AIM:Refining the research question and opening up new areas to explore

During these past few days, I have focused on reading as much as possible around the topic, in order to narrow down my question into specific ideas which can better be discussed. So far, my research questions will be along the lines of the following:

Research Questions:

    • Are free-will and predestination compatible?


  • COMPATIBILISM vs. (uknown)


Compatibilism: The belief that free-will and determinism exist alongside one another, and are mutually compatible despite the claimed inconsistencies.

  • Is the Boethian solution to predestination valid? (compelling)
  • Does Boethian solve the paradox of predestination and free will?


  • Contrasting the X and Boethian solutions within compatibilism
    • Contrast a compatibilist and an incompatibilist
    • Contrast 2 compatibilists and argue whose solution is more compelling


As you can see, they have been written out in several ways each showing the progression we had in our discussion (with my EE supervisor) in narrowing and perfecting the question.


Does argument X provide a compelling compatibilist argument for premise 9? Considering Y incompatibilist rebuttals.


Does the Frankfurtian/Augustinian solution using the Principle of Alternate Realities provide a compelling compatibilist argument for the ninth premise of theological fatalism?

Does the Frankfurts use of the Principle of Alternate Realities rebut Pikes argument for Theological Fatalism?

REJECTIONS OF PAP: Hyper-incompatibilism and Source Incompatibility


  • Does replaced premise 2 with Y provide a more compelling compatibilist argument?


Does a the Causal Closure of the Past reinterpretation of the Principal of the Necessity of the Past strengthen its support for the second premise of theological fatalism?

Does a the Causal Closure of the Past reinterpretation of the Principal of the Necessity of the Past strengthen the argument for theological fatalism?


  • Does X or Y provide a more compelling argument for premise 2.


Between the Ockhamist Solution and the Principle of Causal Closure of the Past, which is a more compelling argument for second premise within theological fatalism?

ISSUE: Will take a long time to explain both theories

Does the Ockhamist Solution rebut Pikes argument for Theological Fatalism?

Does the Principle of Causal Closure of the Past rebut Pikes argument for Theological Fatalism?


Does the Principle of Alternate Realities provide a more compelling compatibilist argument within the ninth premise of theological fatalism or incompatibilist argument supporting open-theism?


  • Incompatibilist approach: to affirm libertarian free will along with the principle of alternate possibilities (premise 9), and to deny the possibility of infallible foreknowledge. This position has recently become well-known in the view called open theism. (Pinnock et al. 1994)


Does the Boethian Solution provide a compelling compatibilist argument to deny the first premise of theological fatalism?


I chose the questions from my few ideas and made simple outlines for all of them to give myself a better idea of what the best question would be to write about. For example, I would need a question that would allow me to consider counterclaims, different and unique arguments, other theories, etc. All whilst not being too broad that there is too much to talk about within the limited word count.


  • Does Frankfurts use of the Principle of Alternate Realities rebut Pikes argument for Theological Fatalism?


Do Frankfurt-Style Cases invalidate the Principle of Alternate Realities argument for Theological Fatalism?


  • Harry Frankfurt is a prominent defender of the compatibilist view of free-will


      1. IDENTIFIES: a flaw in Premise 9: If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely. [Principle of Alternate Possibilities]
      2. CLAIMS: an agent can act freely, even when she lacks alternate possibilities
        1. an agent is morally responsible for an action only if that person could have done otherwise, however, in the PAP – they can not
      3. AIMS: to drive a wedge between responsibility and alternate possibilities, and to thereby drive a wedge between responsibility and libertarian freedom.
      4. Overall:
        1. those defending libertarian freedom also defend PAP
        2. those attacking PAP, like Frankfurt, defend determinism
      5. FLAWS:
        1. Zagzebski argued a flaw of this: how the standard Frankfurt case would have to be amended to make it a close analogy to the situation of infallible foreknowledge.
          1. Possibly it is not clear in the amended story whether or not Mary has alternate possibilities.What he shows, then, is that alternate possibilities are not always relevant to the possession of libertarian freedom.
        2. two-horned dilemma raised by philosophers such as Widerker, Ginet, and Kane.
          1. Focuses on the connection between the agent’s inclination and the agent’s decision.
            1. This connection can be either follow a deterministic ARGUMENT
            2. Or indeterministic.




        1. Fischer argued for this response that Frankfurt-style cases cannot stand alone, but must be taken in conjunction with other arguments.
          1. These other arguments are supposed to show that causal determinism in and of itself and apart from ruling out alternate possibilities does not threaten moral responsibility.
        2. OR revise the Frankfurt-style cases
          1. creating a case with an explicit indeterministic connection where the agent is still morally responsible without any alternate possibilities. These kind of Frankfurt-style cases do it by incorporating buffer zones that act to eliminate alternate possibilities.
  • Frankfurt cases (also known as Frankfurt counterexamples or Frankfurt-style cases) (presented in 1969) as counterexamples to the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP)
  • Interpret the case where she exercises libertarian free will but does not have alternate possibilities. If Frankfurt cases can be successfully interpreted in this third way, then they can be used to show the compatibility of infallible foreknowledge and libertarian freedom.



  • Does a Causal Closure of the Past reinterpretation of the Principal of the Necessity of the Past strengthen the argument for theological fatalism?


    1. ISSUE: it is not at all clear that pastness per se puts something outside the realm of our causal control. Rather, it is pastness in conjunction with the metaphysical law that causes must precede their effects. If we decided that effects can precede their causes, it is likely that we would no longer speak of the necessity of the past.
    2. ARGUMENT: Zagzebski (2014) argues that the interpretation of the necessity of the past as a purely temporal modality is confused. What people generally mean by the necessity of the past is that the past is causally closed, meaning the past is neither causable nor preventable. Understood that way, the necessity of the past is not a purely temporal modality, and it is not a form of necessity. The categories of causability and non-causability do not correspond to the standard modal categories of the necessary, possible, and impossible. The attempt to assimilate the causal categories to modal categories is a mistake.
    3. SOLUTION: change the argument for theological fatalism from the necessity of the past to be understood as the causal closure of the past.
      1. Must implement Principle of the Unpreventability of the Past:


Initial Reflection

From the start, I knew I wanted to explore metaphysics within philosophy, given my large interest in the subject as well as its abstractedness – as knowing no definite answer could be reached drew my curiosity into how I could write and discuss it in an essay – presenting a challenge but opportunity for growth. I initially showed interest in the theoretical contradictions of God – also allowing excessive comparisons and deep analysis to be taken – making a good EE. From there, I spent time researching online and in books, and speaking with my supervisor to thoroughly narrow down this idea; refined into compatibilist arguments, then theological fatalism, then into a single statement within it – whilst ensuring I had a clear two-sided argument to discuss (yes/no question) between two philosophers with juxtaposing theories – all in ensuring my question wasn’t too open, as my major worry for a philosophy essay was how endlessly you could argue it.