Matthew Hutson, in a recent Atlantic blog post entitled “Awesomeness is Everything: Why Encountering Vastness Makes Us More Spiritual, Generous, and Content,” | Cheap Nursing Papers

Matthew Hutson, in a recent Atlantic blog post entitled “Awesomeness is Everything: Why Encountering Vastness Makes Us More Spiritual, Generous, and Content,”

Argumentative Research Paper on “Awe”

Matthew Hutson, in a recent Atlantic blog post entitled “Awesomeness is Everything: Why Encountering Vastness Makes Us More Spiritual, Generous, and Content,” captured your instructor’s attention long enough for him to decide on a radical switch from the usual food-work-education type of research assignment he usually assigns to something which we could all use more of:  awesomeness.*


Final Paper

So, for this fourth and final essay, write an argument essay on awe.  In it, state a claim with reasons and support them within the body of your paper.



Here, you are to kick things off with a personal anecdote or a hook on awe. Be creative.



Your argument’s claim can be in either paragraph one or paragraph two, depending on how you set up your introductory hook.  You may consider one or more sides in this section.


Body Paragraphs

This is your “reasons” section in which you’ll work in five (5) sources including:

  • One (1) of the academic journal articles on awe below.
  • Four (4) sources on awe that you find on your own. Just get them approved by me, okay?  One (1) of which must cover one of our proto-awe dudes—Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Carl Jung, or Abraham Maslow.



This paragraph’s where you confront cynical “attitudes”—n.b., not cited sources, just cynicism generally—to one hoping to insert a bit more awe into the day-to-day.  Here, you address skepticism about awe, the why-should-I-bother-to-care-about-awesomeness demographic.  What are some holes in your discussion? List these; then . . . rebut them.



Come back to your introductory anecdote; work in a reiteration of the more salient points raised in your body paragraphs, and leave us with a final thought.



The “Classical Essay” handout shows a “classic” organizational approach.  Conjure a working thesis by Week 7, and email it to me for feedback; start drafting by the beginning of Week 8.


*Though not new in our literature since we read Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, and other luminaries mulling over ideas on “awe,” Ground Zero for codifying notions of awe was in the year 1757.  That’s when a revolution in concepts of awesomeness began, courtesy of a young, Irish philosopher named Edmund Burke.  In his influential book, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, he remarked how we feel awe (a sensation he also referred to as “the sublime”) not just during religious ritual or in dealings with the Higher Power, but rather all the time as when we’re riveted by a melody, or when we hear thunder, or in the presence of an Aurora Borealis event.  From



Academic Journal Articles

As part of your five sources, use at least one (1) or more of the following journal articles that Hutson references in his blog—also available in Bb under Content.  For the remaining items, feel free use good “outside” sources you come across, as well; just run them by me first:

  1. Keltner and Haidt’s 2003 “Approaching Awe, a Moral, Spiritual, and Aesthetic Emotion” in Cognition and Emotion.
  2. Valdesolo and Graham’s 2014 “Awe, Uncertainty, and Agency Detection” in Psychological Science.
  3. Valdesolo et al.’s 2016 “Awe and Scientific Explanation” in Emotion.
  4. Van Cappellen and Saroglou’s 2012 “Awe Activates Religious and Spiritual Feelings and Behavioral Intentions” in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
  5. Piff et al.’s 2015 “Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior” in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  6. Rudd et al.’s 2012 “Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being” in Psychological Science.
  7. Schurtz et al.’s 2012 “Exploring the Social Aspects of Goose Bumps and Their Role in Awe and Envy” in Motivation and Emotion.
  8. Razavi et al.’s 2017 “Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in the Experience of Awe” in Emotion, forthcoming.
  9. Suedfeld et al.’s 2010 “Changes in the Hierarchy of Value References Associated With Flying in Space” in Journal of Personality.
  10. Berger and Milkman’s 2012 “What Makes Online Content Viral?” in Journal of Marketing Research.

Style:  Five pages—double-spaced, with Name-Course-Assignment-Date in the upper left corner of the first page and your last name and page number in the upper right.

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