Prince Georges College The Shallowest Man by Woody Allen Reflection Paper


Question Description

Philosophy 1330

First Reflection Paper Assignment

Woody Allen’s “The Shallowest Man”


Even though there are good reasons why he is not the morally shallowest person in the story, Lenny Mendel does not engage in deep ethical reflection, especially after he visits the hospital and meets the nurse. The questions of whether it is right to use a dying man as a means to lure an engaged woman away from her fiancé and whether it is good to do so by deceiving both Iskowitz and Miss Hill in the process are moral considerations that seem worthy of deep ethical reflection. Such reflection--and the duties, virtues, motives, choices, intentions, and results it could lead to-- might enable Mendel (and all of of us) to overcome obstacles to moral progress such as fear, being overly judgmental, selfishness, refusing to judge, desire, low self-esteem, and lust.


The topic for this paper is for you to judge whether personal moral progress is important enough for you to engage in the sort of deep ethical reflection that Mendel did not. Specifically identify what deep ethical reflection involves and requires—things like fair judgment, honesty, thinking beneath the surface of our beliefs, considering others in addition to ourselves--and then support why it is or is not the case that personal moral progress is important enough for you to engage in such difficult and demanding reflection. What is such progress and why is it worth all the effort?


Your purpose in writing this paper is to explore the thoughts, questions, confusions, and insights you have had throughout our discussions of this story in even greater depth. It is important that you share your thinking process with me, rather than simply the conclusions you reach as a result of this process. The issues you will grapple with are difficult but you will write a better paper if you allow yourself to become entangled in these difficulties rather than avoiding them. Your paper will not be judged on the basis of its results but rather on how thoroughly you respond to the topic, the seriousness with which you have read and considered the reading, how deeply you explore the ideas and questions raised in class, and how thoughtfully you support your position. It should not re-tell the story nor should it be a report on the story or on the author. I am looking for your reflections on the story within the context of our class discussions about it; discussions whose focus has been ethics--the philosophical study of morality.


No plagiarism. Remember that this paper must be typed and should be at least four full pages in length. Please double-space and use 1” margins all around so that I can easily write comments. Please use 12 font or smaller. You need only an original title and your name and date as headers on your paper. There is no need for additional space between paragraphs other than the one that double-spacing automatically provides. All paragraphs should be indented. You must follow the citation protocol as articulated on the plagiarism handout for all quotes. All definitions must be coated from this reading.

Tutor Answer

School: New York University

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Reflection on Personal Moral Progression


Reflection on Personal Moral Progression

Experts define moral progression as the development in the ethical discernment of
individuals as they grow in experience and age, entailing a deepened understanding of social
behavior or ethical beliefs. The concept of moral progress is hinged on three distinctive aspects
of the notion, and clarity in their establishment constitutes the complete definition of the idea of
moral progression. The full characterization of the notion entails the establishment of a
distinction between a weak and robust concept, the different levels of the changes in moral
development, and the substantiation criteria of moral progress.
Interestingly though, personal moral progression is fiercely independent and touches on
the individual perception of societal issues. Personal moral progression, therefore, is quite
distinctive from one individual to the next, and development evaluation may escape even the
individual on whose life the change occurs. With help from “The Shallowest Man” by Woody
Allan, the paper herein seeks to undertake an exploratory route on matters personal progression
and drawing lessons from the book’s more notable characters, including Lenny Mendel.
Summary of the Mendel Situation
In the story told by Kopelman, Mendel is an individual in a group of four acquaintances
who meet once weekly to play a game of poker over drinks and have a little chitchat in their lives
and have fun. Though not friends per see, the group gets concerned when one of them gets
cancer and has to be hospi...

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