Central Texas College Metaphysical Developments Before Socrates Discussion

Question Description

DB #1

Metaphysics

What metaphysical developments occurred during the time period before Socrates? Metaphysics has to do with the questions: What is real? What is most real and upon which other things are dependent? What is matter, idea, soul, divinity, form, substance, cause-effect, space, time, etc. You don’t have to discuss every thinker. Discuss at least 3 of the 12 thinkers listed below. Can you relate to any of these thoughts today? Does early philosophy remind you of your early childhood in any way? These thinkers include: Homer, Hesiod, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the Atomists.


DB #3

Deity

How is Aristotle’s theory of deity like the Christian view of deity, and how is it unlike the Christian view?

Metaphysics

Discuss the differences between Plato’s, Aristotle’s and the Stoic’s theories of reality. Plato and Aristotle are considered 2 of the top 3 philosophers in the history of philosophy. All other metaphysics until the 1800’s are thought to have either Platonic or Aristotelian elements in them. It is extremely important for understanding the history of ideas/civilization that you understand the Platonic/Aristotelian distinction.

Epistemology

Discuss the differences between Plato’s, Aristotle’s and the Stoic’s theories of knowing. Plato and Aristotle are considered 2 of the top 3 philosophers in the history of philosophy. All other epistemologies until the 1800’s are thought to have either Platonic or Aristotelian elements in them. It is extremely important for understanding the history of ideas/civilization that you understand the Platonic/Aristotelian distinction. How can you relate to any of these ways of knowing today? Can you give a concrete example of how you have seen the Platonic/Aristotelian distinction in you life?


DB #6

Ethics

Give an example from your experience of Marx’s claim that what appears to be an ethical change at the idea or theoretical level, actually had (or you suspect had) economic reasons behind it.


DB #7

Political Philosophy

There were no developments in political philosophy this week. In Wittgenstein’s theory, he claimed that ideas have no one meaning but are defined by a group of family resemblances. Political philosophy is concerned with the concept of ‘justice’ or ‘fairness’. As criteria for justice, thinkers have suggested equal distribution, distribution based on need, and distribution based on merit/dessert, among other things. Using things like Xmas bonuses, Pell grants, the US tax system, the death penalty for murder, etc. discuss (like I did with ‘games’ in the notes) why the ‘just or fair’ way to distribute these things illustrates that ‘justice’ doesn’t have one meaning, but rather it is a group of family resemblances.



Prof. Angela

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