Philosophy Questions, Essay Example
Question 1. Thucydides versus Plato on the nature of the Good Life. Some have claimed that Thucydides is making empirical claims, whereas Plato is making normative claims. Is that true?
Thucydides can be termed as one of the prominent Athenian generals a role he combined well with his impressive knowledge in history. The historian is credited for recounting the events that transpired during the Peloponnesian War, which was raged between Athens and Sparta from the Fifth Century BC to 411 BC. He was termed as being the father to scientific history owing to the strict standards he placed on evidence-gathering and deep analysis based on actual causes and effects of events without referring to the gods as interveners. On the other hand, Plato was a Greek philosopher as well as being a mathematician who studied under the guidance of Socrates. Plato was the founder of the first recorded institution (Academy in Athens) of higher learning. His contribution to science and philosophy was enormous and respected in modern studies.
The claims made by researchers and other philosophers on the contrasting characteristics off the two are correct as Thucydides made empirical claims while Plato made normative claims on the nature of the “Good Life.” The nature of the “good life” as discussed by Thucydides considers the behavior during the Peloponnesian War in empirical terms and this works describe his approach towards issues. Plato wrote many books and dialogs and of particular to addressing the nature of the “good life” is “The Republic” that displays the normative thinking approach he relayed through his philosophical pursuits. The approach by Plato addresses good life from the perspective of perceived happiness that is fulfilled in a person’s life. The view further expresses the role of love in a person’s life as being superior to other needs and a person is deemed to have no additional desires in the presence of love in their life.
Plato was of the belief that the state off lack of desire on attainment of love was applicable to everyone and in addition, every person was in a position to obtain total virtue. Total virtue in this context is only attainable when a person has the love they need in the world and that every desire is satisfied by extension. However, his definition of the term love was not restricted to falling in love with an individual, but rather it was dubbed as achieving a mythical and synchronized understanding of the environment and world a person inhabits. Normative thinking is a philosophical ideal that involves the treatment and interpretation of issues based on defined values, ideals, and an understanding of how things and situations ought to be. This is clearly expressed in Plato’s book, The Republic, where he employs the use of normative philosophies through the application of principles of justice and the ideal society.
The views expressed relate to how the society is supposed to function and this echo the principles of the normative approach. Plato’s focus in the book is on justice, which he describes as the ultimate source of a man’s happiness and the greatest virtue that can be attained. The vivid description of justice as being part of the soul that performs its assigned role with a delicate balance is intriguing and borders to placing expectations of perfection and excellence. Excellence is another virtue that Plato attaches as a source of real happiness and thus causes fulfillment of desires. Excellence is thus obtained through performance of assigned and expected function of the soul and all the parts must contribute to the overall excellence of a person. The soul of man is characterized by three parts, which include the spirit, the mind, and the body.
The spirit is responsible for the courage a person needs, the mind is responsible for decision making, and the body serves the role of regulating related pleasures. According to Plato, the three parts of the soul must work in tandem for attainment of happiness and this paints an ideal situation rather than an empirical situation. Thucydides approach was different from that of Plato as described in his book through a recount of the Peloponnesian war. The view by Thucydides on life was based on political assertions. His conclusion was that life was driven and determined by the political nature of a nation and thus its peoples actions were because of the actions taken by the political elite. This notion was arrived at after observing the war and its effects on the people. His political interpretation delved on the weak being dominated by the strong, prevailing anarchy in international relations, and the primacy of self-interest, which superseded sentimental and emotional considerations.
The three factors were in clear contradiction with an image that had been created by the Greek people. The attitude of persons shaping their destiny was disregarded as he established that individual lives were under the control of the ruling class in the country and across the world. The ruling class subjected citizens to operate according to their wishes and thus good life was at the bequest of a few people within a country. Nations had different leaderships that operated like anarchies with interest in acquiring more land and this led to wars and by extension denting international relations. The level of interest within different governance structures determined the direction of multitudes and this opposes the notion by Plato on a soul being the determinant of happiness.
Question two. the biblical view of science, technology, and the business world. Back up your conclusions with examples from your reading. How do you think the eighteenth-century world that gave rise to the Utilitarians reacted to the biblical view?
Science, technology, and the business world have been the source of inquiry in their practices and relation to biblical teachings. Biblical Worldview of science, technology, and the business world is a concept that was coined in relation to development of the relationship between the different pursuits of man and their adherence to biblical teachings. Christianity, including Catholics and Protestant segments, has been dominant amongst other religions across the globe since time immemorial. The values and practices held dear by Christians worldwide derive their power from biblical teachings that have spurred individual beliefs and perspectives towards different activities. The massive influence of biblical worldviews on the business world, science, and technology needs critical evaluation.
The first worldview that can be translated on issues dealing with science and technology infers that science is not in a position of determining its own destiny. Science and technology are under the control and influence of moral teachings furthered in the Bible and developments and their use are subject to different constraints. Some constraints are imposed by biblical teachings such as on idols and thus people are hard pressed to use some equipment, which might be perceived to have idolism connotations. Individual people who are guided by moral restraints placed on them by biblical teachings make decisions on different scientific and technological advancements. For example, developed technology to be used in a business in the finance section might face opposition from the finance officer who makes a decision based on ethics.
Ethics as prescribed in the Bible define what is right and wrong and this is a decision call on an individual who acts on their own religious conviction as opposed to basing their ideals on profit making goals of a company. This indicates that some choices and values, which are not incorporated in science, technology, and the business world, have lasting effects. Such values supersede established norms set in the business and scientific world, which do not necessarily reflect on the initial purpose of some technology and its use. Scientific and business worlds have no control within their respective disciplines to control decisions based on personal values. The Bible emphasizes on the role of God in creation of the world and its inhabitants a fact that conflicts with different scientific notions and this creates a major point of conflict.
God, according to the Bible was the originator and thus science and technology is expected to enhance his creations by recognizing his power. The biblical worldview of science emphasizes on God being at the center of all scientific and technological advancements. Scientific and technological progress should be with the aim of glorifying God and continuing with his creation as opposed to individual prowess and gratification. The business world derives many of its values from the biblical worldview, which promotes the working culture, as well as the development of individual talents. God commanded man to fill and subdue the earth while at the same time exercising dominion over all creation. This mandate by God furthers the biblical worldview that science and technology is amongst man’s pursuits in fulfilling the command. The biblical worldview of business emphasizes on men engaging in productive activities, thereby glorifying God, and acting in accordance to his principles in which he acted as an example of the need to work.
The eighteenth century was hugely affected by biblical worldview on the three aspects due to the increasing level of technology, which was coupled with increased decay of business practices that included oppression of people through slave trade. Utilitarianism emphasized on the adherence to ethical behavior while at the same time maximizing on utility and thus by extension leading to the attainment of happiness through reduction of suffering. Ethical behaviors shaped the progression of scientific and technological evolution as well as influencing business practices. The principle held in utilitarianism draws support from the teachings of Jesus where he emphasized on a person doing to others what they would wish to be done to them and thus decisions made on the three fronts should lack negative impacts on others.
The most significant effect of biblical worldview on the three aspects was the morality of actions and products where morality could be measured by the outcome of an action. Business practices should be devoid of corruption and other related malpractices. This was exhibited by strong advocacy against exploitation of people for personal gratification. Developments in science and technology were highly criticized in the eighteenth century where people adopted utilitarianism for the lack of incorporating ethics in different processing levels. The biblical worldview asserted that science, technology, and the business world were a-moral. This meant that the three disciplines could not be judged on their morality without relating to their execution. The morality of the three lies with their execution and the various methods they are applied and affect people’s lives. The biblical worldview of science emphasizes on all technologies and advancements to draw their power from the Bible.
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