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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review for Final Exam: Part 1

Before taking the Final exam, Philosophy 301 students should review the following information and quizzes. Review well as you have only ONE attempt. All course work must be completed before midnight on May 11.

Lesson 1: Ethics of Archaic Communities

Archaic communities discussed in this lesson are small populations between 5000 and 800 B.C. about which we have sufficient information through anthropological, archaeological and linguistic studies.  These were clan based and governed by a council that consisted of a chief, a holy man, and a number of leading married men. Labor was divided along the lines of gender and caste. The oldest know castes included rulers, priests (often the same person), warriors, and craftsmen such as metal workers and leather workers.

Ancient Law Codes

The earliest law codes date to the between 5000 and 2000 BC and reveal a high level of sophistication. These codes reflect an already well-established practice of codification of laws. The laws were both practical and religious in nature. They derived their authority from the king who was regarded as the earthly representative of the deity.

Citizens were morally obligated to obey the laws because they were regarded as divinely inspired and given through the king. This concept of moral obligation to obey the law continued through the 17th century, finding its European expression in the concept of “the divine right of kings” to make and enforce laws. However, regnal corruption and extravagance led to the adoption of the Magna Charta which forced the English king to acknowledge limits to his powers and to protect the rights of the feudal barons. The Magna Charta is considered the first form of a “bill of rights” in the English language.

Blood and Blood Guilt

Bloodshed was one of the principal ethical concerns of archaic man.  Archaic societies regarded the shedding of blood to be a moral issue of the first magnitude. The shedding of human blood, either as an act of murder or in war, caused anxiety or “blood guilt” because it could bring curses or great misfortune to the killer.

Priests addressed the guilt and anxiety felt by individuals and communities when human life was taken. They offered prayers and sacrifices to cover the offense to the Creator. Shamans offered prayers and sacrifices to appease the spirits of the dead so that these spirits would not bring harm to the individual or the community.  The person who intentionally murdered was often expelled from the community.

While priests and shamans served similar functions in their communities, their worldviews were different. The priest sought to restore a right relationship to the Creator whose law was violated, while the shaman sought to appease the spirits that bring calamity to the community because of the offense.

Social Organization of Archaic Communities

The earliest form of government was the tribal council. The tribal council consisted of the chief, his advisers called “elders” and the holy man (either a priest of shaman). Social and political organization among archaic peoples reflected the hierarchy of kings, tribal rulers, priests, warriors, and prophets.  Rulers married royal brides. Kinship was the basis of alliances between rulers of adjoining territories.  Moral obligation to obey the ruler was based on the loyalty to kin and on the belief that the ruler’s power came by divine appointment.

Royal advisers studied the stars and constellations because it was believed that humans are to order their ways on earth according to the celestial pattern. This idea is found in these words of the Lord’s Prayer: “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Concern about following the celestial pattern led to the development of sidereal astronomy. By studying the relationship of stars and their heavenly movement, the ruler’s advisers calculated the most auspicious time for sacred ceremonies, royal weddings, times to plant and harvest, or to go to war.

Archaic peoples wanted to know their time and place relative to the heavens because they were concerned about not violating perceived boundaries. These boundaries are the framework within which ancient Man deliberated ethical concerns.

Archaic man observed binary patterns in nature and reflected on these patterns. This led to more complex thought, just as the simple binary language of computers – 01 – has led to great complexity. The 20th century philosopher Jacques Derrida noted that binary sets or binary oppositions, such as male-female, are not simple. They point to complex relationships and hold meaning on many levels.

Related reading: Theories of Change and Constancy; Plato's Debt to Ancient EgyptEthics and Binary Oppositions

Quiz 1: TRUE or FALSE

___ Archaic communities had no way to deal with guilt. (F)

___ The Code of Hammurabi is the oldest known law code. (F)

___ Obligation to obey laws was based on belief in the ruler’s divine appointment. (T)

___ Priests and shamans serve different functions, but represent the same worldview. (F)

___ Blood shed caused anxiety in archaic communities. (T)

___ Rulers supported technologies like boat building, mining and metal work. (T)

___ The oldest form of government was the tribal council. (T)

___ Sidereal astronomy developed out of concern to understand celestial archetypes. (T)

___ The custom of codifying laws already existed 5000 years ago. (T)

___ Seers or prophets were not part of the archaic socio-political hierarchy. (F)

Multiple choice: Select the best answer.

Ancient moral codes addressed the following concerns:
  1. retributive justice
  2. concerns about blood and water
  3. treatment of slaves and diplomatic messengers
  4. all of the above

Morality in ancient times was based on the following belief:
  1. the priest is always right
  2. the spirits of nature must be appeased
  3. whatever the king decides is morally right
  4. as in heaven, so on earth

Archaic “wise men” studied the heavens in order to:
  1. understand the celestial pattern
  2. be careful not to violate divinely established boundaries
  3. be able to predict solar and lunar eclipses
  4. all of the above

The social organization of archaic societies included all but the following:
  1. priests and shamans
  2. royal advisers
  3. philosophers
  4. warriors

The earliest sciences developed out of the following concerns:
  1. to perform sacred ceremonies at the right time and season
  2. to improve food production
  3. to heal the sick
  4. all of the above

Lesson 2: Ethics in Ancient Greece

Metaphysics is the study of what is beyond the natural. Metaphysics is intertwined with epistemology (the study of knowledge) and ontology (the study of existence). The word "metaphysics" is composed of two Greek words: μετά (metá)meaning beyond or over, and φυσικά (physiká.) Physics pertains to the study of natural science. Aristotle's "first philosophy" writings were given the title "Metaphysics" by Andronicus of Rhodes, the editor of Aristotle's works. This simply indicated the chapters coming after the chapters on physics. However, from the Middle Ages the term "Metaphysics" has referred to "the science of what is beyond the physical." It is the exploration of the "stuff" of the universe, and what is beyond matter, time and space.

As philosophers debate the differences between Plato and Aristotle through the centuries, those differences come into focus. Consider again the contrast between their viewpoints:

  • Plato regards evil as the lack of knowledge of the Good.
  • Aristotle regards evil as something people do in violation of their happiness.
  • Plato regards morality as intellectual discovery, similar to mathematics.
  • Aristotle regards morality as a dynamic exploration of what brings happiness.
  • Plato maintains that there is but one Good for all people at all times (Absolutism).
  • Aristotle says that the good life will have different expressions, since what brings happiness is different for all people (Relativism).
  • Plato believes that only the leisure classes who receive training in intellectual and moral virtues are capable of knowing the Good.
  • Aristotle believes that all people have a responsibility to discover what constitutes the good for them.
  • Plato believes that the ideal society requires censorship to protect the weak.
  • Aristotle believes that censorship hinders the individual’s moral decision making.
  • Plato’s ideal king is a ruler who philosophically contemplates the Forms.
  • Aristotle’s ideal king is one who seeks the Golden Mean in both personal and public life.

Plato doubted Socrates definition of virtue as knowledge. Socrates insisted that before we can say anything about justice we must first answer the question “What is justice?”  Plato recognized that asking what justice is only leads to considering examples of justice and examples of injustice, but examples are not the same as the justice itself. Plato wondered how we are able to recognize justice when we are unable to define it.  He concluded that an unambiguous Justice must exist in the metaphysical (non-material idea) sense, and that we must once have known justice as an unchanging “Form” or we would not be able to recognize examples of it.

Plato’s Theory of Forms is based upon his belief that we are born into the material world from an ideal immaterial world where our soul was acquainted with Justice, Goodness, Beauty and Love.  We are able to recognize justice, goodness, beauty and love because our souls have innate knowledge of these non-material entities.  Plato believed that the good life requires philosophical reflection on the Forms.  He supported censorship in society because he believed that the citizen’s preoccupation with the trivial and the earthy posed obstacles to philosophical contemplation of the Forms.  In other words, Plato believed that there are pursuits and behaviors that can cause us to miss the good life.

Aristotle rejected Plato’s definition of the good life as contemplation of the eternal Forms. Instead he argued that what is to be known can be discovered from the study of nature. Aristotle agreed with Plato’s definition of virtue as knowledge, but the knowledge that mattered to Aristotle was not the knowledge of the eternal and imperishable Forms, but self-knowledge of what brings one happiness. This is the basis for eudaimonism, an ethical approach that holds personal happiness as the highest good. Aristotle understood personal happiness as a process of discovering the Golden Mean and moving toward one's destiny (teleology). He would not have agreed with view finds different the hedonists of the Renaissance or with the virtue of selfishness advocated by Ayn Rand.

Quiz 2: TRUE or FALSE

___ Socrates was concerned about the ethics of good citizenship. (T)

___ Plato’s ideal king is a ruler who philosophically contemplates the Forms. (T)

___ Aristotle and Plato agreed on censorship by the state. (F)

___ Gorgias believed that “Man is the measure of all things.” (F)

___ Socrates was executed by the Athenian Tribune. (F)

___ Greeks regarded the shrine city of Memphis as a center of great learning. (T)

___ In Eudaimonism sacrifice for the sake of others is the highest good. (F)

___ Sophists were less concerned with morality than the appearance of success. (T)

___ Stoics believed this is the best of all possible worlds to be passively endured. (T)

___ Plato advocated the Golden Mean by which one finds true happiness. (F)

Multiple Choice: Select the best answer.

The idea that entities in nature are the reflection of their true Forms
  1. was the basis for Plato’s thought called “Platonism”
  2. was evident in ancient Egyptian thought before Plato’s time
  3. requires that humans have innate knowledge stored in the eternal soul
  4. all of the above

Plato’s thought is characterized by all by the following:
  1. Absolutism
  2. Cynicism
  3. Forms
  4. Transmigration of the Soul

Aristotle’s thought is characterized by all but the following:
  1. Innate knowledge
  2. Eudaimonism
  3. Belief that the human is essentially a political creature
  4. The Golden Mean

Socrates viewed the Sophists with suspicion because…
  1. Sophist teachers did not pursue Truth
  2. Successful men are not always good men
  3. He did not regard them as philosophers
  4. All of the above

Aristotle defines evil as all of the following except
  1. the lack of knowledge of the true Form Goodness
  2. actions people do “against” their personal happiness
  3. failure to balance their desires between too much and too little
  4. failure to pursue one’s true destiny (teleology)

Lesson 3: Ethics of the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages lasted for 1200 years and was a time of innovation in technologies, education, theology, art, music and philosophy.

Augustine and other early Church Fathers attempted to distance Christian theology from the Greek philosophy that dominated intellectual circles of their time. Augustine, however, drew on some Platonic ideas, in developing his theology.  

Basil the Great argued against Anaximander’s theory that worlds come and go. Basil taught that this universe had a beginning. It did not come into being from the explosion of a previous existing universe, but rather is a de novo (totally new) creation.

Struggles arose between the Church in the East (Greek-speaking) and in Church in the West (Latin-speaking). The issues centered on questions of jurisdiction, theology and different interpretations of classical Greek writings that had been translated into Latin by Boethius.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire the Latin-speaking Church, based in Rome, filled the void as total social chaos threatened Europe. The Church restored roads and bridges, built churches, established monasteries that served their local communities, and founded universities where the greatest thinkers of Europe were educated.

The Law Code of the Christian Emperor Justinian improved the conditions of women, children and slaves. It made it illegal for fathers to sell their daughters as slaves and it granted widows the right to inherit the property of their deceased husbands. Pagan practices such as the abandonment of infants (a form of infanticide) and shrine prostitution were eradicated.

The medieval church engaged in theology, philosophy, science, music, art, languages and war. Not a single area of life was beyond the reach of the church which essentially replaced the governmental structures of the old Roman Empire. In Germany, monks encountered pagan practices such as the veneration of sacred trees. In Spain, people venerated the bull. Superstition abounded and formal education had all but disappeared in places like Scotland and Ireland. The Church had a big job rebuilding western society and restoring a reasonable faith.

Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, stressed the importance of reason and faith working together. He wrote, "For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand." (Proslogion, Chapter One) Anselm campaigned against the institution of slavery in the British Isles.

Augustine, Anslem and Thomas Aquinas agreed that one gains happiness by flourishing spiritually and this come from the knowledge of God.

Luther argued that the human will and human reason are not capable of grasping God.  To flourish spiritually one must set aside human efforts and rely entirely on divine grace. This view marked a radical departure from the teachings of Paul and the Church Fathers.

The Christian humanist, Erasmus, disagreed with Martin Luther on education, the Catholic Church’s authority, and the question of free will. He was able to distinguish good teachings in the pagan writings and affirmed these as valuable to Christians. In this he exhibited a more generous spirit than Martin Luther.

Erasmus and Luther reacted differently to the corruption and hypocrisy they encountered among some clergy and bishops of the Roman Church. Erasmus attempted to reform from within the Catholic Church, and Luther lead a movement out of the Catholic Church. Protestants call this movement “the Reformation” and Catholics call it “the Lutheran rebellion.”

Many wars were fought during the Middle Ages. Some were motivated by the desire of rulers to expand their territories and others through inciting religious wars. There was a general agreement about the grounds that constitute a just war: self-defense against a foreign aggressor, and suppression of rebellion within the ruler’s realm. Augustine, Aquinas and Luther agreed that the ruler alone has the authority to decide whether to engage in war.

Related reading: What Constitutes Just War?; The Not-So-Dark Ages; The Monastic Life; Dorothy Sayers' Lost Tools of Learning

Quiz 3: TRUE or FALSE

____ Erasmus believed that the seeds for a good life are in us by nature. (T)

____ Augustine, a 4th century bishop, built on Plato’s thought. (T)

____ During the “Dark Ages” there were few inventions and little creativity. (F)

____ Early Christian writers sought to distance Christianity from pagan morality. (T)

____ Aquinas believed that rational humans desire God and can act virtuously. (T)

____ Luther believed that humans can will to please God through their actions. (F)

____ The East-West separation of the Church is called the Great Schism.” (T)

____ Luther said that the state has authority to dictate matters of faith. (F)

____ Augustine and Aquinas agreed that the ruler alone has authority to make war. (T)

____ Jus ad bellum addresses what may justly be done in war. (F)

Multiple Choice: Select the best answer.

Ethical considerations of the Middle Ages included all but the following:
  1. the relationship of the church and state
  2. the relationship of faith and reason
  3. the education of women
  4. human nature after the Fall

In the Middle Ages challenges to Papal authority came from:
  1. the Lutheran movement
  2. those who criticized corruption and hypocrisy in the church
  3. the Eastern Church
  4. all of the above

Medieval theory of “just war” involved all but the following:
  1. war as a last resort
  2. the treatment of prisoners of war
  3. conditions under which wars can be justly waged
  4. just motivation and limitation of killing

Luther believed that our humanity was lost in the fall, resulting in
  1. the spiritual bondage of the will
  2. the darkening of human reason
  3. loss of the original “image of God” (total depravity)
  4. all of the above

In the Middle Ages bishops and emperors used their authority to:
  1. suppress the slave trade
  2. force a separation of church and state
  3. protect daughters from being sold by their fathers
  4. both A and C 

Lesson 4: Ethical Concerns of the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, rulers provided for artists and musicians who offered their services to their wealthy patrons. The more artists one could support, the more social status one had.  The system of patronage expanded to include noble families, organizations and cities. The competition between artists to draw the attention of patrons drove them to ever greater personal accomplishments.

Many of the famous artists of the Renaissance were gifted in drawing, painting and sculpture. Some, like Leonardo da Vinci, were also visionaries who drew images of future inventions. Some excelled in math and the sciences, as well as in art. This extremely talented figure stands behind the phrase “a Renaissance man.”

During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in pagan themes in literature and art. Pagans themes were often portrayed alongside Christian themes.  Often the two traditions were depicted as sharing similar values or contrasting values. Titan’s portrayal of Sacred and Profane Love is an example.

Competition was steep in literature and drama also. In the Golden Age of English drama there were ten famous playwrights competing for patrons.

Kings, bishops and nobles provided for artists and also took responsibility for family, servants and serfs who lived on their lands. They maintained armies and conducted diplomatic missions. They also defended the faith of their regions; Catholicism in Spain and Spanish holdings; Lutheranism in Northern Germany, and Calvinism in Switzerland.

Machiavelli believed that the ruler was to appear to be just and generous while dealing ruthlessly with his political opponents in secret.  He justified his political ethics by reasoning that Machiavelli justified this by reasoning that the ruler uses his power to benefit his subjects. The more powerful the ruler is, the greater his subjects’ benefits.

The humanism of the Renaissance stressed the dignity of man and the possibility of earthly rewards through individual accomplishments. Some humanists expressed the dignity of man in religious terms, stressing the image of God as an indelible mark. Pico della Mirandola believed that human dignity came with reason whereby humans can rise to the level of angels.

The Jesuits established universities throughout Europe and Catholic orders of nuns and monks founded many hospitals. Nuns and monks provided the nursing care and made important discoveries in the field of health care. Universities in Italy, Spain and Germany trained medical practitioners. Dissections were used to teach human anatomy.

Protestantism greatly influenced ethics during the Renaissance. Protestants developed ethical methods based on the principles of individual conscience and individual interpretation of the Bible, apart from the “Tradition” of the Church. Historically, Catholicism valued individual conscience as a God-given gift that can lead the individual to virtue. However, while the Catholic Church felt under siege from Protestantism and advancing Islam, this value was surrendered to the greater concern for obedience to the Church’s teachings.

Protestant rationalism coupled with Renaissance humanism prepared the way for modern ethics, based on human reason and individual conscience. This brings us to the eve of the Enlightenment, a new period in the history of Ethics.

Related reading: Aims and Means of Early Jesuit Education; Christopher Marlowe and the Golden Age of England; The Trial of Galileo

Quiz 4: TRUE or FALSE

____ Machiavelli argued that the good of society depends on the ruler’s power.  (T)

____ Some Renaissance rulers accepted torture as a way to deal with their enemies. (T)

____ Respect for the Papacy and Papal authority increased during the Renaissance. (F)

____ Patronage of artists extended beyond the church to families, cities and guilds. (T)

____ Catholicism encouraged individual conscience and personal interpretation. (F)

____ Humanism emphasizes heavenly rather than earthly rewards. (F)

____ Mirandola believed that through reason humans could become like angels. (T)

____ Copernicus proved that the earth is at the center of our planetary system. (F)

____ The Geneva Consistory controlled all aspects of civil and religious life. (T)

____ Religious wars and political strife lasted in Renaissance Europe for 3 decades. (T)

Multiple Choice: Select the best answer.

The Renaissance was characterized by all but the following:
  1. egalitarian society
  2. democratic society
  3. fully secular society
  4. all of the above

 Renaissance Humanism was influenced by all but the following:
  1. the thought of Erasmus
  2. the discovery of new worlds
  3. Papal authority
  4. the themes of classical paganism

Calvin’s Consistory was responsible for all but the following:
  1. the churches
  2. the functions of government
  3. Catholic orders
  4. the church’s teaching

Education and health care were aided by all but the following:
  1. human dissection
  2. the spread of diseases
  3. medical studies at the universities
  4. hospitals

The Ottoman Turks sought to:
  1. destroy the economy of Europe
  2. impose Islamic law on Europe
  3. establish commerce with Europe
  4. expand their empire to control the Mediterranean

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