Political Theory : Lawful or Fair?

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WRITING STRATEGY: You must read all materials carefully and thoroughly before you begin to write. Remember to read the Discussion Question Expectations and Rubric. This will help you structure your answer appropriately. Think of this as a 3-paragraph model:

1) Thesis paragraph: “This post argues a, b, c”

2) Supporting paragraph, developing the “a, b, c” from Thesis paragraph

3)  Concluding paragraph: bringing your personal experience to conclude

  • One (1) “Original Post” addressing one of the three question choices. Academic style: three paragraph style, Thesis and support, 350 – 500 words. Your Original Post must answer the question fully in all its parts and address possible objections to your reasoning.
  • You must also connect your Original Post  to the course by having at least one full sentence quote and citation from one of the Learning Materials of the week. The quote should be word for word and contained inside quotation marks and then followed by an inline citation. Once you quote something or even reword something you did not originally write then you need to have it in a reference section at the end of the post (again in MLA format). Please note, a post that will be marked “B” will, typically, have 1 or 2 citations per paragraph and accompanying references. Aim for superior work! Cite and Reference everything you use.
  • Please refer to the following resources for help on MLA citation.
  • MLA Citation: http://sites.umgc.edu/library/libhow/mla_tutorial.cfm
  • MLA Citation Examples: http://sites.umgc.edu/library/libhow/mla_examples.cfm
  • Two (2) “Response Posts” to classmates who answered the other two questions (one each). Minimum of 150 words. Due Tuesday, April 5,  at 11:59PM ET. Your Response Post needs to analyze and consider the reasoning of two of your classmate’s Original Posts. In addition to your reaction to your classmate’s Original Post, your Response Post must ask one or two questionsof your classmate’s Original Post. Consider how you might disagree with your classmate’s Original Post, or ask your classmate to clarify some part of their Original Post that you didn’t understand.

Notes:

  • Please refer to the Discussion Guidelines and Grading Rubric for further guidance on how your discussions will be graded (70% of your Discussion Grade is in the quality of your Original Post, 30% in your Response Posts)
  • Do not cite or use internet sources other than those provided under the Readings and Learning Materials. In other words, use only the learning materials and links provided in this course.
  • No one can get full credit unless all three questions have an Original Post; since everyone is required to make one Original Post to answer one question and two Response Posts to the other two questions they did not answer, but that their classmates did. Thus, it is a group effort to make sure that all three questions have Original Posts, so please help us achieve this goal each week.

DISCUSSION QUESTION CHOICE #1 Ethics : Courage or Truthfulness? Read what Aristotle has to say about both in the Nicomachean Ethics (Courage: Book 3, Chapters 6-9; Truthfulness: Book 4, Chapter 7).

Answer the questionWhich is more important for a person to possess, courage or truthfulness?

Use the Nicomachean Ethics, the learning resources and your own reasoning to make your argument.  You cannot say both equally .

QUESTION 2 Political Theory : Lawful or Fair?: In Book 5, Chapters 1-6 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defines justice and injustice. Explore this idea in Aristotle.

Answer the questionIs it more important for society to be lawful or to be fair?

Use the Nicomachean Ethics, the learning resources and your own reasoning to make your argument.  You cannot say both equally. 

READINGS TO BE USED

Week Three Learning Resources

  1. REQUIRED READING

(1) [PRIMARY TEXT]  Aristotle and W. D. Ross. Nicomachean Ethics. Generic NL Freebook Publisher, 2000. Nicomachean Ethics.

The text of the Nicomachean Ethics, translated into English by W.D. Ross.

(2) Russell, Bertrand. History of Western Philosophy. vol. [New ed.], Routledge, 2004. Routledge Classics.

(a) Chapter 20: Aristotle’s Ethics, pp. 168-178

(3) Easterling, Marvin and John K. Roth. “Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle.” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia, 2013.

An Introduction to the Nicomachean Ethics.  [ADA: Audio option]

  1. SUPPLEMENTAL READING

(4) “Aristotle.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017, p. 1p. 1.

An introduction to the life and writings of Aristotle. [ADA: Audio option]

(5) “Political Theory.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017, p. 1p. 1.

A short introduction to the philosophical study of political theory. [ADA: Audio option]

(6) Greene, Jim, MFA. “Syllogism.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2017.

A short introduction to the Syllogism.  [ADA: Audio option]

III. SUPPLEMENTAL AUDIO/VIDEO

“PHILOSOPHY – History: Aristotle on the Purpose of Life [HD].” YouTube, uploaded by Wireless Philosophy, 4 Aug. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQk6t-9mQjE

MUST INCLUDE 3 -4 CITATIONS

SAMPLE

Scholars, below find a Discussion Post that ranked HIGH in terms of three basic aspects: Length, thesis and Structure, Citations and referencing. 

1) LENGTH and development (exceeded minimum word counts),

2) THESIS statement and academic structure (“This post discusses / argues points a,b,c), and

3) CITATIONS and references (Multiple citations each paragraph, citing PRIMARY DOCUMENTS and support; each citation fully referenced at end of post).

After reading Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, this post argues the conclusion than God does exist.  Aquinas proves this by demonstrating five different ways in which God exists: argument from motion, argument of cause, argument of contingency, argument of degrees, and argument of things that are lifeless (Green 2016).  But for us to understand these arguments we must understand Aquinas’ objection to an infinite regress, as it is a common point among his arguments.  Aquinas did not adhere to infinite regress as it would imply that any series of events would begin with nothing or never really began and it is just infinitely going (Green).  Now let us examine Aquinas’ “five ways” and why they prove the existence of God (Castaldi, 2013).

The first proof of God’s existence is the argument of motion.  Aquinas states that “whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion” (Aquinas, Article III).  This means that logically there must be someone that puts to motion something in the world otherwise that something just has been going on for eternity with nothing or no one to put it into motion.  It is hard to argue with that logic as there is nothing that can occur without something else putting it in motion.  For example, I would not be doing this assignment if not for a professor making it as such.  Hence, an event is put into motion by something or someone.  And because Aquinas dictates infinite regress is impossible then, “we must arrive somewhere at something which moves without being moved.  This unmoved mover is God” (Russell, 420).

The second proof that God exists also, “depends upon the impossibility of an infinite regress” (Russell, 420).   Aquinas determines that “There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible” (Aquinas, Article III).   Simply stated, there must be something or someone that caused an effect to happen.  You can trace certain things back that are caused by an effect but it, “cannot go back forever” (Green).  So, there must be some sort of causer.  It would be illogical to think that something is caused from nothing or the universe is just infinitely in causation.  As Aquinas says, “if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false” (Aquinas, Article III). How would we explain someone being killed in a car accident?  There is always a cause, drunk driving, texting, maybe falling asleep. The individual being in the car in the first place is a cause.  What if there was no causer, what then would happen?  Would people just be dying without a cause?  “Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God” (Aquinas, Article III).

The third proof that God exists is another example rooted in the impossibility of infinite regress.  Aquinas tells us that, “it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes” (Aquinas, Article III).  We must understand what is meant by contingent when Aquinas speaks to things being a necessity.  A “contingent being is a being that could have not existed” (Green) and the world and life would still move on without you.  Aquinas is saying it is illogical that we as beings could infinitely exist contingently because otherwise the world that exists today, “could easily have never existed” (Green).  Which can only lead us to a “necessary being that always existed, always will exist and can’t not exist” (Green).  This would be the same as my children for example.  Their lives are contingent on my being and essentially just getting lucky in life that they were born.  It was also contingent on their mother and me being together for if we were not, my children would not exist.  But this cannot go on forever there must be some stopping point. “Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God” (Aquinas, Article III).

It would seem easy to discount Saint Thomas Aquinas and his five ways if not for the simple fact that he is a believer in God.  But Aquinas did not merely espouse his own opinions or thoughts on religion in the Summa Theologica but instead, “gave credit for ideas and lines of thought to many earlier thinkers, and he found the seeds of much thirteenth-century belief in the works of previous philosophers.  His work, then, is a summary of past thinking on the highest subjects” (Castaldy).  Aquinas also used a Socratic method for answering the questions in his arguments giving an atmosphere of fairer treatment to opposing arguments (Castaldy).  Finally, the “practicality of the Thomistic viewpoint makes it appeal to scientifically minded modern thinkers” (Castaldy).  All of these must be considered positives when determining the credibility of Saint Thomas Aquinas when he formulates his arguments.  For these reasons and the “five ways” Aquinas gives proof of God’s existence is why God, does, in fact, exist.

 

 

References

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Translated by Kreeft, Peter. A Shorter Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 1993), chapter II

Castaldy, Daniel. “Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Literature, 2013

Russell, Bertrand. The History of Western Philosophy, Routledge Classics, 2004, 418-427.

Green, Hank. “Aquinas and the Cosmological Arguments: Crash Course Philosophy #10.” YouTube, Uploaded by CrashCourse, 11 Apr. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgisehuGOyY&index=10&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNgK6MZucdYldNkMybYIHK

 

Last Updated on March 31, 2021