[ORDER SOLUTION] Thought of Heraclitus and Parmenides

5-6 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, font 12   Due 12/12/20       Choose three topics, each referring to a different thinker, and write an essay-response for each.   Reflect on the truth-value and relevance of the ideas/hypotheses proposed in today’s world. Identify your own position in relation to it and justify it by adducing elements of your own experience-films, books included.       1. Pre-Socratic Cosmology. Briefly present and discuss the problem of One vs. Many and metaphysical hypothesis introduced by the Milesian thinker (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes) that impressed you the most. Explain by comparing him with the other Milesian thinkers. What is the relevance of his thought for you? Explain. Give examples.       2. Being and Becoming: Parmenides and Heraclitus. Briefly present and discuss the thought of Heraclitus and Parmenides. To make your point, you may choose to comment on Heraclitus’s aphorism:   “One cannot step into the same river twice”   Or refer to Parmenides: “Only Being Is. Nothing is not and cannot be.”   Which of the two thinkers is more interesting to you? To which one you can relate your own experience? Are you a Heraclitean or a Parmenidean? Explain. Give examples.       3. Present Sophism and discuss Protagoras’ relativism and Gorgias’ nihilism (Latin nihil, nothing).   Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things”   Gorgias: “Being is not. If it were, one would not know. If one knew, one could not express it.”   Do you agree with either one? Is sophism familiar to you and our present day thinking? Explain. Illustrate with examples.       4. Explain what Socrates means by “Unexamined life is not worth living.’ Do you agree? Why/why not? Are you a Socratic thinker? Explain.       5. Metaphysical Dualism: Plato. Present and discuss Plato’s metaphysical dualism of transcendent Ideas/Forms, the originals and Appearances or copies. You may refer to Socrates’ definition of philosophy as “the art or dying.” In light of Plato’s dualism, what do you think that means? Does it sound absurd?  Do you find it relevant to your own spiritual experience? Are you a Platonist? Explain. Illustrate.       6. Present and discuss Plato’s idea of knowledge as recollection as proven by Socrates in the dialogue Meno. Does it make sense, is it convincing? Would it explain personal intuitions or déjà vu experiences? Explain. Illustrate.       7. Present briefly and discuss Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in the Republic, bk 7. Do you find any truth in it? Either metaphysical or socio-political? You may consider watching the sci-fi film The Matrix (Wachovsky Brothers, 1999) to reflect further on Plato’s allegory. Are you a Platonist? Explain.                       8. Metaphysical Monism: Aristotle. Briefly Aristotle’s main metaphysical monism: his theory of the forms within or immanent to matter. Compare it to Plato’s dualism of transcendent Forms. Which of the two would you endorse? Are you an Aristotelian? Explain.       9. Present Aristotle’s teleology (Gr. Telos, purpose; logos, theory, thus “purposefulness,” “everything in nature has a purpose”; “nature does not do anything in vain”) and eudaimonia (commonly translated as “happiness”) as actualization of one’s full potential, the movement of every particular being from potentiality to actuality (Metaphysics, bk 7): from acorn into an oak-tree, from a human embryo into a mature human being, in whom reason becomes fully actualized in accord with moral and intellectual virtue.   What is the truth and relevance of this idea? Do you find it interesting, attractive, meaningful? Why/why not? Are you an Aristotelian? Explain.       10. Stoicism. Present and discuss the Stoic notion of apatheia (dispassionate state of mind, wise detachment) as happiness and cosmopolitanism (Gr. Kosmos, world; polis, city, thus “global citizenship”). What do you find valuable in them in today world and your experience? Why/why not? What is your own idea of happiness? Are you a Stoic? Explain.       11. Epictetus. Choose one article from Stoic Epictetus’ Passages and explain them to relation to Stoicism. What are the main ideas of the articles? Are they relevant in today’s world? Or in your experience? What do you find valuable in them?  Are you a Stoic? Explain.       12. Stoicism. Briefly present and comment on James Bond Stockdale’s biographic narrative (Courage under Fire: Testing Epictetus Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior ) of his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He argues that his Stoic attitude helped him and his companions survive the experience. Can you relate to it? Do you think Stoicism can help you in a difficult situation? If not, what would? Are you a Stoic?       13. Epicurus. Choose one of Epicurus’ “Maxims” in Ancient Collections of Maxims (recorded in Diogenes Laertius’ Epicurus: The Principal Doctrines and in The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings). Discuss Epicurus’ notions of hedonism (Gr. Hedon, pleasure) and ataraxia (Gr, a, privative, non; tarasos, tranquility) What do you find valuable or questionable, meaningful, absurd in them? Are you an Epicurean? Explain.       14. Skepticism. Briefly introduce the main features of Skepticism as presented in Sextus Empiricus’ Outlines of Skepticism: principles, beliefs, the end/goal, and suspension of judgment. What does suspension of judgment mean? What is positive and negative about Skepticism? Are you a Skeptic? Why/why not?                    15. Beginning of Western Theology: Augustine. Present and reflect on Augustine’s doctrine of original sin according to which the sin of Adam and Eve has been transmitted to each human being. That implies that human being, originally made in the image and likeness of God, has fallen and human nature has been tainted. Thus, human beings are incapable by themselves to be good: they need God’s grace. During the Pelagian Controversy, Pelagius denied Augustine’s doctrine of original sin. He argued that we are only responsible for our own choices and deeds and we cannot be accountable for Adam and Eve’s sin. He also argued that God’s grace is already present and that we do not need God’s grace to choose the good and do the good.   What is the truth-value of Augustine’s doctrine? What does it try to explain? In this dispute over the absolute necessity of God’s grace, do you agree with Augustine or Pelagius? Define your own position vis-à-vis this doctrine. Are you an Augustinian or a Pelagian? Explain. Illustrate.       16. Present and discuss Augustine’s doctrine of original sin by considering the famous episode of stealing the pears in Confessions, bk. II. According to Augustine, stealing of the pears—in the absence of hunger, or desire, and out of the perverse (evil) pleasure of wrong-doing, and engaging in a forbidden, evil deed—is proof of the universality of sinfulness. Sinfulness as a state of separation from God as ground of being and the Good, is the human condition after the Fall in need of God’s grace. What is your position towards Augustine’s doctrine of original sin? Can you relate to young Augustine’s experience of stealing the pears similar to Adam and Eve’s tasting the apple of good and evil? How else can you explain it? Are human beings fundamentally good or fundamentally evil? Are you an Augustinian?       17.  Present and discuss early scholastic controversies and introduce Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God. What are the specific marks of this period compared with the classics, Plato and Aristotle? What is the value of Anselm’s argument?       18. Present and discuss the high middle ages and introduce Thomas Aquinas as the towering figure of the time as well as of Catholic theology. What distinguishes Aquinas’ cosmological argument from Aristotle’s argument for the first final cause?       17. What is your favorite thinker or idea among the ones covered in the first half of the semester. What do you find most interesting/valuable/meaningful and inspiring ? Is it relevant to our own time or to you personally? Explain.

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