Value with reality

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  • Publicado : 19 de mayo de 2010
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Written Assignment 6
Answer any three questions in no more than one page each. (1a and 1b and 4a and 4b are separate questions.)
1. Jones, p. 15, points out that Plotinus identifies "value with reality," and goes on to say that "Many people today are probably out of sympathy with the frame of mind which underlies this equation." The course guide commentary elaborates on this by pointing outthe three principal stages of emanation: spirit, soul, and matter. This leads to a position that sees matter as being of less value than spirit; in some elaborations of the position, matter is evil. The body is a cage for the soul, so the soul can only truly be freed when it leaves the body. Answer either a or b, two questions arising from this position.
a. How does this position compareand contrast with Plato's idea of the relationship between body and soul? With Aristotle's? With the others we have studied?
b. When the stages of emanation are spelled out more thoroughly, they often lead us to a "great chain of being" idea. One way this has been spelled out is in the following hierarchy: God, angels, human beings, animals, plants, inanimate objects. Some contemporarywriters argue that this "chain of being" mentality has contributed to our ecological problems as well as other problems. Some, for instance, have argued that within the chain, we have expanded the level "human beings" to "men," followed on a lower level by "women," then "children." Others argue that it has been expanded to "white men," followed by "non-white men," while others have constructed thelevels as "rich men," "rich women," "poor men," and "poor women." Is this a proper use of Plotinus' notion of emanation? How would we argue to support or to challenge these interpretations?
2. Jones, p. 20, suggests reasons for the success of Christianity. He also points out that Christians would more likely attribute the success of their religion to a "divine plan." This is probably also trueof a Muslim, Sikh, or Taoist. Does philosophy give us any hints as to how such a discussion could be moderated? That is, what have we learned so far that would help the believer in a religious system argue his or her point or help the non-believer argue against the "divine plan" approach?
3. Jones points out that, in Christianity, Jesus was not interested in providing a set of rules for aperson to follow but in promoting a change in the individual's overall way of looking at life. Give examples of philosophers or philosophies we have studied that tend more toward providing rules and those that tend more toward providing a basic reorientation of the entire person.
4. Jones discusses the idea of orthodoxy and heresy by discussing the process of institutionalization and bypresenting several heresies and the institutional response. But the Jesus whom Jones presents was not interested in creating a rigid set of rules. Answer either a or b.
c. How do you think Jesus would view the process that took place after his death? (Make sure you are using the Jesus presented by Jones as you answer this question. You may include your own insights, but please first ground youranswer in the Jesus presented in the text.)
d. Can the insights of a thinker whose goal is primarily to challenge existing structures ever be institutionalized? Keep Socrates and the Skeptics in mind as you answer this question.
5. Discuss the idea of evil � how it is explained and how it is overcome � as a theme running through the heresies discussed by Jones.

Jones, p. 15, pointsout that Plotinus identifies "value with reality," and goes on to say that "Many people today are probably out of sympathy with the frame of mind which underlies this equation." The course guide commentary elaborates on this by pointing out the three principal stages of emanation: spirit, soul, and matter. This leads to a position that sees matter as being of less value than spirit; in some...
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