Questions: Medieval View of Human Nature

(1) What factors lead to the fall of Rome?
(2) Describe the state of education and civilization in the years following the collapse of Rome.
(3) What role did the Christian Church and monasteries play in early years of the Middle Ages?
(4) Outline the general Christian view of humanity during the Middle Ages.
(5) What are the ontological arguments and cosmological arguments for the existence of God. What are their strengths and weaknesses.
(6) How are human rationality and memory important for meaning in human existence?
(7) What is meant by the idea that the Medieval human was one who existed on two different planes? How is each plane important?
(8) Describe the importance of holy relics and symbols orsigns in nature.
(9) How does the “permance” of medieval architecture, such as an old cathedral, act as a metaphore for the Medievial view of humanity?

Darwin

(1) What is natural selection? How do the ideas of continuity and variation play an important role in Darwin’s theory?
(2) What is the distinction between “evolution” and “natural selection?”
(3) What was (is) the religious objection to Darwinism?
(4) What is teleolgy? What role does it play in Darwinism?
(5) What is the “argument from design?” How does Darwinism affect it?
(6) What implications does Darwinism have for human nature and human morality?
(7) What is social Darwinism and eugenics, how have some argued that these are justified based on Darwinian theory?

Existentialism

(1) Describe the situation in Europe (especially France) that provided the context for existentialism. Who was its leading thinker?
(2) What is phenomenology?
(3) What is the function of consciousness?
(4) Describe the core of existentialism, “existence precedes essence.” And “God is dead.”
(5) What does it mean to be “condemned to be free?” Why does freedom produce anguish?
Origin/Descent

(1) How does Darwin answer his own question, “Why do we not see linking forms all around us?” (p.5)
(2) On page 7 Darwin compares human breeding of plants and aninals to “everacting form of Selection.” Explain how this works.
(3) On p.12 Darwin asserts “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone.” Why not?
(4) On p. 16 Darwin claims that viewing all creatures as related to each other rather than specially and separately created actually ennobles them. Why? Do you agree?
(5) At the beginning of Descent, Darwin argues that the mind of man is only different in degree compared to that of animals. How does he defend this statement?
(6) Why does Darwin argue that man’s relative weekness may actually have been an advantage in evolution (p.21)

Existentialism by Sartre

(1) How does does Sartre’s analogy of the paper-cutter help to explain the core beliefs of exentialism?
(2) What are the two meanings of subjectivism? What role to they play in existentialist thought?
(3) Why does the existentialist find it very disturbing that God does not exist? (P.90-91)
(4) How does Sartre use the story of the boy who must leave his mother and Jesuit to help elucidate existentialist ideas?

Objectivism

(1) Who are Attila and the Witchdoctor? What do they represent?
(2) P. 15, Discuss man’s unique reward that separates him from animals
(3) Why do Attila and the Witchdoctor rebel against reason? How do they do it?
(4) Who is the producer?
(5) P. 26, Rand says buisnessman and intellectual are the “twin-motors” of progress. Who are they and do they foster progress?
(6) On p. 35 (an on) Rand discusses what she calls the great treason of the philosphers. What is it?
(7) Who are the New intellectuals according to Rand? What “union” do they represent?