Unit 1 Chapter 1
1. What are some things the allegory suggests about the process of enlightenment or education?
The allegory suggests that the process of enlightenment is brought forth through those people who have thought outside of the box. Those same people who have thought outside the box have set the standards and knowledge that we know today. If you never strive to think outside of what you don’t know, they you will never know what your missing out, and that is what enlightenment is about. The allegory suggests that you must keep looking up and further out to gain knowledge and be enlightened. The process includes stepping out of what you have always known.
2. The allegory presupposes that there is a distinction between appearances and reality. Do you agree? Why or why not?
I think that there is a difference between reality and appearance. Just like in the allegory, the prisoners killed the lone prisoner who was forced to go outside the cave. Humans do have the tendency to judge and comply with what we know already. We are very critical of the other side without actually investigating what the other side is actually like, and when we finally do branch out we become “enlightened.” A lot of things are like that though. People can tell you about anything, but until you see it with your own eyes you only see what it appears to be like.
Unit 2 Chapter 6
3. Do you think that being self-interested is a bad thing? If so, why? If not, why not?
I think that being self-interested is not a bad thing. I believe you have to be self-interested even if someone doesn’t want to be. What I mean by that is having a self-interest results in someone usually having success and being able to give back. So someone that sees himself as someone that has a calling still has a self interest, but can also focus on others and even give back. Someone has to be motivated by something in order to complete something typically and that could be fame or money or really anything. So, if someone is self-interested they are concerned about their general well being, and being able to live a good life, but also if they want to have the opportunity to give back to others.
Do you agree with Hobbes that our natural condition is one of lawlessness and violence? How do you think you would behave if you knew you could get away with whatever you wanted to? Do we only obey the laws out of fear of punishment?
I don’t agree that our natural condition is one of lawlessness and violence. I believe that once we are given restrictions, we naturally have the urge to go against the rules. If we were not given any regulations, most of society would not have a strong desire to be violent or become lawlessness. I think many people obey the laws because they are afraid of the consequences. But there are also people that are curious and want to see if they can violate the law while avoiding getting caught. Many people get a thrill from risks by knowing that they can get caught. If there were no laws, the risk factor would not exist.
Unit 3 Chapter 9
5. What does Sartre mean when he says “existence precedes essence”? Do you think this is a correct characterization of the human condition? Why or why not?
Sartre means that without a God, someone has to be present and essentially start the civilization before there is any meaning behind it. He is saying that the first person has yet to determine what being a person and life is all about. There had to be one being that was present before all other beings, which consequentially was before any thing was defined. Because I am a religious person, I do not feel that this is the correct characterization; however, if I wasn’t, I can see the sense in this logic. I understand how Sartre concluded that there would have to be one person to start it all and this one person, all alone, would have yet to have a determined existence and to make sense of what living and existing is all about.
6. Do you agree that if “God does not exist, everything is permitted?” Why or why not?
I disagree with this statement because I think people have a moral compass with or without God. I don’t think that without a God, the world would have no laws or no law abiding people. Maybe some people are stemmed by religion to be better people, but I still believe that people are aware of good and bad, and a lot of people do good deeds for the sake of it, and not just for God, for a religious benefit, or in hopes of a better afterlife.
I think there is far more depth to people than an inclination to be bad that is only prevented by a presence of God. This is evident in the many atheists who are good people and law abiding citizens. People, myself included, take it upon themselves as a duty to be accountable for actions. Freedom and lack of a God would not cause people to lose all sense of responsibility.