- Augustine: Man of Faith? – Many people argue that faith plays a greater role than does reason in coming to know and establish a relationship with the divine. Where do you think Augustine would side on this issue? Cite passages from the text and show how/when he deduces things about God via the power of reason, and when he submits to faith and revelation. Is he more a man of faith or a man of reason?
- Descartes: Piece of Wax – Carefully examine Descartes’ rumination on the piece of wax in Meditation 2. What things about the wax does he know from experience? What things about the wax does he know through the innate rational power of his mind? After you have fully presented Descartes’ views, critique or defend them. Is his assessment of how we acquire knowledge convincing? Do you think we learn more via experience than he lets on? Do you think we learn more via our reason than he lets on?
- That May Be True in Theory – In Kant’s Conflict of the Faculties, he argues that philosophy has incontestable jurisdiction to comment on more practical fields like theology, law, and medicine. In many ways, he is arguing that you cannot put into practice a body of knowledge without reckoning with the theory behind it (philosophy being said theory). What do you think Kant would make of the phrase “That may be true in theory, but does not apply in practice?” What do you make of this phrase in light of Kant’s comments?
4. Áskēsis – In the Genealogy, Nietzsche argues that the ways in which we view and treat ourselves are structured by the lingering after-effects of both noble and slave moral systems. Choose a practice that people today do in order to take care of themselves in some way, some practice that people think makes them better, and analyze it. Do current narratives on this practice appear to arise from a noble way of thinking? A slave way of thinking? Or is Nietzsche’s presentation inadequate for addressing this practice? Examples include diet, exercise, bathing, education, art, masturbation, blogging, etc.
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