1. What does Tao Te Ching say about" name” or "naming"? Why is Tao known as nameless?
Tao Te Ching thinks that name to be named should not be the external name. It is because of this that the Tao to be told should not be the external Tao. He also refers to the nameless as the beginning of heaven and Earth. Being named is also being referred to as the mother of the ten thousand things. He also refers to the two springs that come from one source and differ in the name as the begging of darkness.
Tao is called the nameless because he was considered as the empty vessel. This vessel is used, but it is not filled. The Tao in himself is also undefined forever; however, small and unformed, it cannot also be grasped. He is also called nameless because he can also flow everywhere, to both right and left. Tao is nameless because he is taken to mean several things, like being diligent or as a comedian.
2. Which chapters from Tao Te Ching mention and /or explain Non-action or Wu-Wei?
These chapters are 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 76, 78, 80 and 81.
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3. How is Non-action different from the action or Yu-Wei according to Tao Te Ching?
Tao believes that no action is the best way that every person should conduct his or her action. He supports is a point through pointing out that even though no action is taken, nothing is left unturned. If many rulers and kings adopt this strategy, tens of thousands of things will develop naturally. However, when they decide to take some actions, the return would be simplicity of formless substances. Without the need of action, there will be no desires, and without desires, the world will be at peace.
4. Find and list the images and /or metaphors used for Tao in the book of Tao Te Ching
There is a metaphor in chapter five, where the Heaven and Earth are considered imperial, and can see the ten thousand things as straw dogs. The other metaphor is found in chapter 11, where it states that thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub. The third metaphor is found in chapter 15, where it talks about being watchful, like the men crossing the winter spring. The other metaphor is found in chapter 28, where the strength of man is termed as the perfect tailor who cuts little.
5. What is Tao's character? Refer to images/metaphors identified in the above question 4, and interpret them to describe the character of Tao.
Tao in the first metaphor identified is seen to be an imperial man, who does not worry much, and through this, he can figure out many issues without struggle. In the second metaphor, Tao is seen as the man who believes in a single leader and control over others. Tao in the third metaphor is seen as sensitive leader who does not leave anything to chance. From the last metaphor, Tao’s character is that who believes that the strength of any man should be immeasurable, and a man should not fear anything.
6. Brief summary of Anselm's argument about Gods existence
A God here is the one in control of the forces of nature according to Anselm. It is the consciousness that grows in the people’s heart with the requirement that one should always do righteous deeds. The punishment of going against the good will might bring calamities as some form of punishment from the forces of nature.
7. What is your response to Anselm's argument for the existence of God? Is Anselm's argument plausible? If so why? If not, why?
I also agree with Anselm’s view of the existence of God. From this perspective, the consciousness that grows in us all is the one that is directing people always to do virtuous deeds. This, as a result, has led to the existence of peace in the world. My support to this point is because there is enough peace. This is because, people are fearful of the unknown punishments that may bind them when they do evil deeds.
8. Briefly describe and define your view / vision of the "good life."
My personal view about a decent life is one which is remarkably successful and fruitful in terms of achievements. Good life refers to a life where all the requirements are met, and also people around an individual are fully satisfied. There should be peace all round for any condition to be considered good life. Good life is not being rich in terms of resources, but individuals with richness of the soul lead a happy and satisfactory life.
Part 2: The Essay Questions
1. What does it mean to live the Tao in Tao Te Ching? What practical advice is found in Tao's life?
The Tao type of life is considered to be a life that is full of boldness and courage of facing the unknown. From the metaphors found in Tao’s chapters, he compares the ruler as the pillar of which decisions are made. Therefore, he has high expectations and belief that people should be subjected to a single ruler and whom they should be answerable to. To live the Tao’s life also means that, in dwelling, one should be close to the land and in meditation; one should be deep in the heart. This life is also considered to be the one that is full of peace and harmony, since Tao advises the rulers to be gentle and king when handling their duties. He also emphasizes that the truth should prevail in all people and all rulings should be just.
Living like Tao means being pure in heart and with the desire to ensure there is peace all round. Tao in chapter 4 talks about avoiding quarrels through avoiding the need to exalt the gifted hands. Living like Toa also means no valuing and collecting of the treasures and also avoiding seeing the desirable things that might, as a result, bring confusions to the heart. In his idea, the wise rulers should be ruling through putting the self interests of the people first. This is seen in chapter three whereby Toa advises the rulers to rule by first emptying their souls, weakening their ambitions and also stuffing their bellies for the purpose of strengthening the bones. This chapter refers to taking the interests of the people first, since it is the main pillar that makes the community.
From the leadership that Tao advocates, the advice we get, is we should not be selfish in the doings especially the things that concern other society members. The leaders and rulers are also advised to take control of their positions and be able to give people the rightful directions. We also get the advice that ones we pure in the minds and free of selfishness, thousands of beneficial ideas will come by, thus improving the society’s life standards. From his chapters, we also learn the idea of leading by example, whereby the leaders are advised to have the honor as their soul drivers, practicing non-racism and advocating for the general peace of the whole universe.
2. Read Blackburn's book from page 168-175 on the problem of evil. What is theodicy?
What is Blackburn's response to the free will defense on the problem of evil? Is Blackburn's response correct? If not, Why?
This point is taken from the aspect of pursuit for success. Through the exceeding anxiety, there could be external pressure for one to thrive and do extraordinary actions that, as a result, leads to do the actions that are not pleasant to others. These unpleasant acts are the ones that are termed as the evil. To achieve success means achieving happiness, which inquires that there should be consistent commitments in such processes. Success is a gradual act that develops with time, and hence people should be patient enough and, as a result, avoid the anxieties will end up to becoming evil deeds. To some extent, Blackburn sees evil as acts of the unconscious minds. The external pressure and the need to achieve the high ends at first speeds push people to the walls of committing evil acts. These people commit such acts unaware of their impacts to others and end up regretting once they are back to their normal states of mind.
On the other hand, theodicy is a form of suffering that one endures with the aim of achieving a predetermined goal. Such case of theodicy in the bible is the story of Job. Theodicy is, therefore, the universal attempt of trying to resolve the evident problem of evil through reconciling with God. The authors view on theodicy; however, that is when someone was truly involved in an evil act in an unconscious state of mind he has the right to be forgiven if he reconciles before God for the cleansing of his soul. However, the circumstance of which one committed such an evil deed should be weighed, in order to determine whether truly it was committed under unconscious state of mind or in normal mind state.
Personally, I agree with Blackburn’s view of an evil deed as to some extent, some people end up committing evil deeds unknowingly. However, people who commit evil deeds with the pretext of disguising themselves that they committed them in an unconscious state of mind should face serious punishments. The actions of cleansing the evil deeds should involve the people who were wronged against and the evil committer. All these acts of evil are as an effect of fearful feeling of the looming punishments from the unknown forces of nature, such as lightening, storms among other calamities. Cleansing of evil is with the aim of promoting peace in the society which finally leads to harmony in the society.
3. What is ethical relativism? What is your opinion about relativism? What is the Strength and weakness? Defend your view, imagining that an opponent attacks your opinion.
Relativism is the term position whereby all the points of view are very equally valid. However, the involved individual is entitled to personal choice of what is true and also relative to them. The theories of relativism state that the truth is different for different types of people, since it is not easy to believe that different things holds different things to them. Relativism has three main slogans that are guiding their functions.
i) What is right for one person might not be right to the other person.
ii) What is right for one person’s culture cannot necessarily be right to the other person’s culture.
iii) There are no moral principles that are true at all time, to all and in all places.
Ethical relativism simply represents the position of absence of absolute morals, since no moral is simply right or wrong. Through this perspective, therefore, asserts the morals do evolve, and changes in the social norms evolve over periods of time. As a result, people end up mutating ethically since the culture, knowledge, and technology are changing in the society.
Personally, relativism has high chances of promoting immorality and evil deeds in the society. Someone can end up committing an evil deed with the pretext that it is right for him or her. It is an act that should be discouraged altogether, strict measures made to specify what is either right or wrong so that there are no chances of evil acts occurring in the society. The strength of relativism is that one can commit an act and stand his or her ground that it is right for his or her conscience. However, the weakness of relativism is that it seriously promotes evil acts in the society. One can commit an act of murder and claim through relativism that it is right for him or her.
However, through relativism, I can also defend myself on the ground of relativism since it provides the right to do so. Unless clear measures are made to distinguish what relativism is, every person is entitled to basic justice grounds. However, consciousness should be the real act that drives the people’s actions so that one can either figure out if he or she is going to commit an evil act. If everyone gets to grasp the point of relativism and knows how to defend himself or herself, then there would be no convicts of evil deeds in the society, especially the prisoners. Relativism allows one to defend himself or herself since what is right for one person might be wrong to the other person.
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