- Compare and contrast the classical worldview with the medieval. Be specific.
- What does it mean to say that human beings are susceptible to principles of reason? Give examples of principles of reason. What is their connection to the origins of scholastic philosophy?
- Explain what Augustine was getting at when he said “I was so blind to the truth that among my companions I was ashamed to be less dissolute than they were.” As part of your explanation, assess the role of struggle in Augustine’s life. What was struggling with what?
- State the problem of evil, and explain how the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God generates the problem of evil. How does Thomas solve the problem of evil? What do you think of his solution? Explain.
- Can God make a rock so large He cannot lift it? Why is the question significant? Explain.
- Is there any other explanation for motion besides an “unmoved mover”? If so, what is it? If not, is Thomas’s conclusion sound? Convincing? (page 231)
- Discuss the cosmological argument. Is Thomas’s reasoning sound or not? Are you comfortable with the possibility that there is no “first cause”? If there isn’t, can we explain the existence of the universe at all? Discuss. (page 232)
- Scholastic arguments often hinged on whether or not something was conceivable (clearly imaginable). One cardinal principle held that no one could even conceive of absolute nothingness. Do you agree? Explain. Whether or not you agree, do you find the argument from necessity convincing? Discuss. (page 234)
- Do you have any sense of grades of being? Is there anything in your own experience that supports Thomas’s argument? Discuss the argument from gradation. (page 235)
- Is order the same thing as design? Does the universe seem to be ordered and “intelligently” designed? Discuss. (For more on this intriguing topic, see Chapter 10) (page 236)
- In 1999, the Kansas Board of Education attracted national attention when it ruled against mandating the teaching of evolution in science classes. This sparked an ongoing national debate concerning, among other things, the adequacy of explanations of the origins of life. Do you think distinguishing between explanations inside a system and explanations that account for the system as a whole could help avoid controversies regarding science versus religion in our schools? Why? (page 238)