philosophy journal 14

The following is a journal entry a student submitted in a past semester. Note what makes this a good entry:

  • It is at least 150 words in length
  • It is written clearly and understandably
  • It shows evidence of thoughtfulness

“The design argument for God’s existence is interesting to me but I’m not sure I can fully endorse it. It argues that because there is design throughout the universe, there must be a universal designer, i.e., a god, in turn. However, when considering the endless probabilities and eons that our world has gone through, this argument is somewhat disproved. We know many different “designs” are merely adaptations, and often times we, as humans, tend to “see” a design when there is, in fact, none there (like seeing faces in electrical sockets). The design argument also does not account for entropy found in nature, and the general decline into disorder that can be found in many systems – surely a designer wouldn’t design that? Also, there are the many examples of natural disasters and tragedies that mar our world, and which place the idea of a designer in doubt. I like to relate this problem to what we read in the introduction to Philosophy Made Simple, about the Book of Job in the Bible. Even a believer in God such as Job had trouble understanding how a good and almighty God could be responsible for all the disorder happening in his own life. So again, while the design argument is interesting, I do see some problems with it, and how it could be challenged by a skeptic.”

Select any one of the following topics/questions to write about.

1. Plato presents an argument against democratic forms of government. Do you agree with his criticism of democracy? Do you think his preferred alternative–aristocracy, or rule by the “best”–is superior to democracy? What problems do you see with his model of good government?

2. Thomas Hobbes’ political theory is based on his very bleak, pessimistic view of human nature. Is her right in his assessment of human nature? Do you think conflict is inevitable between human beings, whenever they are not rigidly controlled? Would you prefer to live in a state governed like Hobbes’ idea state? Is trading personal freedom for security a good trade-off?

3. John Locke offers a milder view of human nature than that of Hobbes. Do you think his judgment of human nature is more accurate than that of Hobbes? Would you care to comment on any specific aspects of Locke’s model of good government?

4. Imagine you were given the authority to change any one feature of the United States Constitution or operation of the federal government–what would you change, and why? Do you think your change would be a popular one?

5. Do you personally feel it is acceptable for governments to keep information from their citizens? What sort of government secrets would you consider acceptable, and which not? For example, should the federal government declassify all of its files on UFO’s, and on the John F. Kennedy assassination?

6.Write about any topic related to philosophy, inspired by your readings and the classes so far, or by your own experiences, thoughts, current events, etc.