UCLA Philosophy Purpose of Hu

Part 1 Assignment: What is the Purpose of Human Life?

What is your goal in life? Source: Flickr.

Aristotle’s view of life is a teleological one, meaning that it has a goal. All things have goals, he says. For example, the goal, and therefore the purpose of an acorn, is to become an oak tree. The goal of a tadpole is to become a frog. Since we know that as a materialist Aristotle did not believe in an afterlife as a goal, what can be said about the goal or purpose of human life? Aristotle’s answer to this question is a refreshing change from Plato who believed our goal is that our psyches travel to the world of Forms and discover absolute truth and goodness, and to the Sophists who focused on material success and wealth as our ultimate purpose. Aristotle’s answer is connected to his idea of causality and to an understanding of the function of a thing. To explain Aristotle’s conception of the purpose of human life, review the chapter discussions on the four causes and on the purpose of nature. Explain the four causes, and explain how our nature is tied to our function and purpose to reach the mature state of humanness. What is your view? Does his answer satisfy you?


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Part 2 Discussion: Aristotle’s Logical Method

Aristotle’s Logical system includes fallacious language that is often believed and yet is seriously misleading if not wrong. View the following video on common fallacies and then test yourself by determining the kind of fallacy committed in each of the examples below the video. Post your answers and see how you measure up to your classmates. If your answer differs from your classmates, try to sort it out among you to determine the correct answer. I’ll provide the correct answers in my comments to your post.

Source: Five Fallacies/Idea Channel/PBS Digital Studios.

What is the fallacy committed in the following examples?

1. You know Justin Bieber is a crumby musician. Just read all the stories about him.

2. I didn’t vote for him because he’s a dufus.

3. America: Love it or leave it.

4. You think I’m fat! At least I don’t need to be weighed on a loading dock scale.

5. John isn’t guilty of stealing the firm’s money. People like John don’t do things like that.

6. Everyone who is against capital punishment sees it as cruel and unusual punishment.

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