You are to select one of the following three prompt questions and compose an essay of no less than 800 words—or, roughly, 3 full pages, double spaced, size 12 Times New Roman font, standard margins— and no more than 1,200 words (roughly 5 full pages
Q.1) According to Saint Augustine, how is the world ordered, and what does such order suggest about the nature of God? One would do well to consider the following: Plotinus’ notion of the One; emanation versus voluntary, loving creation ex nihilo; The Great Chain of Being; being as intelligibility; the metaphysical status of nothingness.
Q.2) What is the problem of evil in Saint Augustine’s thought? Consider some or all of the following in your response: both types of evil (natural and moral, which is to say, evil as privation of good/intelligibility and moral evil), the free will and its corruption, spiritual conversion rather than mere ascertainment of knowledge, Augustine’s interpretation of the Fall of Man, Augustine’s notion of babies, the Great Chain of Being as a hierarchy of values; pride; the nature of sin; original sin; loves, both ordered and disordered, and the crucial distinction between objects of love as ‘used’ versus ‘enjoyed.
Q.3) Saint Augustine identifies himself as a Neo-Platonist, following in the tradition of Socrates and Plato (as well as Plotinus); in what way is Augustine’s thought similar to, different from, and a development of or deviation from Socrates and Plato’s philosophy? Feel free to focus on any feature(s) of their respective thought and offer a nuanced comparison and contrast thereon.
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