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Tutor profile: Matthew F.

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Matthew F.
University Graduate, Philosophy and Theology Nerd/Student
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Questions

Subject: Religious Studies

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Question:

Throughout church history, various debates have emerged concerning the person of Christ. Explain the controversy between the phrases homoousios and homoiousios.

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Matthew F.
Answer:

The Council of Nicea, in 325 AD, debated these terms as they tried to settle on a definition of the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Homoousios, from the Greek, means "same substance," while the term homoiousios means "similar substance." Arius, an early bishop, was swiftly pronounced a heretic and called upon to repent by the council for preaching that Jesus was in similar substance to the father. This is also where it is acclaimed that St. Nicholas punched Arius for his beliefs and unrepentance. However, the council settled on describing the Trinity in a homoousian relationship to one another (sharing in the same, eternal substance). It is important to note that the difference between heresy and proper doctrine differed by one iota, giving way to the phrase, "not differing even by one iota."

Subject: Philosophy

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Question:

According to Plato, what happens to the student in the cave allegory who is brought out from the cave?

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Matthew F.
Answer:

The allegory of the cave is meant to show a couple of things. First, the shadows that are projected onto the cave's walls symbolize the reality of those chained prisoners inside the cave. There is outside the cave, and there are objects which continually pass by the mouth of the cave (the shadows on the wall). However, because the prisoners have been chained there for their whole life, that is all they know. The shadows are their reality. But, Plato tries to teach a second thing: philosophy makes the philosopher like a freed prisoner who comes to understand that there is a better, truer form of reality (hence, Plato's theory of forms). However, the other prisoners do not want to leave the cave, for the light cast onto the walls is all they know. The true form (the sun and the figures which walk across the mouth of the cave) are incomprehensible to them. But the philosopher can see these things, for he is in search of the truest form. It is important to notice that throughout the allegory (and throughout the Republic) everything geared towards the "true" form always involves an ascension of some sort. In fact, even at the beginning of the Republic, Socrates must descend into the city to begin his discourse.

Subject: Government

TutorMe
Question:

Please explain the purpose and intention of Federalist Paper no. 10 in regard to the structure of American government.

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Matthew F.
Answer:

Fed. no. 10 is Madison's polemic for an American republic. Critics of the proposed constitution argued that the new government would be much too large for any sort of efficient response, whether it be defense or passionate uproar and change concerning legislation. Moreover, critics argued this "large" government would devolve into a tyrannical state. However, Madison relies on the presence of factions that would thwart a highly concentrated tyranny. By faction, Madison means "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community" (Madison, Fed. 10). The mere fact that the government expanded across the whole of the land necessarily meant that there would be many diverse groups of people with different concerns that would stand in opposition to the desires of another group. Thus, immediate concerns would give way to more unanimous concerns of the whole country, for a high volume of smaller, community interests in unachievable on a federal level.

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