INTRODUCTION TO CIVILIZATION-unit 4, question #3 - Essay Example

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In every way imaginable, it was a world where survival was the goal, and early death was all but certain. However, these early civilizations managed to survive due, in part, to their ingenuity and…
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Question #2- Compare and contrast the toolkit used by hunter-gatherers with that used by farmers. Early humans had to overcome insurmountable odds in comparison to modern humans. In every way imaginable, it was a world where survival was the goal, and early death was all but certain. However, these early civilizations managed to survive due, in part, to their ingenuity and adaptability, and the tools they crafted to aid them in their daily lives were a big part of that. These tool-kits differed from group to group depending on the needs of each individual society. In particular, the toolkit used by the hunter-gatherer groups differed greatly in some ways and were similar in others to the tool-kits of the farming groups.
The biggest similarity between the tool-kits of the farmer and hunter-gatherer groups were the materials that they tools were made from. According to Howard Spodek, author of the book entitled The Worlds History, tools were generally made of materials such as stone, wood, and bone(Spodek, 2006). Additionally, both hunter-gatherer and farming civilizations had tools for cutting and scraping specifically as these tools were necessary for every day life, according to Spodek(Spodek, 2006). Lastly, hunter-gatherer and farming communities utilized similar tools for their pottery, which was a big part of their lives in terms of its cultural implications, and its daily usability as storage for food, water, and other supplies(Spodek, 2006).
For the most part, however, the tool-kits between these two groups differed greatly. The hunter-gatherer society had tools that were geared toward hunting, fishing, and collecting. Spears, knives, harpoons, and baskets were the primary tools utilized by this type of society(Spodek, 2006). Farming civilizations, on the other hand, had tool-kits which were much more complex because they had much more variety in terms of their daily tasks. Instead of just creating shelter and finding food, farming communities were “domesticating animals…cultivating crops” and also developing culture in the form of “pottery and weaving and jewelry”(Spodek, 2006). According to Spodek, farming villages had tools such as “blades, knives, sickles, arrows, daggers…mortars and pestles…and rudimentary plows and hoes(Spodek, 2006). This toolkit would be considered much more advanced than the hunter-gatherer tool-kits.
Hunter-gatherer and farming societies contributed greatly to the success of humanity. Both groups had different goals and different experiences, which influenced the tools they needed on a daily basis. Due to the fact that hunter-gatherer communities began to evolve into farming communities by the Neolithic Age, it makes a great deal of sense that their tool-kits would also evolve along with them as humans became a more knowledgeable and skilled species.
Spodek, H. (2006). The worlds history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Question #2-Explain Socrates reasoning in passing up the chance to escape his sentence after being condemned to death on fabricated charges
One of the most influential and famous philosophers in human history was Socrates. According to Howard Spodek, Socrates contributed to philosophy by “introducing questions, methods of analysis and teaching, and examinations of the purpose of life”(Spodek, 2006). However, it was Socrates dedication to the idea of “the supremacy of the city-state over the individual” that made him an especially memorable philosopher as he essentially gave up his life for this belief(Spodek, 2006).
According to Spodek, Socrates was sentenced to death after being charged with “corrupting the political morals of youth and blaspheming against the Gods of Athens”(Spodek, 2006). Even after being offered a chance to escape from this death sentence, Socrates did not take the chance because he believed that the city-state was supreme, and since the “state had acted through the the formal legal process…he had the obligation to accept the sentence”(Spodek, 2006). In his estimation, citizens should not and did not have many rights under the city-state system of power. Essentially, Socrates felt he had to honor the state’s decision to execute him because, before this, Socrates had strongly preached and believed in the power of the city-state. In order to be true to his beliefs and not be considered a hypocrite, Socrates had to honor the sentence.
Socrates was a philosopher who wanted to “walk the walk” so to speak. In some respects, he would be something of a celebrity in his society or, at the very least, a person who was held in high esteem. This is likely why he was given the opportunity to escape the death sentence. However, to Socrates, the city-state was “sacred” and had to be “held in higher honor by the gods and men of understanding.” Because of this, Socrates had to honor the sentence in order to set the ultimate example for his peers.

Spodek, H. (2006). The worlds history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Question #1 Confucianism had five significant influences on the Han dynasty. Describe them.
The Chinese empire was instrumental in birthing several important schools of thought and philosophies. Perhaps one of the most influential philosophies was Confucianism. Confucianism was created by a talented scholar and philosopher by the name of Confucius. According to Howard Spodek, author of the book entitled The World’s History, at its core, Confucianism emphasized the importance of “humanity, benevolence, virtue, and culture” within society(Spodek, 2006). He also believed that humans were inherently good and had the ability to be educated(Spodek, 2006). Confucianism became quite popular under the Han dynasty and influenced it greatly in terms of politics, history, education, law, and the role of women.
According to Spodek, Confucianism influenced politics in the Han dynasty by changing the hierarchy of power within society. In a Confucian society, scholars were the most powerful, “followed by farmers, artisans, and merchants”(Spodek). In this new hierarchy, scholars had the most influence over how the Han empire ran on a day to day basis.
Confucianism also had a great impact on history and its importance within the Han dynasty. According to Spodek, court historians were utilized in a much greater capacity than in previous dynasties. This change was due to the fact that Confucianism emphasized the “importance of tradition and continuity”(Spodek, 2006). This emphasis, therefore, dictated that histories should be documented more frequently and carefully.
Education and law were other areas that were especially influenced by Confucianism. Within the Han dynasty, special schools were set up to teach Confucian principles(Spodek, 2006). Spodek states that “the emperor declared that the knowledge of Confucian classics would be a basis for promotion in the imperial civil service”(Spodek, 2006). This was a significant change as before the shift to Confucianism, only the aristocracy was really brought into the imperial civil service(Spodek, 2006). Law also changed as Confucian scholars were given the power to change and inform the laws within the Han dynasty in order to reflect Confucian principles(Spodek, 2006).
Lastly, the role of women was influence by Confucianism. According to Spodek, Confucianism taught that women were inferior and should dedicate themselves to serving men such as their brothers, fathers, and husbands(Spodek, 2006). Confucianism established the way women should behave in that they were seen as subservient to the males within their society.
Confucianism is a school of thought that changed the landscape of the Han dynasty and molded Eastern philosophy. Much of its influence was quite positive as values of knowledge and peace were deemed to be important aspects of humanity. Its influence, like many other schools of thought and philosophies, did have some problems, however, such as its negative impact on women’s roles. In the end, regardless of the positive or negative aspects, the Han Dynasty would have looked very different without the incorporation of Confucianism.
Spodek, H. (2006). The worlds history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Question #3 Explain the impact of humanism on Christian beliefs in the fifteenth century
In the fifteenth century, Christianity had already become an extremely powerful religion with extraordinary influence. Within the same time period, however, the Renaissance was just beginning to take shape. The Renaissance provided a unique contrast in that it focused on education, culture, and philosophy. One such concept that became popular during this time and influenced Christianity greatly was humanism.
According to Howard Spodek, author of the book entitled The World’s History, humanism was a philosophy centered on the idea that “the proper study of man is man”(Spodek, 2006). At its core, humanism believed that God was not heavily involved with mankind’s day to day lives. Instead “God gives mankind the power to shape its own destiny”(Spodek, 2006).
Humanism impacted Christianity in that it challenged how Christians related to and thought about God. Before humanism became popular, the Church taught that God was all powerful, and that humans were essentially directed by God’s will and power. However, humanism taught that God gave humans free will and the power to choose and change their own lives(Spodek, 2006). According to Spodek, humanism “asserted the importance of the individual…and challenged the monopoly of the Church over the interpretation of cultural life(Spodek, 2006).
Humanism essentially took a lot of the fear out of religion. Fearing the Lord and His wrath were huge parts of Christianity. With the concept of humanism, people experienced a greater deal of freedom in terms of the choices they felt they could make in life. In some respects, it could be argued that humanism strengthened the beliefs of some Christians because humanism provided them with the opportunity to choose a religious path because they had the desire to and not because they felt forced to. Although the Church remained very influential in society, humanism did influence the overall mindset within Christianity as members felt free to choose their own paths in life. At the same time, it could also be argued that humanism diminished God’s role in religion, which hurt the overall sacredness and purity of religion within society.
The Renaissance was a period of enlightenment in so many ways in terms of education and culture. It is also fair to say that the enlightenment extended to religion as well. As new ways of thinking and philosophies came into being, humans began to change the way they viewed the world, themselves, and God.
Spodek, H. (2006). The worlds history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. Read More
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