White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies (Gluten Free Recipe)

I love this recipe! I’ve made it 3 times already. It’s based off of a chocolate chip cookies from King Arthur flour, but I changed it up a bit.

  • Recipe here. (Not mine, I just made some changes.)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups Gluten free all purpose flour (The BEST gluten free flour recipe!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts

Directions from King Arthur Flour Website: (with changes)

  1. Beat the butter, sugars, vanilla and salt till fluffy.
  2. Beat in the eggs one at a time, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through to make sure everything is well combined.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then blend in the white chocolate chips and nuts. Again, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure everything is well blended.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes in the freezer or 1 hour in the fridge.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line with parchment.
  7. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Leave space between the cookies so they can spread.
  8. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes and allow to cool.

* The image belongs to me! (cozyoubliette.wordpress.com)

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Western Civilization Lesson 40 Essay: Hellenistic Period Questions

Writing assignment (choose two of the following):

What is the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the moderns? What would moderns find lacking in ancient liberty?

Personal rights, including the right of women, and the existence of slavery.

The modern Westerners’ idea of liberty is different from that of the ancient Greeks’. The modern idea of liberty is to governed by fixed principles of law, have the right to express our opinion, and use our property as we wish. As well as the right to associate with whoever we choose, and to have some influence over the government. These ideas have been restricted considerably, but still stand. A simplified concept of modern liberty is being able to do as you please, as long as you don’t harm anyone else. This idea is not respected by the Greeks, because they had a practice called ostracism where any citizen, even a law-abiding one, could be banished for 10 years if enough people voted against him.

The Greeks’ idea of liberty was not concerned with individual rights, but with collective rights. If you were able to participate in politics, you had liberty. This was only if you were a citizen, that is, a man with two Athenian parents. Women were excluded from all public matters. The assembly of citizens wanted the right to make decisions about wars, alliances, and laws, as well as other various things. This was what they thought of as liberty.

What are some causes of the difference? Commerce is more common and developed now then it was in ancient Greece. They did trade and sell, especially in Athens, but not to the extent we do now. As commerce grows, people become more aware of government involvement in their private affairs, so they want individual rights. With slaves doing most of the labor, the Athenian citizens could spend their time in the assembly discussing politics.

In Greece, a free city was the focus, not necessarily a free individual. Collective good was more important than individual liberty.

Plutarch tells about an important episode in Alexander’s life. What characteristics is it intended to show?

When Alexander the Great was a young man, a wild, unmanageable horse was sold to his father, King Philip. All who tried to ride it were injured, so King Philip ordered it to be taken away, but Alexander spoke out, telling him not to get rid of it. Alexander promised to pay his father the thirteen talents the horse was worth if he couldn’t ride it. He managed to mount the horse and taught it to obey him, and when he rode it back to his father, the king was overjoyed with the bravery and cunning of his son. Philip told his son to “Seek another kingdom, that may be worthy of thy abilities.” When Alexander was 20 years old, he succeeded the throne. By then, Philip’s empire had slowly crumbled. With “spirit and magnanimity”, Alexander the Great put a stop to the rebelling kingdoms. He and his men marched until the battle at Danube, where he fought so greatly that it is said he only lost thirty-four men, while the barbarians lost twenty thousand.

The story of taming the horse, as well as the battle of Danube showed Alexander’s fierceness, bravery, cunning and intellect.

English 2 Lesson 40: Hesiod’s View of Mankind’s Past and Future.

Write 500 words on this topic: What was Hesiod’s view of the mankind’s past and future?”

Works and Days is a poem composed by the Greek writer Hesiod in 700 BC. After losing a legal dispute over his father’s inheritance to his brother, Perses, Hesiod wrote this poem to essentially scare Perses into giving back the inheritance. A part of the poem warns Perses about the threat of punishment from Zeus, and the rest consists of practical advice, mainly about farming. One of Hesiod’s points was that the ethical justice of Zeus was superior to that of the court (which could easily be bribed.) His second point was that the wealth gained from hard work was superior to the wealth won in court, which is why he urged Perses to become a farmer.

Hesiod dedicates his poem to the Muses, daughters of Zeus, saying that they told him what to write. He claims authority from Zeus to write the story of mankind.

Hesiod’s view of the past is in the first section of the poem. He offers an account of creation, like the one he wrote in Theogony. The main difference is that he goes into more detail about Zeus’s revenge against men and how they were cursed.

One of the gods, Prometheus, had rebelled against Zeus and was punished. After he was freed, he tricked Zeus and had taken fire as a gift for men. As revenge, Zeus instructed the gods to create the first woman, Pandora. Zeus specifically wanted to punish men, not Prometheus. Pandora opened the jar that let loose all the various evils of the world, like sickness and death. Hesiod blames women for the strife, toil, and misery of men, and blames the creation of women on Zeus.

Hesiod writes that Zeus created 5 consecutive generations, or ‘races’ of humanity: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Demi-gods, and Iron. The first was Gold, this was the era that existed before work sorrow. They were the original, ‘perfect’ generation, and lived alongside the gods. They became spirits that lived on after death. Then came the Silver era, which was far less noble. Zeus destroyed them because of their sin. Next was the Bronze generation. The Bronze people were “terrible and strong”. They were warriors who were eventually wiped out by a black death. Next were a god-like race of heroes called Demi-gods, who existed around the time of the Trojan war. They were more noble and righteous like the Gold men. The fifth generation, of Iron, is Hesiod’s generation. He says that the Iron generation has no rest from labor and sorrow, and men dishonor their parents and do evil.

Hesiod concluded that the awful ‘race of Iron’ will be destroyed by Zeus just as the generation before it. Then, he goes on to say that he lives in a good era- clearly contradicting his previous point. By this he probably means that Perses should still be motivated to work hard and be successful.

His view of the future is that there is no escaping Zeus’s will, and that one day his generation will be destroyed. He says that each generation will be worse then the next. The best thing you can do is work hard, worship the gods, and follow omens, superstitions, and ethical rules.

English Lesson 30 Essay: Role of Ethics in Biblical Material

Write 500 words on this: “What is the view of the biblical materials on the role of ethics in the development of history?”

In this essay, I will be covering the biblical literature learned in this class– Genesis, Psalms, and Proverbs– and how they emphasize ethics in history. These chapters are all part of the Old Testament, which was written by the ancient Hebrews. Literature can tell the history and worldview of a particular culture, and that is certainly true of the Old Testament. The chapters reinforce the 5 basic themes of most literature: God, Man, Law, Sanctions, and Inheritance (the future).

God’s Authority

In Genesis, God is established as the sovereign creator of the universe. Therefore, He is in charge of sanctions, like an inheritance, reward, or punishment.

Humans’ authority

This is what Psalm 8 says about humanity’s position in creation: “You [God] have made them a little lower than the angels… You made them rulers over the works of your hands.” We were created in God’s image. The hierarchy that is taught in the Bible is that humans are below God, but above the rest of creation. Therefore, humans were given dominion over the Earth, and God requires us to be responsible stewards. This is an ethical responsibility.

Ethics in Genesis

The events in Genesis changed the course of history, and most of the conflicts were ethical.

In Genesis it says that God is the creator of the universe. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) He created the first humans, Adam and Eve. He creates rules and tasks for them, and gave them the garden of Eden to live in. One tree in the garden was His, and they were not allowed to touch or eat from it. Eventually, they disobeyed them, breaking the covenant they had with God. Adam and Eve’s rebellion was ethical, because God established laws that they rebelled against. This was an important event, because it is the origin of sin, death, and grace.

The story of Cain and Abel tell us about ethics, and positive and negative sanctions. Abel had offered a sacrifice that God accepted, while Cain was rejected. God says to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door”. This implies that Cain offered the sacrifice without truly following God, which is why he was not accepted. Motivated by envy, Cain murdered his brother, Abel. God cursed Cain and sent him away, but also gave him mercy, protecting him from harm. Cain left his parents and established a city.

In Genesis 6-9, there is the account of the historical Flood. The central issues causing the flood were ethical, because God saw that the people had become too wicked. They broke his laws and so he imposed punishment, destroying them. God spared one man, Noah, and his family, because he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (6:8) The flood caused monumental changes in history.

Genesis 9 says that Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham’s son Canaan was affected by an ethical curse. It changed the hierarchy of their family, making Canaan and his descendants servants to Ham’s brother, Shem. This has some confusing context because it was not Ham, the one who sinned, who was cursed, but specifically one of his sons. Regardless, this story shows Noah’s view of family ethics.

The chapter about the Tower of Babel is similar to the Flood, as God made a drastic change in the world after people’s sin– they were unified against him, so he scattered them with different languages.

Ethics in Psalms and Proverbs

The Psalms and Proverbs reinforce the idea that ethics cause historical sanctions. The Psalms say that God is trustworthy and His law is perfect. The Psalms also promise a future inheritance to those who do good. (Ps. 37.) In the Proverbs, King Solomon gives his son practical and ethical advice, to prepare him for ruling Israel.

Conclusion

Throughout history, God will bring negative sanctions upon those who do not follow His ethical commandments. The stories of Genesis, as well as the Proverbs and Psalms, reinforce the basic themes of God’s law, historical sanctions, and inheritance.

Business 2 Lesson 40: Graphic Design

Review the business opportunities covered this week. Write a 250 word essay on the business opportunity which most intrigued you.

This week we looked into SEO, Graphic Design, Website Theme Development, and Copy writing.

Graphic Design is the opportunity I am most interested in. It is described as “the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration.” People judge a business by the appearance of their website, logo, and marketing. A graphic designer helps businesses find the best ‘look and feel’ for their brand. For example, if a website looks ugly or dated, people might immediately click off the site without even considering a purchase. But there is much more to graphic design than a website or logo. Other examples of graphic design include publication (especially books and magazines), signs, and product design and packaging.

In order to become a great graphic designer, I would need to improve my technical skills, like learning how to use Photoshop tools or a similar ‘professional’ design software. Composition, typography, and writing are important as well, because graphic designers need to be able to catch typos and use fonts and layouts that are easy to understand. Whether you are designing something physical, (like a magazine) or digital, page layout is crucial.

Last but certainly not least, graphic designers need to have artistic talent. I love to make art, and I would say I have a good eye for detail. This is why I would choose graphic design.

I could make money by creating a project (like a logo) for a customer or business, like on Fiverr, or by selling products, such as t-shirts, mugs, and posters.

English Lesson 35 Essay: The Differences between Genesis and Theogony

Write 500 words on this topic: “What are the main differences between Genesis 1 and Theogony?”

Theogony is a Greek religious work by the poet Hesiod, written in the 8th century BC. It mainly describes the origin and lineage of the Greek gods. The chapter of Genesis is in the Old Testament of the Bible, and describes creation.

The first difference is the account of creation.

In the Bible, God created the heavens and the earth. Over the course of 6 days, he formed the galaxy, planets, oceans, land, plants, animals, and then humans on the Earth. In Hesiod’s record of creation, Chaos (the god, not just a noun) came to be. He then writes that Gaia (Earth), and Night (Nyx) came from Chaos. Gaia then bore the Heaven (Uranos) and they produced other gods together. The God of the Bible created all things, but the Greek gods were the source of other gods, and deities of nature and curses (like Sun, Moon, Ocean, and Famine, Strife, and Ruins.) In other words, the gods of Theogony created the world through reproduction with each other.

There is a noticeable difference in the relationship, or hierarchy, between god and man. This may be partially because of the difference of a monotheistic religion (like Christianity) as opposed to a polytheistic religion (of the Ancient Greeks).

To the Greeks, the hierarchy between god and man is more closely knit, for example, a human could be part god, and there are many stories of gods, specifically Zeus, having children with humans. The gods act almost exactly like humans– they are impulsive, seek revenge, and fall into sin. The God of the Bible is separated from the sin and evil of the world- He was the creator. Therefore, there is a drastic difference in the Biblic hierarchy between god and man.

There is a lack of ethics and morals in Theology, as opposed to the Bible. As Theology is the Greeks “Creation story”, it seems that ethics are not valued.

In the Theology, sin came not from mankind but from the gods themselves. Humans were born into a world full of sin.

On the contrary, (the Hebrew) God proclaims his creation ‘very good’, and there was no sin until Adam and Eve, the first humans, disobeyed him- later on in Genesis.

Overall, there seem to be are no ethical rules in Theogony. Sometimes a god does something that seems morally just, but often it’s simply to their own advantage. Genesis clearly establishes laws for mankind, but the Greeks have no morals to learn from the Olympic gods. They are mischievous, seek revenge, and there is no basis for mercy and sanctions. From looking at Hesiod’s work, and other information we have about the Greek religion, ritual and prayer are more important to the gods than ethics and morality.

There is a difference of power between the Greek gods of Theology and the Hebrew God of the Bible.

Zeus was the supreme god of Olympus, but He was not omnipotent like the God of the Bible. He was in fear of being overthrown by his sons, and therefore was not all powerful. He needed help from other gods to fight the Titans, during a ten-year war. The gods were constantly at odds with each other. The God of the Bible created all things single-handedly, and has dominion over his entire creation.

English Lesson 25 Essay: Ethics and Sanctions in Proverbs 1-7.

Write 500 on this topic: “Discuss the relationship between ethics and sanctions in Proverbs 1-7.”

The book of Proverbs is written by King Solomon. It’s purpose was to give advice to his son, who would be the future king of Israel, and to all who sought wisdom. It’s not certain which son he composed the Proverbs for. There are different subjects of advice, including family, law, marriage, and moral values. He clearly emphasizes the value of wisdom and knowledge. In fact, he writes that “those who hate wisdom love death.” This passage is more commonly translated as “All those who hate me (God) love death.” This shows a correlation between wisdom and God. To become wise, you must first fear the Lord, and obey his commandments. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7.)

The proverbs have strong contrasts between good and evil. Solomon says to avoid the ways of darkness, meaning sin, because you will receive negative sanctions.

He strongly warns his son (and the reader) against adultery. It is mentioned far more often than other sins in the Proverbs. He urges his son to marry wisely, and stay with his wife.

Another point he makes is to respect your parents and listen to their advice. He says, “My son, listen to your father’s discipline, and do not neglect your mother’s teachings.”

The first Proverb is an introduction to the chapter. Solomon writes an overview of what he will say throughout the Proverbs. The first and foremost topic is wisdom– a king’s most valuable asset.

Proverbs 2 describes the moral benefits of wisdom. Solomon says that wisdom, as well as giving you understanding of things, will keep your paths straight and help you avoid sin, again specifically mentioning adultery.

In Proverbs 3, Solomon asks his son to respect and honor the Lord. ‘In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 4 focuses on the value and importance of wisdom. Solomon says that wisdom and ethics should be past down through generations.

Proverbs 5 is about marriage. Solomon tells his son to stay true to his wife and not commit adultery. He emphasizes that adultery comes with negative sanctions.

Proverbs 6 has three topics. First, Solomon tells his son to be productive, hard working, and self-motivated. He also specifically points out the dangers of debt: “If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said…”. He recommends to work as hard as you can to fulfill your promises. Next, he lists several things that “the Lord hates”; describing a sinful person’s attributes. These include lying, plotting evil, and killing innocent people. The second half of this proverb concerns adultery and keeping your parents’ commandments.

The entirety of Proverbs 7 is Solomon telling his son to avoid adultery, again. Solomon asks him to keep his commands and accept wisdom and insight.

Solomon’s main points in Proverbs 1-7 are:

Wisdom-and therefore, God, is ignored by most people. Solomon tells his son not to become like them. The Proverbs say that families should teach their children ethical wisdom. He repeatedly tells his son to marry wisely and avoid sin, especially adultery.

English Lesson 20 Essay: Optimism in the Psalms

Write 500 words on this topic: “Discuss some of the reasons offered in the Psalms for long-term optimism.”

There are five basic themes to all literature, including the Psalms: god, man, hierarchy, law, sanction, and the future (inheritance). In the Psalms (and entire Bible), God is sovereign. He rules over humanity, and humans rule over nature. God rules according to his laws and sanctions. The Psalms show a case for long-term optimism, because they promise an inheritance and blessings in the future.

What is optimism? By definition, it is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. This is what God wants from us, to have hope and confidence in His plan.

David was the king of Israel. He was also a talented singer and musician. He wrote the series of poems and songs praising God, known as the Psalms. These Psalms not ordered chronologically, but rather, in themes. There are psalms like lamentations, and there are songs of praise.

When David was in times of trouble, he would write laments to God asking for help and guidance. For example, he wrote psalms while in hiding from his rebellious son Absalom- he feared for his life. These psalms of lament are read to this day to provide reassurance through hardship and depression. In psalm 18, God protects David. When he is surrounded by enemies, God delivers him, and promises to show kindness and mercy to his future heirs. This is another promise of the future. In Psalm 21, God rewards the king and destroys his enemies.

Psalms 47-50 say, “He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD; I will sing praises to your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

Psalm 23 is the best example of optimism in the psalms, and it is probably the most famous psalm as well. It says that God is like a shepherd, protecting David. David writes that as he walks through the valley of death, a metaphor for great danger, he fears no evil because God is with him.

Psalm 37 says, ” The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.”

The psalm promises that the people who do good will be saved by God, and given a blessed future. (“..a future awaits those who seek peace.”) The Psalm also promises that someday God will destroy the wicked.

“A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.”

Psalm 72 is a beautiful poem of praise. In it, David proclaims that God will reign supreme throughout history, which is another reason for long-term optimism.

In conclusion, there are different themes that show the importance of optimism and faith. There is the gift of inheritance of God’s kingdom, the promise that God will destroy evil, and the promise of protection and blessing for those who trust in Him. Overall, the Psalms are about confidence in God.


Biology Lesson 30 Essay: Non-Hereditary Disorders

Answer ONE of the questions below in an essay of about 150-250 words (you may write a longer essay, if you wish). Be sure to include facts and details from the past 4 (or more) lessons, as this will help you remember and understand them better.

Question I chose:

1. Some genetic disorders are not hereditary. Give an example of one of these, and describe the molecular process that causes the disorder to occur.

While many genetic disorders are inherited from your parents, sometimes they can also be caused by a mistake, or ‘typo’ in your genes. During a pregnancy, a non-hereditary disorder can happen in multiple ways. A process called meiosis splits and duplicates sex cells so that the baby can develop. A process called mitosis splits and duplicates all the other cells, like skin and blood cells. Errors during meiosis and mitosis cause genetic disorders.

There are many different cell errors that can cause problems. One of these is Aneuploidy. This is when a gamete (a haploid cell, such as an egg or sperm) is fertilized having an unusual number of chromosomes, either one extra or one missing. There are different types of aneuploidy; like trisomy (three copies of chromosomes), monosomy (only one copy of chromosomes), and polyploidy (two sets of chromosomes, instead of one set). Monosomy and polyploidy are generally lethal in humans and animals. Aneuploidy is caused by nondisjunction. In nondisjunction, sister chromatids do not separate properly during meiosis. Nondisjunction causes affected gametes to have extra or missing chromosomes. During normal, healthy cell division, sister chromosomes would split to create two daughter cells with the same amount of chromosomes.

A common example of trisomy is Downs Syndrome. People with Downs’ syndrome have 3 copies of ‘chromosome 21′ (the 24 chromosomes in a human are named by number) instead of the usual 2 copies. Therefore, Downs syndrome is sometimes called trisomy 21. Downs’ syndrome results in a wide array of disabilities.

Another non-fatal form of trisomy is Triple X syndrome. Normally, a male has XY chromosomes, and a female has XX chromosomes. Triple X syndrome is a conditions only found in females, and one of it’s common symptoms is abnormal height.

Cases of aneuploidy are either deadly, causing miscarriage, or they result in Downs’ syndrome or other conditions.

Sources: Ron Paul Curriculum Lessons, https://socratic.org

Western Civilization Lesson 30 Essay: Athens Questions

Answer two of the following questions.

Why was the Peloponnesian War fought? What was its long-term significance?

After the Persian War, Athens wanted a better system of self-defense. They formed the Delian League along with several other Greek citiy-states. Under the direction of Athens, the city-states would support each other. Each city supplied either ships or money to Athens–mostly money, so that Athens could build the ships themselves. They had the most skilled boat makers, so this was an obvious choice. At first, the League was voluntary and the city-states could leave at any time. Athens was growing stronger, and acting imperious. The Spartans were concerned by how much power Athens held. They were wary of threats from the Delian League. This, said historian Thucydides, “made war inevitable.” Sparta formed it’s own alliance, called the Peloponnesian League. They invaded Athens in 431 BC. The long civil war between the leagues lasted until 404 BC when Sparta finally defeated Athens. By the end of it, all the city states had grown very weak, and none of them could establish dominance over the others. This led to Macedonia conquering all of Greece.

How was Athenian government organized? How much citizen involvement in government was there?

Democracy today is very different from the Athenian view. In America, people vote for representatives to make political decisions for them, but in Athens, a democracy meant the citizens made most of the decisions themselves. Strangely, Athens did not have many ‘citizens’– they made up about 10-20% of the whole population. This would be around 30,000-40,000. You could only be a citizen of Athens if you were a man with two Athenian parents. Women, slaves, and metics (non-Athenian workers) were not accepted in society or politics. In 621 BC, Draco established laws in Athens. The punishments for crime were very severe. In fact, the word Draconian is now an adjective for something harsh. Under Draco, the poor were oppressed. If you were unable to pay off debts, you would be enslaved. After Draco came Solon. In 594 BC, Solon abolished slavery as the default punishment for owing debt. He made membership in the Polis (Athenian Government) accessible to the wealthy instead of just the aristocrats. This still wasn’t very inclusive, so later there were reforms by Pisistratus and Cleisthenes. This created the Athenian democracy we are familiar with.

First, there was the Assembly. From the assembly, the other political offices were filled. All male citizens could vote and voice their opinions.

The Council of 500 were a group of citizens who would be selected randomly by casting lots. They had a term of one year, and then a new council would be selected. The main purposes of the Council was to plan and discuss topics for the Assembly meetings. They could also issue decrees in some situations.

Then there were the law courts and magistrates. The law court was a large assembly of jurors and judges. The magistrates were various government officials. There were a thousand offices to be filled each year. Most state offices were open to a majority of the citizens. Citizens were appointed though election or casting lots.

Then there was the concept of ostracism. The assembly would meet and vote by writing a person’s name on shards of pottery and placing them in urns. Anyone could be exiled for ten years from Athens if 6000 citizens wrote his name on pottery shards. Even if you had done nothing wrong, if enough people thought you were a threat to Athens, or just didn’t like you, you could be banished.

For the Athenians, being a citizen who participated in the Polis was one of the most honorable things in life. Athenian democracy had more citizen involvement then democracies today-but unfortunately, the citizens only represented a small fraction of the population of Athens. Women had no say. If you were a man with only one Athenian parent, then you couldn’t be a citizen. It was not very inclusive.

Western Civilization Lesson 25 Essay: Classical Greece Questions

choose two of the following; if you choose question 2, you may do just that one):

2. How would you explain Aristotle’s main points in his Ethics to the average person?

In Aristotle’s work, Ethics, he answers this question: what is the best life a person could have? First, he talks about ‘the ultimate good’. That is what people try to achieve in life.

He says that it is happiness. Others proposed that the final good is something else, like honor, pleasure, wealth, or virtue. Aristotle disagrees. While he does think that all of these contribute to happiness, they are not the final ‘good’ that people strive for. For example, if you were honored for something embarrassing or shameful to you- would it be fulfilling? Probably not, because by seeking honor you ultimately wanted happiness. Pleasure, depending on the meaning of the word, can come with downsides. It is only pursued in order to achieve happiness. You may want wealth, but only because there is something you want to buy, or achieve with that wealth. Wealth is also sought after as a way to happiness. Lastly, virtue.

In Ethics, Aristotle writes about virtues in detail. He defines virtue as the mean between two extremes. For example, courage is the mean between rashness and cowardice. Parents disciple their children to be virtuous, in hopes that it will become a habit. There is one virtue that Aristotle says is not between extremes; justice. He believes that a person can never be too just. Virtue is another path to to the end goal, happiness.

4. What was Spartan society like?

Sparta had a very large slave system. In the late 8th century, they conquered the neighboring city of Messenians. They called the slaves they captured, Helots. The Helots were slaves of the state, not owned by individuals. The Spartans were so outnumbered by their slaves, they needed a large military to keep them from revolting. The Helots took care of all the farm land, and were the Greek equivalent of a serf, with a few strange exceptions. Once a year, the Spartan government would issue a decree proclaiming ‘war ‘ against the Helots. This was a completely legal killing spree. The excuse for this was to keep population under control. Spartan government had 2 kings, a council of elders, and an executive board of 5 ‘ephors’ (executives, serving one-year terms). Their assembly of citizens was every male over the age of 30. The assembly would vote by shouting, and whichever side was louder would win. Ultimately, it was the kings and council who had the most influence over the system.

At age 7, every boy had to leave the home for 13 years military training. They would be subject to brutally difficult challenges. The boys would practice battle by killing Helots and obey the state’s every order. They would be flogged to test their bravery. They were purposely under fed in order to encourage stealing–they were told not to, but the boys understood that as long as you didn’t get caught, you were allowed take more food. The Spartans believed this sharpened their wit and intelligence. They were given no shoes, and only one thin cloak. This was to build endurance to cold winters. Girls were raised at home, but they were also trained according to state regulations. They participated in running, wrestling and other exercises. This was to make them bear healthy children, supposedly. Women were much more influential in Sparta than in the rest of Greece. They had more rights, and could even own land. In Athens, women were hardly allowed to leave their houses. Spartan food was famously disgusting, and men would all eat together in public halls. By age 20, men entered the citizen army. They married, but could only visit their wives if they evaded the guards. Ironically, not having children was against the law, and bachelors were ridiculed. If a baby was assumed weak, it would be left outdoors to die. Even with these brutal ways of life, Spartans were somewhat limited in power. They couldn’t form a navy like Athens, and feared a Helot revolt when Spartan armies were away in battle. They are remembered for being a militaristic society.