Curriculum Theories: Traditionalist, Conceptual-Empiricists, and Conceptualist

Traditionalist curriculum is the approach developed out of classical ideas regarding public education and school curriculum. It assumes that curriculum is defined by content and subject, based on the identification, selection, organization, and evaluation of learning, (Majali, 2016). This means that curriculum is a learning plan applied in the classroom. The aim of traditionalist theory is based on specific objectives with measurable outcomes. It is based on the foundation that education is a mental discipline that requires, “rigorous mental involvement to strengthen the mind”, (Majali, 2016).  This assumes that the purpose of education is to improve student knowledge and that school curriculum is universal and can be applied to everyone. Traditionalists theory has positive strengths, encouraging specific learning methods, goals, and objectives. However, it comes with weaknesses. Traditionalists do not look to the curriculum to address learning problems that arise. Furthermore, traditionalists emphasize, “what information is taught to students, not how it is taught”, (Majali, 2016).

Conceptual-empiricists is based on theories of informational education, where research is done to “control and predict what happens in schools”, (Glatthorn, 2015). Its foundation is found in truth and experience.. Throughout the process, teachers use research to measure learning outcomes. Research is used to preserve content and provide instruction, through learning and interacting. In this way, discipline and behavior is key to the theory. It questions what is being taught, why it is being taught, and how this affects learning, (Majali, 2016). This encourages students to have a better understanding of the lesson in more meaningful ways such as interests and social problems. The strength of this theory is that is questions the status quo. It allows instructors to use the best approach to teaching instead of following a specific lesson plan.  However, the weakness to this theory is that “when students fail to learn, the fault lies with the students themselves rather than what the manner by which the content was organized or with teaching methods”, (Majali, 2016).

“Reconceptualists emphasize subjectivity, existential experience, and the art of interpretation in order to reveal the class conflict and the unequal power relationships existing in the larger society”, (Glatthorn, 2015). As a result, reconceptualists stand out from the rest by emphasizing how students understand themselves and the world around them, (Majali, 2016). It is based on politics, ideals, social science, psychology, philosophy, and human behavior. Most importantly it addresses individual learning and how the social environment shapes intellect. The theory allows instructors to understand learning capabilities individually, making this theory a personal process for growth. School instruction is not only to improve knowledge but also society through critique and reform. It encourages instructors to “free themselves from assumptions” to develop a lesson plan and improve education. Reconceptualists theory is highlighted by its strengths and weaknesses. Learning is “highly personal and unique to each individual”, (Majali, 2016). While the overall goal is to improve education and greater society, it encourages learners to learn more about society, culture, politics, and experiences to gain understanding and control over their lives. This theory is a personal favorite. This is because it addresses societal issues to help students relate to the rest of the world. It emphasizes the importance and influence of culture, politics, and greater society into the classroom. The only setback to this theory is that it requires more involvement from instructors. This includes holding teachers responsible for learning failures and adjusting the curriculum to individual learning.


Glotthorn, O. (2014). Curriculum Theory. Curriculum Leadership.Chp. 3. Sage Publications. New York, NY. Retrieved from:

Majali, D. (2014). Introduction to curriculum theory. Muta University. Retrieved from:


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Racial Inequality and Public Education

The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for social equality weakening social disparities between Whites and minorities. However, racial inequality remains constant and consistent more than 50 years later. The Civil Rights Movement was stimulated by the Supreme Court case, Brown v the Board of Education. In 1954 Thurgood Marshall, lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored (NAACP), challenged the United States Board of Education on their policy promising separate but equal education for Blacks and people of color. Throughout the hearing, Marshall argued that, “separate school systems for Blacks and Whites where inherently unequal” (Brown v Board of Education 1954, n.p). Inequality in education presents a violation of 14th amendment rights granted in the U.S Constitution. Brown v Board of Education became a historical and landmark decision. The court determined that, “the constitutionality of segregation in public education… that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws”, (Brown v Board of Education 1954, n.p). The case encouraged social integration in American school systems. It also guarantees the right to free and equal education regardless of race or socioeconomic status. However, six decades after the decision public education continues to be racially segregated. In addition the education received in public institutions is not equal. Research conducted by Valerie Strauss found that, “initial school integration gains following Brown stalled and Black children are more racially and socioeconomically isolated today than at any time since 1970” (2014, n.p). This can especially be seen in public schools throughout American inner cities.

Studies show that Brown v the Board of Education was ineffective, (Strauss 2014). This is because the landmark case did not fully integrate inner-city schools, the main goal of Justice Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP legal defense team. Marshall was able to rid of the nation of the separate-but-equal clause to ensure all students receive an education that is equal to Whites. The landmark decision determined that segregation is unconstitutional and integration was enforced. Although it is illegal to reject students based on race, Brown does not guarantee that all schools are racially integrated. Furthermore, it does not guarantee that all American public schools are equal. This can be seen as the majority of American students attend racially segregated schools. In most schools, 70% of the student population is of the same race or ethnic background (APA, 2014). In addition, schools with large minority student populations do not offer basic course curriculum like Chemistry and advanced Algebra, (Rich, 2014). Due to these cases and others, racial inequality continues throughout the American school system. This is especially seen in metropolitan and urban areas.  For this reason, “Brown was unsuccessful in its purported mission—to undo the school segregation that persists as a modal characteristic of American public Education today”, (Strauss, 2014, n.p).

A report conducted by the New York Times determined that, “racial minorities are more likely than White students to be suspended from school, have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience” (Rich 2014, n.p). This indicates that high-poverty schools lack resources for educational achievement. It not only suggests racial inequality found in American public schools, but also racial segregation in education. The United States Department of Education agrees, “it is clear that the United States has a great distance to go to meet our goal of providing opportunities for every student to succeed”, (2014, n.p). This is because high-poverty schools lack adequate school curriculum, are more likely to retain bilingual students, and place heavy consequences on Black and Latino students through zero tolerance policies. However, most alarming, these short comings are dominated in inner-city schools that are segregated. It has created limited educational achievement and success for minority youth so much so that it has caused high dropout rates from Black and Latino students. Incidentally, schools with the highest dropout rates are centralized in “heavily minority high schools in big cities” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 5).

Racial disparities and inequalities observed throughout inner-city public schools are demonstrated through statistics. Research found that, “2 out of every 5 white students attend schools that are 90% White… reflecting substantial concentration of White students in certain areas, such as the suburbs of our nation” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 13-4).  While suburban schools are majority White, suburban schools also have different courses and resources available. Suburban schools offer a larg variety of school curriculum, courses, and resources for extracurricular activities like music and fine arts. They also have advancements and tools of technology for learning and preparation for the high-tech workforce. Families that live in the suburbs, including White families, are more likely to achieve educational success such as a high school diploma and college degree. However, they are less likely to learn from or experience multiculturalism and ethnic diversity. This is because, “due to the severe White residential isolation in outlying suburbs, white students are the least likely group to attend truly multiracial schools” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 12). Segregation and racial isolation ensures that White suburbia stays White. It perpetuates segregation, racial inequality, stereotypes and assumptions placed on people of color. With the aid of segregated suburbia, it guarantees that White upper and middle class citizens remain out of touch with the realities of the multicultural society. Social isolation maintains segregation in education, housing, and the workforce throughout the generations.

Racial inequality within the American education system is a side effect of racial inequality observed in economy and housing. Studies produced by Richard Rothstein found “strong links between individual poverty, school poverty, race and educational inequality” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 6). This is because where people live determines the school students attend and the quality of education they receive. Students are mandated to attend schools assigned by a district or zone. However, when people of color are segregated into urban areas, it restricts students to these schools. Furthermore, it restricts student’s opportunities for success and future outcomes. “Extensive research demonstrating that Blacks and Whites with similar economic status live in dramatically different residential environments, with Blacks living in areas with higher crime rates, poor quality schools, higher poverty rates, lower property values, and severe racial segregation” (Sharkey 2013, p. 4). As a result of the social inequality observed within the American city, it creates a domino effect. Racial inequality has infiltrated the framework of multiple social systems and institutions. Race determines where families live, the education they receive, access to economy and the American workforce.

Most importantly, poverty plays a key role in housing and education. Researchers state that, “segregation has never been about race: segregation by race is systematically linked to other forms of segregation, including segregation by socioeconomic status, by residential location, and increasingly by language” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 14). This is observed as income determines where individuals live, their housing, and their community. When families live in poor neighborhoods, these communities receive little tax revenue or resources to improve the community. This limited economy also feeds into schools located in these areas. For people of color however, income has little effect on where families live. Especially for working-class and middle-class families of color, segregation and marginalization force families into poor neighborhoods. This was observed in studies conducted by Orfield and Lee which show that even when families make the same income, people of color were more likely to live in poor racially segregated neighborhoods, (2005). As a result, many of the educational institutions in these communities are not only highly segregated by race, but are also impoverished. “In the entire metro region, 97% of the schools with less than 10% of White students face concentrated poverty compared to 1% of the schools with less than a 10% minority student population” (Orfield & Lee 2005, p. 6).

Schools located in poor neighborhoods are known as high-poverty schools. High-poverty schools have negative education outcomes with poor academic achievement. Examples are few course options, curriculum, and resources needed to give inner-city students the opportunity they need for success. Scholars found that, “Blacks and Latinos are a disproportionate share of students with low socioeconomic status… so it is important to remember that class disadvantages may play a role” (Hochschild & Schen 2009, n.p). By understanding how inner-city housing and poverty influence where students go to school, more can be done to address segregation and education. It has to do with racial inequality not only in education but also discrimination and marginalization in urban housing. Poverty then not only affects the quality of life for families, but also the education that students receive. Although education is required and free to the public household incomes can have a strong influence on the quality of education.

Racial inequality and racism is an intricate part of American society. It’s observed throughout mainstream America as the country is heavily divided along lines of race, culture, and class. Treating people different according to income or culture shows how segregation has remained stubborn, multidimensional, and the significant cause of racial inequality in education, (Orfield & Lee 2005, p.5). A cultural melting pot, Americans represent different cultures, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities. But when citizens do not fit into the White non-Hispanic, Anglo majority, they are most likely to be marginalized or oppressed. People of color are then subject to poor outcomes. Black, Hispanics, and some Asians are marginalized into poor communities and ghetto neighborhoods. Throughout the process of segregation, people of color are being isolated and the inner-city becomes the urban epicenter for multiculturalism. However American multiculturalism includes excluding certain people from equal access and opportunities. These include racial disparities in health, crime, education, and the American work force. The only way to improve these outcomes is to “make housing opportunities for low income, black, urban residents available in White middle-class suburbs”, (Strauss, 2014, n.p). Racial segregation must turn into racial integration. Suburbia and rural America must mirror diversity and multiculturalism observed within the inner-city. This can limit racial segregation observed throughout the country all the while encouraging integration and cultural awareness. This is best stated by Journalist from the Washington Post who cites, “segregated neighborhoods lead to segregated schools”, (Strauss, 2014, n.p). Integrating inner city neighborhoods is the key to integrating education. Integration can weed out gaps in funding and resources for school. Furthermore, it puts upper-class White students in contact with the multicultural society. Through integration, bias and stereotypes can be banished through understanding and awareness between cultures. Most importantly it can make sure that all Americans receive a quality education regardless race.



American Psychology Association. 2012. Ethnic and racial disparities in education: Psychology’s contributions to understanding and reducing disparities. Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities. Available at:

Hoschschild J.L, and F.X Shen. 2014. Race, ethnic, and education policy.Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics in America. New York: Oxford University Press. Available at:

Orfield, G., and C. Lee. 2005. Why segregation matters: Poverty and educational inequality. UCLA: The Civil Rights Project. Available at:

Rich, M. 2014. School data finds pattern of inequality along racial lines. New York Times, 21 March. Available at:

Sharkey, P. 2013. The Inheritance of the Ghetto. Stuck in place: Urban neighborhoods and the end of progress toward racial equality. University of Chicago Press.

Strauss, V. 2014. How, after 60 years, Brown v. Board of Education succeeded- and didn’t. Washington Post. 24 April. Available at:

U.S Supreme Court. 1954. Brown v. Board of Education. Washington, D.C. Available at

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Social Stratification and the American Dream

Social stratification plays an intricate role in American society. Through social stratification Americans are categorized into specific categories. These categories are then divided into different sections and statuses. In America, social stratification can be seen in someone’s socio-economic status, determined by their geographic location, occupation, or education. Divisions like this can be harmful by those who are negatively affected by social stratification. For example, many poor people are negatively affected by social stratification. The poor are of low socio-economic status and limited quality of life compared to their middle and upper class counterparts. In this way, social stratification can work to further harm the people negatively affected. The effects of social stratification on American society makes one consider the concept of the American dream. With division among social classes, is the American Dream a real possibility for all Americans or is this only a myth? By understanding the concepts of social stratification, it becomes apparent the American dream is not a reality for all Americans.

Many people are familiar with the concept of the American dream. The American dream describes the individual who goes from rags to riches. This is someone who is poor or disadvantaged, and through diligence and hard work is able to become prosperous and successful. “A romantic ideal, it provides hope for those who struggle not only with adversity but with prejudice and exclusion on a daily basis”, (Marin, 2008). The image of the American Dream is portrayed throughout American culture and can be seen in movies and media. Through this understanding, all Americans are able to become rich and live happily ever after. However, how can one become successful and reach the American dream when America is socially divided among class lines? Social stratification implies division among society that is based on social inequality. Many of these inequalities are related to someone’s socio-economic class.  Therefore, there are inconsistencies between people who are rich and those who are poor. People who do not fit into these two castes are recognized as middle class. Although socio-economic status differs from household to household, many researchers and experts suggest that everyone can become rich and live the American dream.



There are a number of published experts and enthusiast who insist that anyone can make it rich if they just follow a list of specific rules. However, does this strategy apply to all Americans? When reading the books, the Automatic Millionaire and 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, it was easy to see that having the American dream may not be easy for all Americans. These books provided great and useful advice to money management, investing for the future, and obtaining wealth. Although it gave ideas for future financial decisions, the author’s recommendations do not apply to all Americans. This can be seen as the authors made general assumptions about Americans and American society.

In the book, 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (2000) the author Suze Orman made many assumptions about Americans. These assumptions can make it difficult for some to identify with the book and apply financial advice to real life situations. For example, Orman offers advice to her readers to help them gain financial freedom. The book “covers everything from wills and trust and what insurance you need (and don’t need) to new ways to think about debt and your 401k or retirement plan to how to invest and what to invest in”, (Orman 2000: iix). Orman’s book covers useful information that can be helpful to many people. However it is not helpful to all people. From Orman’s perspective, to gain financial freedom, the individual must have these assets listed. This includes medical insurance and a 401k plan. These are benefits that come with fulltime employment and people working in their career for several years. However, there are some people who work fulltime and have neither a 401k nor medical insurance. It also assumes that all Americans have assets. People who do not own property or business may not have a will or trust fund. Without these basic requirements, assets and fulltime employment, some Americans are unable to achieve the financial freedom that Orman encourages throughout her book.

The Automatic Millionaire Workbook (2005) is another book that help people obtain the American dream. However, like Orman’s book it also makes many assumptions about Americans and their finances. In this book, the author David Bach states, “money isn’t why people fail to reach their financial goals… you almost certainly make enough money today to become an automatic millionaire”, (2005, p. 11). Here, Bach assumes that all American’s make enough money to become rich however are making the wrong decisions with their finances. This general assumption is not true for everyone. Families dependent on social service programs like welfare and disability may not make enough money to sustain themselves. Another example is observed in President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech. In his speech Obama recognized that fulltime American’s working for minimum wage live below the poverty line. So, although some people are employed fulltime and hardworking, they may not be in the financial position to become a millionaire if he or she does not have enough money cover their basic household expenses, let alone to save or invest their money.

When comparing the assumptions of these two books, Orman’s book makes more assumptions about the American public and the American dream. Orman states that the goal of her book is to, “make you independent from financial advisors” (Orman, 2000). However, the average American does not have a financial advisor. For different cultures and subcultures, a financial advisor is taboo or unheard of. This is true for African American’s where many do not talk openly about their debt and finances nor do they seek advice to reduce debt except to borrow money to eliminate debt. The assumption that Americans are dependent on financial advisors to sustain themselves is a broad statement and does not apply to some considered middle-class. Although Bach makes assumptions about American society, many of the assumptions are related so sustainability. While Orman assumes that her readers are dependent on financial advisors, Bach assumes that all Americans are financially independent. These assumptions make it difficult for the author to reach out to the average American. It also creates an example of the social stratification system evident in American society. Their assumptions demonstrate the division between lower and upper class society and the difficulty for lower class society to move up the social ladder.


The ideal of the American dream is that someone who is poor can become rich and successful with hard work and dedication. The financial freedom and millionaire status implied in these get-rich books are based off the ideals of the American dream. However, the authors did not address people who are in poverty and low socio-economic class. This only stresses the division between the rich and the poor and the importance of social status.  “An emphasis on status and status aspirations is linked with occupation and features personal achievements and success rather than family heritage, the importance and accident of birth”, (Encyclopedia, 2008: n.p). The authors only recognize middle class and upper class individuals, people who have reached specific milestones in life. This includes occupational, professional, and educational achievements. According to the authors, these are the people who have the potential to become a millionaire or have financial freedom. Although these books provide tools and strategies for middle-class individuals to become upper-class, they do not include lower-class or impoverished citizens to help them reach this American dream. Thus, they lack the inclusion of all Americans in to their strategy to financial success.

By excluding lower class citizens and their financial circumstances, Orman and Bach are emphasizing the social stratification system. They are doing this by ignoring the problem of poverty and not providing a path for these individuals to become financial free or millionaires. In this way, they are continuing the social disenfranchisement of poor people through exclusion. An example of this can be seen in the real life situations Orman gives people in need of financial freedom. She describes Suzanne who has no debt but has not saved for her financial future and Andy who saves his money but afraid to invest (Orman, 2000: 17). In many cases, there are people who consider themselves middle class and are not in these financial situations. Some middle class families live paycheck to paycheck and live in financial poverty. “The more a majority discriminates in social intercourse against a minority, the smaller is the discrepancy between the majorities lower and the minorities higher rate of intergroup associations”, (Blau, 2002: n.p). Despite the social intercourse that occurs between the different socio-economic classes, upper class citizens continue to discriminate against lower class citizens continuing the system of social stratifications found throughout American society.


Horatio Alger was an early American writer who wrote stories honoring the ideals of the American dream. In his stories, as long as a man was diligent and hardworking he can become prosperous and successful. “Alger… projected the view that success goes to those who exemplify correct values”, (Steinberg, 2008: 134). This is true for many Americans throughout history and today. American idol is a talent show searching for America’s next undiscovered singer and the Pursuit of Happiness is a movie depicting a true modern day story of rags to riches. So, in many ways there is truth to the Horatio Alger myth and the legend of the American dream. However, achieving the American dream maybe easier for some people than others. This is seen when reading 9 Steps to Financial Success and the Automatic Millionaire Workbook.

In his book, the Automatic Millionaire, Bach suggests that the number one secret to the American dream is to make your financial plans automatic (1998: 14). “All you need to do is take full advantage of the technology that lets you make automatic payments to everything from your mortgage to your 401k”, (Bach, 1998: 14). Yet, this may be difficult for some people to do. Many people living in poverty do not have a computer. Others do not have access to the internet at home. In addition to this, people in poverty may not be able to do this because they do not have a bank account and do not use a debit or credit card. Others may not be able to pay their rent or mortgage with one pay check. Therefore, this simple rule is not as simple for poor people who live under such circumstances. As a rule to becoming a millionaire, it excludes lower class citizens. It suggests that poor people cannot become millionaires. The strategy Bach gives us in his book is opposed to the American dream and Horatio Alger’s myth. Instead, is only provides a current example of the social stratification system found in American society and ways that it continues to disenfranchise people of low socio-economic status.

Orman and Bach make financial success look easy. Orman determines that financial freedom can be found in 9 steps while Bach concludes that people must change their mind frame to achieve financial gains. He suggests that by asking yourself some simple questions, someone can determine if they have the mindset of a millionaire. However, in his book Bach admits that “today the American dream is on life support” (2005: 9). He goes on to blame lost ideals on the growing consumer culture and the desire to buy things we don’t need. From this perspective, he is identifying with all Americans and the framework of our American culture. This is because many people are driven by the image of wealth, despite the cost it takes to have these things. However, throughout his book he continues to make assumptions about his readers suggesting that the American dream can be achieved only if you are financially stable and independent- a middle class or upper middle class citizen.

Orman is able to reach out to ideals of the American dream and Horatio Alger’s myth by rationalizing the need for financial success. She states that “we need money to live as surely as we need air to breath and this need cuts across all races, both sexes and all income brackets” (Orman, 2000: 4). Her statement is true for many Americans. However when we really start to think about this statement, people really do not need money to live; people only require life to live. Yet the need to have money to sustain oneself is required to live the American dream. She admits that money does not make the person, but because there is a need for money, people should use their money well to save for their future. Although Orman takes such an assertive stand on the ideas of wealth, she does not provide a financial method of success for those impoverished. In her book, the layout for the American dream includes a fulltime job with full benefits and the lifestyle of middle class Americans.



A sociology researcher tells us that, “status distributions are nearly always positively skewed with a majority of the population occupying less than average status and small numbers occupying status that is far above average”, (Blau, 2002).  This statement implies that lower and middle class citizens make up the true majority of the American population. This true majority make up the American society. These are people disenfranchised by their socio-economic status, they live pay check to pay check, and are examples of the social stratification. Authors such as Ozman and Bach have developed strategies to help individuals reach financial success. Although they have good intentions, they exclude poor and some middle class citizens that can benefit from financial advice. From reading these books, the authors imply that only people living in a certain socio-economic class can achieve the American dream. In many ways this is true. Because of the system of social stratification found in our society, people who are lower and middle class may find it difficult to achieve financial success. Despite the difficulties, it does not mean that it cannot happen.

There are many success stories found both today and throughout history that tells us that there is no myth to the American dream. From athletes and performers, business owners and professionals, many Americans began their life poor or disenfranchised only to become a success story either by talent or luck. Social stratification is a system of inequality and division that categorizes people. In America, the social stratification system can be observed through socio-economic status. Someone’s status is not only determined by their income, it also is determined by their education or occupation. “The relations between classes are an important aspect of social process in complex societies and the various social classes and their relations are significant components of social organization” (Encyclopedia, 2008: n.p). Authors Orman and Bach want to help people achieve wealth and the American dream. However the approach used to help reduce financial strain for their audience, only continues poverty and social stratification found throughout American society.



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The Relationship between Wisdom and Philosophy: Socrates and Aquinas

Wisdom is defined as, “accumulated knowledge, insight, and judgment” (Marriam-Webster 2013). Ironically, the definition of wisdom reflects the concept of philosophy, the science of the nature of thought. Marriam-Webster dictionary goes further, defining philosophy as “the pursuit of wisdom” (2013). By dictionary definition the two terms are interwoven. Through philosophy, individuals think past themselves and reality. It allows us to ask questions and entertain conclusions based on what we know. Rather than accepting things as they are, philosophy opens the mind to new concepts that help us to better understand the things around us. The things we learn through thought –philosophy- can be applied to human nature or even biology and science. However, great philosophers such as Socrates and Plato argue that one cannot gain intimate knowledge and wisdom. Despite this, philosophers continue to search for answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. This presented an apparent contradiction. Although wisdom and philosophy are related by definition, according to Socrates there is a distinct difference between the two terms. This raises two questions, (1) are philosophers wise, (2) are wise men philosophers?

Great thinker, Saint Thomas Aquinas, used philosophical insight to identify faith and God. He offers his Christian beliefs for the basis of the argument. Plato, through his teacher Socrates, raised interesting questions concerning wisdom of the soul. He determined that man cannot become wise due to human nature and the need to satisfy the desires of the body. It may be true for some, however not all. There are many men including Aquinas, Socrates, and Plato are considered wise. The same is said for people today, from Maya Angelou to the Dalai Lama. Although philosophers such as Plato limit the amount of wisdom that can achieved by man, great thinkers continue to study, utilize, and apply philosophy all the while obtaining wisdom.

Plato helped to create the science of philosophy by detailing the life and teachings of Socrates. Socrates analyzed human nature and the human experience, introducing ethics and addressing problems through reason and logic. As early as, 500 BC, man was heavily contemplating human thought. In the piece, Phaedo, Socrates argues the human nature of thought. He describes how people think best, how to think when in deep thought, and the natural nature of man. He states that people think best, “as far as possible free from communication and contact with it, aspires to that which is”, (Plato 16). This is apparent to many people today. When faced with a problem people go to a quiet place to collect their thoughts. This is also true for students when studying. They require a place that is quiet so that can reflect, think, and take in knowledge and gain insight. Knowledge, from this understanding, is the consequence of thought. Socrates encourages people to think deeply. Day dreaming, worrying, and tallying bills do not constitute philosophical thought. Phaedo suggest that deep thought “includes everything for instance greatness, health, strength, and in a word, the reality of everything else that is to say, what each things really is”, (Plato 17). The ability to think, and to do so logically and thoroughly, allows people to begin to think philosophically. However, if he thinks in this manner, does he inevitably become wise?

Socrates introduces the reader to the platform of philosophical thinking. He does this by asking questions, providing an explanation, and then a reply. There is a since of an argument which includes a reply or rebuttal, however it is presented as dialogue. Concerning the wisdom of the soul, the replies are simple agreements with the argument. In the piece, Summa Theologica, Aquinas utilizes this same format to present his argument regarding faith and world creation. He presents a dialogue between to people with opposing beliefs, one believes by faith that God created the world and the other who believes the world created itself. Sometimes the antagonist agrees and sometimes he does not. It mimics that style of Plato however it is a divided argument with additional segmented structures. “For each question (article) theme deals with a number of objections to his own view to which he offers replies and then lays out the reasons for his own position”, (Howe 1). It is evident that Aquinas was familiar with the great philosophers including Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. He referenced them throughout the work and mimicked their argumentative platform for thought. By structure of his argument and the thorough analysis he puts it to reason. It is clear that Aquinas was a deep thinker and philosopher.  He read the philosophical ideals of the people before him to obtain knowledge. He further applied this knowledge into his own works proving not only his knowledge, but also his ability to apply it to his own beliefs. In this way, Aquinas is not only a philosopher but also wise by apply philosophy to theological concepts.

In his work Aquinas asks the question: “Weather it is an article of faith that the world began?” (246). Although this is an argument about God, the true subject addresses the idea of faith and the world’s creation. Aquinas argues that by faith alone people assume the world began. Because faith is required to believe the world began, faith is then required to believe the existence of God. Aquinas lived during the 13th century in Europe. He was a Dominion monk and a Christian. He believed in the Bible and bases his argument on Genesis 1:1 which states that, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The foundation of the argument is that, the earth began. He provides many examples of how things are created in life. He used the analogy of a craftsman who creates a work, compared to the birth of life through lineage. Although the rebuttal made legitimate claims concerning the beginning of the world, Aquinas was able to maintain his argument through logic and reasoning. “To say that the world was made by God, it must therefore have been made from nothing, or from something. But it was not made from something; otherwise the matter of the world would have preceded the world” (Aquinas 247). Through this simple concept, Aquinas is able to stir thought into nonbelievers. He lived in a world without the science and technology that we see today. Even so, his reason can still be applied today. While astronomy tells us that the world was created from the big bang, it does not account for the universe. If the big bang was the “something” that created the world, what is the originator and explanation of the big bang? By utilizing this logic and knowledge of philosophy, Aquinas is able to further prove himself to be not only a great thinker, but also a man of wisdom.

To gain knowledge, insight, and wisdom, philosophers often draw back to the basic question of, what is. Confronted with the question of wisdom and the soul, Socrates associated the soul with the body. The body is observed as an enemy because people react to the needs of the body. Through philosophical application, Socrates came to the conclusion that, “freed as far as possible from eyes and ears, and so to speak from all the body together, because he thinks it only disturbs the soul and will not  let her obtain possession of truth and wisdom when it is in communication with her” (Plato 17-18). He clearly asserts that wisdom has limits, it is difficult to obtain if at all. Aquinas himself was aware of the works of Socrates and Plato and influenced by this. Therefore, Aquinas was aware of this insight regarding wisdom. Despite this, he and other philosophers continued on their quest on the science of human thought. It was not to obtain wisdom, however to understand the world and the people who live in it. Socrates assumes that philosophy only comes with thought. Through these concepts, one can learn more about the world without opening a single book, however by asking questions and applying reason to the knowledge that is already known. “The principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from here and now; whence it is said that universals are ever and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always”, (Aquinas 248).  Accordingly, Aquinas was not affected by Socrates concept on wisdom and soul. He made philosophical arguments not only proving him a great thinker but also wise. With insight, knowledge, and judgment he is observed as a man who obtained wisdom through the science of philosophy. It can easily be assumed that men who practice philosophy will also obtain wisdom. It can even be said that wise men are philosophers. Just as long as they think thoroughly and apply reason, one can generate a better understand of human nature and existence.


Works Cited

Aquinas, T. (1912). The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Part I. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. R&T Washbourn LTD. Paternoster Row, London. Retrieved from:

Howe, R. (2003). Two Notions of the Infinate in Thomas Quinas’ Summa Theologica 1,        Questions 2 and 46. Retrieved from:

Plato. (1875). Translated by E.M Cope. Phaedo. Cambridge Warehouse 17. Paternoster Row, London. Retrieved from:

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Worldview Comparison: Islam and Christianity

Islam represents the Muslim religion and faith. It is recognized as the second largest religion in the world believing in one God (Allah), a faith with monotheistic principles. The Islam Worldview has the ability to answer fundamental questions regarding life, beliefs, and meaning that offer guidance regarding the human experience. In addition, the Islamic worldview answers fundamental questions of humanity:

Question of Origin can be found throughout the Islamic teachings of the Qur’an. It states that, “surely, your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth”, (Yunus 10:3). It goes on to state that Allah also created man from dust and all of humanity. With this knowledge, Muslims understand that they were created by Allah and come from Him.

Question of Identity can be found within the prophet Muhammad who is the messenger of God Allah. However, identity is also in humanity, creation, and belief in Allah. Through Allah, Islam represents one people united. In surat Al- Emran 103 is says, “And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah (i.e this Qur’an), and do not divided among yourselves. And remember Allah’s favor on you, for you were He joined your hearts together, so that by His Grace, you become brethren (in Islamic Faith)”.  In this way, they are undivided by nationality, region, or ethnicity. Their identity stands with their faith in Allah.

Question of Purpose is discovered in the Qur’an where it explains the purpose of life please Allah and grow closer to Him. This reveals the importance of developing and maintaining a relationship with Allah. This can be seen where is states, “I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship”, (51:56). Life’s circumstances and situations are observed as a test of obedience to Allah’s will. People are given choice and fee will to act according to their wants, wishes, and desires. Despite this, they are encouraged to live by the will of God. Thus, the purpose of man is to “cultivate, maintain, and rule the earth”, (Elnaggar, 2007). Man should do this with responsibility and honor according to Allah. In this way man is encouraged to “follow not the footsteps of the devil”, (Al Bagarah, 208).

Question of Morality in the Qur’an encourages people to choose good over evil using Allah’s teaching for guidance for good and morality. This is because Allah is moral order providing obligations and law regarding the cause and effect of moral misgivings. In this way, “Allah is the lofty moral governor of the universe”, (Davis, 2010). These moral standings are listed in the 5 Articles of Faith and the 5 Pillars of Islam, which are significant to Muslim life and society.

Question of Destiny describes the afterlife of Muslims and the Day of Judgment. According to the Qur’an people are judged according to their good deeds and works on earth. The bad deeds are then weighed against the good to determine one’s place in heaven or hell. In this way, “Man is honored with the promise of Paradise”, (Elnaggar, 2007).

The Islam Worldview is very similar to the Christian Worldview. This is because Muslims carry many of the same beliefs as Christians, studying the same holy prohets and scriptures. This includes parts of the Old Testament including the creation story, Moses, the psalms of David, and the gospels of the New Testament. Specifically when understanding the Questions of Origin, the teachings of creation are the same. Both the Qur’an and the Bible state that the world was created in 6 days, in which God Allah created the heaven, earth, and man. In the Qur’an man was made from the dust and water where Allah “created man of clay like the potters”, (Ar-Rahman 55:14). The only difference in this creation story of the Bible is that Christian teachings describe man being created in God’s Image with soul from His breath. The purpose of life is similar in both Islamic and Christian teachings. Both are encouraged to be of good will and to follow the teachings of God Allah. Man is encouraged to enjoy life, work the earth, and prosper. Prosperity can be obtained through family and living according to His will. In this way, both Islam and Christianity can answer questions of Morality. However question of morality are observed differently in Christianity when compared to Islam. While Islam follow the moral standings in accordance with the 5 articles of Faith and the 5 Pillars of Islam, Christians find moral standing in the 10 Commandments. For instance, the 5 Pillars encourage morality through faith, prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage. They are also encouraged to be giving towards others by displaying compassion. Christians, on the other hand, have direct list of rules that must be observed in order to maintain a good moral standing. It also provides understanding between good and evil.

Both Islam and Christianity have strong belief in life after death. Those who are good and faithful are able to enter Paradise or Heaven while those who are bad with evil intentions are cast to hell. However, there is a vast difference when it comes to beliefs regarding judgment. The Qur’an teaches that men are judged according to their works both the good and the bad. In order to reach the heavenly paradise one’s good deeds must outweigh the bad. However, in Christianity this is much more complicated. Through fait, Christians are exonerated against their bad deeds through repentance and acceptance of Christ. Although Christians are also judged according to their works, these works are not weighed against each other. It is these differences that create the separation of Christian identity and Islamic identity according to one’s worldview. Christians find their identity through Christ and his teachings. This includes themes of love and humanity that is related to God’s image. Islam’s on the other hand, find their identity through Muhammad and unity, acting as one faith and brothers with one another in faith.



  1. Davis, D. (2010). The Test. WinePress Publishing. Enumclaw, WA. Retrieved from:


  1. Elnaggar, M. (2013). Man…Vision and Mission. Retrieved from:
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