Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, April 21, 2018

My personal blog about returning to MTSU

Hey guys, I started my own blog about my returning to MTSU.  I welcome everyone to check it out and make any suggestions that may help me in my attempt to fit in and finish my degree.  Going to make a lot of comparisons about how things have changed at MTSU as well as discuss any issues I have and welcome your suggestions.
Glenn Scarborough
the old guy in the corner.

My Blue Pond.
In the first chapter of Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction, titled "The Man and his Work," author Jonathan Barnes introduces Aristotle, his philosophy and his body of works. Aristotle died in the year 322 BC at the age of 62. He was a scholar and philosopher with a broad set of accomplishments. He was an inspirational teacher who taught the brightest students in Greece and is renown as one of the greatest scholars of all time.
            Not much is known of his personal life other that he came from a wealthy family and had a neat appearance. He suffered from poor digestion, and Barnes described him as spindle-shanked or one having long skinny legs. Not surprising he was an excellent speaker with a clear understanding and persuasive in his speech. He had numerous enemy of which many accused him of arrogance. His writings which are impersonal make him out to be independent and one that valued friendship. He had an overwhelming desire for knowledge and was dedicated to discover the truth and increase the understanding of humanity.
            He felt this desire was one that all men owned and that a fully human life was one that he called ‘the activity of the mind.' He believed philosophy was not just for scholars. In his writing Exhortation to Philosophy, he claimed ‘the acquisition of wisdom is pleasant; all men feel at home in philosophy and wish to spend time on it, leaving all other things aside.' Happiness he argued, is attained by intellectual activity. He tells us this is not a godlike activity that mortals cannot achieve, but one in which we can go as far as possible to immortalize ourselves.
            Barnes continues the chapter by describing Aristotle’s works as vast and remarkable for its scope and variety. Among the topics are logic, language, arts, ethics, politics, law; on constitutional and intellectual history, zoology, biology, botany; on chemistry, astronomy, mechanics, and mathematics; on the philosophy of science, nature of motion in space; on metaphysics and theory of knowledge. Only about a fifth of his works survive, but from these, a rounded idea of his activities can still be formed.
 Most of Aristotle's works were from lecture notes and not in the form of the formal treatise, and his style is labeled as rugged in comparison to Plato's dialogues. Barnes describes these writings as short and concise with abrupt transitions, inelegant transitions, and obscure allusions, but this style was appropriate for scientific writing as it favored simplicity that student could understand.
            The author concludes the chapter by telling us Aristotle is a tough read and an excellent way to approach it is to think of the writing as lecture notes, and we have to lecture from those notes. From those notes create and expand an argument while making the transitions clear and we have to footnote specific paragraphs and move some others to another lecture. This sound like a challenging and stressful task to me. Barnes reassures us by saying Aristotle can be a challenge, but once this challenge is taken and conquered, we wouldn't want to have a treatise in any other form. The invitation is accepted as I look forward to completing this book outside the time constraints of this class.


What should I keep in mind as I read this book on Aristotle?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

     This idea came to me as I was flipping through the tv guide looking for something to watch. I ran across the last 15 minutes of an old sci phi movie, "Logan's Run".  For those of you not familiar with the movie, its about society that survived a catastrophic war.  They enclosed the city in domes and nobody could even see the outside world.  It was the perfect society.   Everyone had what they wanted or needed.  They were in perfect health. There was no need for money.  Children were not born to there parents, they were born and raised in a lab.  They had no last names, just a first name with a number. They led a hedonistic life. Everyone was happy, well not everyone as we will discuss.
     One thing that led to people trying to escape this society was that they had to be "reborn" at the   age of 30.  Some of the citizens believed they were actually being killed, not reborn.  Some of the citizens believed they were being lied to about the outside world, that it was not a waste land.  There were rumors that some had escaped and there was a sanctuary  city where people grew old and enjoyed being outside. In my next post we will look at the outside.
     Think about this society in regards to the ideal city in Plato's Republic.  Everything is perfect, life is a party.  Happiness abounds.  Socrates would question the happiness of the people inside compared to the people on the outside.  Are they truly happier inside the dome or are they being brainwashed.  Are the people outside of the dome, the people that don't have all the luxuries of the city, truly unhappy or are they better off.  Interesting questions to ponder.  Plato believes that a society must be structured, like under the dome, and to loose that structure you would have no society.  Is this true?  Plato’s ideal city is highly regulated. Individuals are divided into groups based on social status: an auxiliary class, comprised of warriors who defend the city and enforce the laws, and a the lower class, both ruled by a class of guardians, headed by the philosopher-king.  Children in Plato's ideal city were also born in a nursery and raised by nurses, not the parents.  I cant help but believe the writers of the movie based this city on Plato's.
     Looking at this "Utopia" I wonder if it really is a Utopia or a "Dystopia". The citizens have no freedom, they are told what to do.  They just accept what they are told and those they contest it or seem to threaten there society, are outcast or killed. People cannot choose their own way of life.
     At the start of the movie I thought it was great. everyone seemed happy, life was perfect and this is something I think we all work toward.  But as the movie progresses, I started to see the negative sides to this life compared to life today, where we have unhappiness and struggle to survive at times.  I truly believe that its the struggles we experience, the unhappiness, and raising our own young are what keeps us alive, gives us hope and faith in mankind. Its how we learn and keeps our minds alive.
     In my second posting, probably tomorrow, I am going to look at the escape from the city, where a couple of citizens make it outside and experience things they never knew existed and how it changed them.
     ps  since this is not a movie review I apologize for not giving more information about it.  In the 70's it  was a great movie but today it would be consider hokey.  Still a good movie to Netflix if your bored.  Even has Farrah Fawcet in it.  You probably dont know her but almost every boy had her poster in there bedroom or dorm room in the 70's and 80's.  Old man out till tomorrow.
Every boys dream girl.  Farrah Fawcet.

Carousal the process of being reborn

Imagine this city enclosed under 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Study Guide, exam 3

April 19th
1. What was the main message of Wittgenstein's Tractatus?

2. What did the later Wittgenstein (of Philosophical Investigations) mean by "language games," what did he think was the way to solve philosophical problems, and what kind of language did he think we can't have?

3. Who was Adolf Eichmann, and what did Arendt learn about him at his trial?

4. What was Arendt's descriptive phrase for what she saw as Eichmann's ordinariness?

5. What did John Rawls call the thought experiment he believed would yield fair and just principles, and what was its primary device?
6. Under what circumstances would Rawls' theory permit huge inequalities of wealth between people?

7. What was the Imitation Game, and who devised a thought experiment to oppose it?

8. What, according to Searle, is involved in truly understanding something?

9. How do some philosophers think we might use computers to achieve immortality?

10. What does Peter Singer say we should sacrifice, to help strangers?

11. Why did Singer first become famous?

12. How does Singer represent the best tradition in philosophy?

13. Right-wing skepticism of the press and of academic experts has effectively trained two generations of Americans to what?

14. What did candidate Trump understand "better than almost everybody"?

15. "Don't even think about it..." said who?

16. Philosopher Michael Lynch says repeated self-contradiction by politicians like Trump can dull our sensitivity to what?

17. With what good news does Fantasyland conclude?

·         Should we be silent about things we can't prove? Should philosophy concern itself with more than understanding the logic of language?
·         Do you use language as a pictorial medium, a tool for managing social relationships and expressing our thoughts and feelings, or what?
·         Are ordinary people capable of great evil? Are you? How can we be sure that a Holocaust will never happen again? What will you teach your children about that?
·         If the government attempted to round up, detain, and deport millions of Latinos and Muslims, how would you respond
·         Is "the banality of evil" relevant to our time?
·         If you were in Rawls's "Original Position," what kind of economic system would you argue for? 
·         In what sense are we "better off" in a society that allows huge income discrepancies between the least and best well-off?
·         Will Artificial Intelligence surpass human intelligence, or has it already? Is this something we should worry about? 
·         What "luxuries" are you prepared to give up, to help people less fortunate than yourself?
·         Are you a speciesist? Why or why not?
·         Is meat-eating ethically defensible?
·         Quiz Apr 17
·         RUSSELL, AYER, Sartre, de beauvoir, Camus (LH)

Recommended: WATCH:Sartre (SoL); Camus (SoL); Sartre & Existential Choice; de Beauvoir on Feminine Beauty (HI)... See also: Camus & the Myth of Sisyphus (Hap), and the last several Russell posts in Phil of Happiness beginning here.

1. Reading whose autobiography led young Bertrand Russell to reject God? OR, What did he see as the logical problem with the First Cause Argument?
·         I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day at the age of eighteen I read _____'s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question 'Who made me?' cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. Why I Am Not a Christian
·         2. The idea of a barber who shaves all who don't shave themselves is a logical ______, a seeming contradiction that is both true and false. Another example of the same thing would be a statement like "This sentence is ___." 

A.J. Ayer's ______ Principle, stated in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic, was part of the movement known as _____ ______. 

4. Humans don't have an _____, said Jean Paul Sartre, and are in "bad faith" like the ___who thinks of himself as completely defined by his work.

5. What was Sartre's frustrating advice to the student who didn't know whether to join the Resistance?

6. When Simone de Beauvoir said women are not born that way, she meant that they tend to accept what?
·         7. Which Greek myth did Albert Camus use to illustrate human absurdity, as he saw it?

FL  44-45

8. Disneyfication denotes what?

9. 1/3 of the people at theme parks are what?

10. How have we become mentally more like children?

11. A major argument of Andersen's book is that our dominant religion has become what?

12. Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire at what age?

13. "Magical thinking" is the tendency to believe what?

BONUS+: Who had a Near Death Experience his youthful philosophy would have declared "nonsense"?

BONUS++: Name the faux English matrons who crossed the channel to ask Sartre about his views on freedom?
·         Quiz Apr 12 (2)
·         Peirce & James, Nietzsche, Freud LH 28-30

1. What's the point of James's squirrel story?

2. Who said truth is what we would end up with if we could run all the experiments and investigations we'd like to? (And what's a word his name rhymes with?)

3. What did Bertrand Russell say about James's theory of truth?

4. What 20th century philosopher carried on the pragmatist tradition? What did he say about the way words work?

5. What did Nietzsche mean by "God is dead"? (And what's a word his name rhymes with?)

6. Where did Nietzsche think Christian values come from?

7. What is an Ubermensch, and why does Nigel find it "a bit worrying"?

8. How did Nietzsche differ from Kant but anticipate Freud?

9. What were the three great revolutions in thought, according to Freud?

10. The "talking cure" gave birth to what?

11. Why did Freud think people believe in God?

12. What was Karl Popper's criticism of Freudian psychoanalysis?

13. Most mass killers in America are not psychotics or paranoid schizophrenics, writes Andersen, they're what?

14. What was the moment when the NRA "settled in deepest Fantasyland"?

15. What new technologies give Andersen "the heebie-jeebies"?
·         Quiz Apr 12
·         Mill, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Marx LH 24-27

1. How did Mill disagree with Bentham about pleasure?
·         2. What view did Mill defend in On Liberty?
·         3. What's the benefit to society of open discussion, according to Mill, and what's wrong with being dogmatic?
·         4. Who did Bishop Wilberforce debate at Oxford in 1860?
·         5. The single best idea anyone ever had was what, according to whom?
·         6. What scientific developments since Darwin's time establish evolution by natural selection as more than just a theory or hypothesis?
·         7. Who was the Danish Socrates, and what was most of his writing about?
·         8. Why is faith irrational, according to Nigel Warburton?
·         9. What is "the subjective point of view"?
·         10. Why was Karl Marx angry? How did he think the whole of human history could be explained?
·         11. What was Marx's "vision"?
·         12. What did Marx call religion?

13. Paul Ryan grew up reading whose fictions?

14. What do Pennsylvania and Tennessee formally require officeholders to believe?

15. When did an inaccurate study ignite the false belief that vaccines cause autism?

Quiz Apr 5
Voltaire & Leibniz (& Voltaire), Hume & Rousseau; FL 37... and see below**

1. What English poet declared that "whatever is, is right"?

2. What German philosopher, with his "Principle of Sufficient Reason," agreed with the poet?

3. What French champion of free speech and religious toleration wrote a satirical novel/play ridiculing the idea that everything is awesome?

4. What 1755 catastrophe deeply influenced Voltaire's philosophy?

5. What did Voltaire mean by "cultivating our garden"?

6. Was Voltaire an atheist?

7. (T/F) Hume thought the human eye so flawless in its patterned intricacy that, like Paley's watch, it constitutes powerful evidence of intelligent design.

8. (T/F) Hume's view was that it's occasionally more plausible to believe that a miracle (the unexplained suspension of a law of nature) has happened, than not.

9. Rousseau said we're born free but everywhere are in ____, but can liberate ourselves by submitting to what is best for the whole community, aka the _______.

DE (from the first half of each chapter... pose your alternative quz questions on the second half)

10. Name two fields of study Leibniz contributed to, and two of his inventions/proposals.

11. Leibniz's "atoms of nature," each a "windowless" self-contained world , are called what?

12. What did Berkeley allege to be the sole contents of the universe, and who said this was "close to my own view"?

13. Who won first place in a poll among philosophers to pick their all-time favorite, which close friend was at his deathbed, and what did he tell Boswell about an afterlife?

14. What is induction, and what did Hume think accounts for our confidence that the future will resemble the past?

15. What did Hume say theres' no point in trying to do?

16. What ill-defined concept of Rousseau's might be read as providing intellectual support for dictators?

17. What did Rousseau consider better pastimes than intellectual work?

FL 37
18. What was the message of The Courage to Heal?

19. The first big outbreak of what occurred in and around Bakersfield CA  in the '80s?